A constant problem in teacher education is the disconnect between university-based teacher preparation practices and the instructional practices in K-12 schools. Further, clinical educators, the school teachers who host student teachers, often have not been trained in how to coach new teachers on instructional practices.
UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education is breaking down the silos of professionals working to prepare teachers: the faculty who teach courses, the supervisors of student teachers, and the clinical educators who take student teachers into their classrooms just before they become full time teachers.
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In 2017, the Teacher Education Institute (TEI) was launched at UNCC with a singular goal: preparing teacher candidates to be ready to teach on Day 1 of their careers. Research shows that student teaching placements are critically important for novice teachers.
In August, prior to the start of the school year, TEI brings together the University-based faculty and supervisors and clinical educators (CE) for training and collaboration on coaching student teachers. Additionally, CEs return for training on coaching student teachers twice in the Fall.
“The daily support and immediate feedback that CEs provide to our student teachers is particularly impactful,” said Teresa Petty, Associate Dean at UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education. “CEs focus their coaching on three key teaching practices: eliciting student thinking, small group instruction, and leading whole class discussion. New this year, TEI will train CEs to coach with an equity lens.”
UNCC’s model concentrates student teacher placements in fewer schools and provides a stipend to CEs for their training time. Deans for Impact is partnering with UNCC to facilitate TEI, and practices from Paul Bambrick-Santoyo’s Get Better Faster and University of Michigan’s TeachingWorks have been influential to TEI.
By 2020, over 250 CEs will have been trained through TEI.
Since 2017, The Belk Foundation has invested $458,955 in UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education Teacher Education Institute.