TeacherSquared & TeachingWorks Deep Dive

On January 10–11, 2017, the Alder Teacher Residency hosted a convening of TeacherSquared at the Aspire Public Schools home office in Oakland. The aim of TeacherSquared is to connect five teacher preparation programs—the Alder Teacher Residency, Sposato Graduate School of Education, Relay Graduate School of Education, Teaching Excellence, and Urban Teachers—to improve the communication and practices among these institutions. This two-day gathering was the second of three workshops focused on high-leverage practices developed by the University of Michigan’s TeachingWorks.

The two days were an opportunity to engage in a deep dive into the high-leverage teaching practice “Explaining and Modeling Content, Practices, and Strategies.” This included 1) developing an understanding of the practice and the features of it, 2) experiencing and analyzing specific teaching practices that help a teacher candidate learn how to do this practice in specific content areas, 3) focusing on the pedagogies of rehearsal and student work to teach teacher candidates to enact this practice in content, and 4) designing activities to enact with teacher candidates in each of the five participating programs.

As the host of the event, the Alder Teacher Residency was able to bring a large team of program staff and residency mentors to engage in these days of deep learning. Mentors from the Central Valley and Bay Area had the opportunity to collaborate with one another, Alder Teacher Residency researchers, and regional residency directors to consider how we can continue to develop our work with our teacher candidates. Engaging in learning with the facilitators from TeachingWorks and the faculty from the other preparation programs pushed the Alder Teacher Residency team to think in new and different ways about the ways in which modeling, demonstrating, and rehearsals could all be expanded in our curriculum. For mentors, there was the additional benefit of considering how they could further incorporate these practices into both their work as mentors and as teachers, advancing practice on two levels. Opportunities to gather as a team and learn from one another, such as those afforded through our membership in TeacherSquared, push our practice forward in the service of rigorously preparing our novice teachers.