By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Several states are now requiring student teachers to take a performance-based exam. The exam is called called the edTPA. This is a test that measures the student teacher’s readiness to begin teaching. It involves videotaping and analyzing one’s own teaching style, skill set, knowledge base, and ability to engage students. Central to that are the actual lesson plans, the assessments that are aligned with the instruction, and the daily feedback that teachers give to their students.

The practice of videotaping and analysis can be very powerful. It is certainly a reflective practice and done effectively, helps the teacher really focus on what worked well and what areas of support are needed. What makes me nervous, however, is that there doesn’t seem to be a focused attempt to have the student teacher work with a colleague or instructional coach to discuss the practices on the videotape and share ideas with his/her colleagues about the instruction.

In the April issue of the Journal of Staff Development (JSD), authors Fahey and Ippolito indicate three concepts for adult learning to take place and ultimately influence students: 1) Educators need a learning practice as well as a teaching practice; 2) Adult learning practice changes over time; and 3) How adults’ learning practice changes makes a difference in their teaching practice. So, if the videotaped lesson is the mode by which schools will determine teacher candidate readiness, where does the collaboration take place to ensure that teaching and learning are discussed and necessary adjustments are made to help teachers teach more effectively?

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