Browsing by: Lessons from the Field

Making visible the hidden complexity of teaching

By: Terri Gierke

Years ago, as a relatively new mentor teacher, I planned and implemented a Think-Pair-Share activity as part of a second-grade science lesson. Because two teacher-candidates were observing me, I was extra intentional about how I implemented this strategy. I carefully paired students; I chose an open-ended question to push thinking; and I gave students time to think and try out their ideas in a low-stakes way before participating in a whole-class discussion. The activity went well, and I felt pretty good about my demonstration of effective teaching.


Seeing the bigger picture

By: Valerie Sakimura

Ask any teacher-educator about the class she’s teaching tomorrow, and you’re likely to get a detailed rundown of her lesson — but not necessarily how that class fits into the broader picture of a candidate’s learning trajectory. This makes total sense, because teacher-educators are asked to focus on their own piece of the puzzle. Yet learning science tells us that we learn new ideas by reference to ideas we already know. Teacher-educators need to understand a candidate’s macro learning trajectory in order to maximize teacher-candidate learning within their portion of that trajectory. In other words, it’s important to help stakeholders see the bigger picture.


Three things we’ve learned about creating alignment across teacher-educators

By: Valerie Sakimura

In the fall of 2016, she asked Deans for Impact to support her college in designing a Teacher Education Institute (funded by the Belk Foundation) to bring together coursework faculty, supervisors, and mentor teachers for a four-day professional learning experience where teacher-educators could build common language to describe teacher-candidate practice and learn how to coach candidates more effectively.


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