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Analysis of a Teaching School Model for Improving STEM Undergraduate Teacher Education and Professionalism

Moje, Elizabeth


Providing equitable and rigorous STEM learning opportunities for all students requires an extremely high level of professional skill and judgment from teachers. This demand for rich STEM teaching is occurring at the same time that teachers, teaching, and teacher education have come under intense scrutiny, thus providing a moment of opportunity for dramatic re-envisioning of the practice of educating the next generation of STEM teachers. In what follows, we propose to put a new vision of STEM teacher education into practice and to study and refine that practice; we call it the Teaching School system. Specifically, we propose a five-year development and research project, employing design-based research methods and process evaluation across iterative cycles of work, to (a) expand the numbers of well-prepared STEM majors who choose careers in urban STEM teaching, (b) prepare them to engage an array of students in STEM inquiry and rich literacy and language learning opportunities; and (c) prepare them more effectively by immersing them in clinical practice in a shared urban school setting over multiple years spanning their initial teacher education and induction. The project design allows us to refine the ideas in practice and simultaneously offer a proof of concept for this multi-institutional transformation project. In the end, the study would generate new knowledge about how undergraduate STEM preservice teachers may be supported to learn to provide rigorous STEM teaching for diverse and underserved students through highly engineered systems of professional preparation. Our research team is led by senior faculty and university leaders from the University of Michigan (UM) School of Education and the UM Department of Physics, along with two assistant professors of secondary STEM education and secondary literacy education. We are supported by a strong and diverse advisory board of educators and researchers who will convene annually to provide expert consultation on the project’s multiple components. Counted among the board members are experts in STEM fields, STEM education, teacher education, medical education, and school leadership. Additionally, we will incorporate the feedback we receive from an external evaluation team into our design decisions. Finally, we have the full and enthusiastic support of the UM Provost and leaders of Detroit Public Schools Community District.

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