The teacher preparation initiative: a professional development framework for faculty

December, 2019

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, 46:1, 117-119

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The Teacher Preparation Initiative (TPI) is a professional development (PD) framework designed to support future teachers, the education faculty working with them, and practicing teachers.
For this programme, the authors collaborated with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), an organisation widely known for successful efforts in supporting students, particularly those from culturally diverse backgrounds, in college pathways (Bernhardt 2013).
The PD topics were chosen based on relevance, and staff developers from AVID worked alongside faculty members to deliver quality PD four times a year, followed by a planning day to help with implementation.
Faculty members built curriculum maps across programmes to highlight where students would be learning particular strategies; a core group attended summer workshops to prepare the curriculum for the coming academic year.
TPI is now being implemented by 13 universities in the U.S.
This paper highlights four key components of the TPI that we believe make it successful and replicable; they are:
1) practical,
2) aligned,
3) relationship-centred, and
4) current.

The TPI framework

AVID was a practical partner choice. Using a well-known PD organisation meant that the authors did not have to construct new systems for delivery and materials, but were able to modify what already existed.
Programme participants left PD sessions with a toolbox of strategies for real classrooms to help attendees’ teaching immediately.
The hands-on sessions gave participants the opportunity to hear about the research behind each strategy, practice the strategies themselves, and debrief the process before leaving. Thus, participants could picture the feasibility of using the strategies, and discuss any modifications necessary for their classroom contexts.

Reforms worldwide have required teacher preparation programmes to align their content and practices to standards (Page 2015).
The teaching strategies introduced as part of the TPI were evidence-based and easily aligned to standards.
Teacher educators could see how using the strategies in their courses met their field-specific standards. It also ensured that students had an opportunity to experience the use of strategies across courses and instructors prior to graduation.
Curriculum maps identified strategies used in each course, the level of implementation of said strategy, and the planning of activities and tasks both horizontally (e.g. different sections of a course in any discipline) and vertically (e.g. courses taken by all candidates as part of their degree) (Uchiyama and Radin 2009).

Fostering relationships between teacher educators, teacher candidates, and practitioners was key to creating community (Kosnik et al. 2011).
Every PD opportunity had representatives from all groups, learning together.
The sessions became an outlet for conversations about local educational needs, which helped shaped the direction of the sessions.
Teacher candidates also met candidates from other programmes and exchanged ideas.
The authors opted for face-to-face PD sessions rather than online, to strengthen relationships among all partners and encourage connections.

Teacher educators can often struggle to remain current on classroom curriculum and culture. Because AVID is a PD community in the majority of the partner schools, it helped faculty members to understand the current school climate, and to give future teachers tools to use immediately in their schools.
There were many sessions over the three years, including how to: promote writing to learn in all classrooms, facilitate classroom and collegial collaboration and frame student success within career and college readiness.

Concluding thoughts
Being current on pedagogy, content expertise, and teacher certification requirements can be a daunting task for teacher educators, and studies have shown that teacher educators favour additional PD on how to teach (Dengerink, Lunenberg, and Kools 2015).
The authors’ hope is that the general framework of their partnership will be helpful for institutions whether or not they can be a part of the TPI, but are looking to build similar PD opportunities for their education faculty.

Bernhardt, P. 2013. “The Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) Program: Providing Cultural Capital and College Access to Low-Income Students.” School Community Journal 23 (1): 203–222.
Dengerink, J., M. Lunenberg, and Q. Kools. 2015. “What and How Teacher Educators Prefer to Learn.” Journal of Education for Teaching 41 (1): 78–96.
Kosnik, C., Y. Cleovoulou, T. Fletcher, T. Harris, M. McGlynn-Stewart, and C. Beck. 2011. “Becoming Teacher Educators: An Innovative Approach to Teacher Educator Preparation.” Journal of Education for Teaching 37 (3): 351–363.
Uchiyama, K., and J. Radin. 2009. “Curriculum Mapping in Higher Education: A Vehicle for Collaboration.” Innovative Higher Education 33 (4): 271–280.

Updated: Nov. 30, 2020