Our top 10 screenshots of 2021

TIME magazine recently published their top 100 photos from 2021. Among wildfires and volcanic eruptions are moments of joy: the first Black American to win the National Spelling Bee, beaming through a cloud of confetti. A transgender news anchor in Bangladesh taking her seat at the table. A runner poised in mid-air as she soars to victory.

Though our images from the last year don’t have the drama of the Olympics or the flames of a natural disaster, if you look closely, you’ll see the faces of people working hard to ensure education works for everyone. As we look back at another year of progress towards ensuring every child is taught by a well-prepared teacher, these were our top 10 moments caught on camera — er, screenshot:

Here, future teacher Ben Mueller holds up a post-it note that he taped to his lightswitch after a learning science seminar at the University of Missouri—St. Louis, one of the programs participating in our Learning by Scientific Design Network. It reads “Memory is the residue of thought.”

“If memory is the residue of thought, then for students to understand the to-be-remembered content, they are going to have to think super hard. The more they process, the longer they remember,” he explained.

We love this screenshot because it shows Ben’s commitment to understanding and applying learning science—something we hope will be true for all future teachers. To read Ben’s story, click here, or see it in our latest report, Deepening Meaning and Learning.

This Zoom capture shows the members of the 2021 Impact Academy cohort, the largest and most institutionally diverse group of fellows we’ve ever welcomed, as they gathered for a virtual convening in November. During the year, fellows are exploring their own adaptive challenge through collaborative learning sessions, case studies, and personalized coaching.

“Impact Academy is really allowing me to dream, but also to think about as a leader how I can connect my dream and actually get it accomplished and actualized, and then how I can make it sustainable,” Dr. Kathlene Campbell, a current fellow, shared with us.

Here, Founder and Executive Director Ben Riley presents new data released in our June 2021 report, Deepening Meaning and Learning.

The data show that teacher-candidates who received sustained instruction about learning science demonstrated better understanding of key principles and how to use them in a classroom compared to candidates who did not hear about learning science.

“Six years ago, Deans for Impact launched with a vision of bringing scientific insight into teaching practice, but it was just that—a vision. In the time that’s passed, the question remains: is what we’re doing having any impact? We now have the answer: yes,” Riley wrote in the report.

Work in our LbSD Network also expanded this year to include clinical educators. In this screenshot, Program Director Dr. Amber Willis (top middle) and Randi Blair (bottom right) worked with clinical supervisors from American University, training them on how to identify learning science in the field and coach teacher-candidates on its instructional use.

“We’re hoping to see a lot of awesome coaching conversations happening between our teacher-educators and our teacher-candidates,” Willis said. “We’re listening really carefully and thinking a lot about the language that they’re using, helping teacher-educators to use the language that the teacher-candidates are hearing inside of their methods courses and K-12 classrooms in coaching conversations as well.” To learn more about how we’re coaching the coaches, click here.

This screenshot was taken during a webinar that Program Director Dr. Rebekah Berlin (bottom right) participated in with the Tennessee Department of Education in which she discussed our new initiative to equip teachers in the state with high-quality instructional materials.

“High-quality instructional materials can make the first year of teaching more tenable by creating mental space for novice teachers to focus on building deep relationships with students, families, and communities or rapidly building content and pedagogical knowledge,” she explained.

Dr. David Steiner (top right) of Johns Hopkins University agreed: “There is an inherited mindset that the only authentic teaching is done when the teachers invent their own material — but what that means is that every child’s education is a matter of sheer luck. We should be giving teachers the best curriculum we can find.” Learn more about the value of HQIM and our project in Tennessee here.

We loved this tweet from Dr. April Regester sharing a photo of the welcome kit assembled by our Operations Manager, Griselda Rodriguez, ahead of August’s Inquiry Institute.

The Inquiry Institute brought together educator-preparation programs that are members of the Common Indicators System, one of the largest cross-institutional efforts ever undertaken to gather and learn from evidence in educator preparation. Over the last four years, the CIS has accumulated data from nearly 20,000 teacher-candidates in 20 states. To read more, click here.

Whenever a team member has a birthday, we all contribute to a special celebration video. This screenshot featuring team members Sarah McKibben and Dr. John Roberts came from a video put together for resident dog lover Staci Bradbury’s birthday.

Staci is one of three new staff members brought on board this year. Though we’ve yet to connect in person (our fingers are crossed for a team gathering in Austin next January) we’ve stayed connected through birthday celebrations, virtual happy hours, coffee chats, and regular team meetings. Along with our new staffers, we also welcomed two new team babies, Lachlan and Liam!

Did you know that recent research found that 29 states continue to distribute test-preparation materials for high-stakes certification exams that include the debunked theory of learning styles?

That’s one of the things that Senior Policy Director Patrick Steck (pictured bottom left) shared with education leaders at the annual conference of the National Association of State Boards of Education. Along with advocating for learning science in classrooms, Steck has worked hard this year to advance state and federal legislation to activate future teachers as tutors, most notably the Paths to Tutor Act and the Vetted Texas Tutor Corps.

Another novice teacher that we were privileged to meet this year was Acqualyn Polk, who is training with the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators while working as a third grade English teacher.

“When I started with LRCE, I realized that it’s about the students learning the material, not just me moving through it,” she said. “So I have to create an environment where my students are motivated to learn, and then I have to focus on what I know the end goal is for them to learn, instead of just flying through the lesson.” Read about her journey into discovering learning science here.

This screenshot shows faculty members from the Learning by Scientific Design Network who are working with program team members Dr. Tracey Weinstein and Callie Lowenstein to redesign their coursework.

“This is a huge paradigm shift for faculty — they’re putting evidence of their candidates’ understanding and misconceptions in front of each other, being really vulnerable about it, and brainstorming next steps and how they’ll respond in upcoming class sessions,” said Program Manager Callie Lowenstein.

To learn more about how the LbSD Network is turning teacher preparation into a team sport, click here.

We look forward to continuing this work in 2022. To stay updated about our progress, subscribe to our newsletter.

P.S. – In case you missed it, take a moment to explore what we’re feeling grateful for as we reflect on this year.

Staci Bradbury

Creative Content Manager

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