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Thursday, January 18, 2018

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A Revolution Begins in Teacher Prep
Jonathan Schorr, Stanford Social Innovation Review

January, 2013

If you want to see the future of teacher training, you could do worse than to visit Samantha Patterson’s kindergarten classroom at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. On a blustery winter day in Newark, N.J., Patterson’s students are clustered in three groups of about eight students each. One group is working independently on a set of computers that line a wall of the second-floor classroom. A second set is listening quietly while another teacher reads a story. But the real excitement surrounds the third group.

Their fire-engine-red chairs pulled up literally knee-to-knee with Patterson, the students are enraptured in a round of call-and-response practice aimed at teaching how vowel sounds blend. But it’s not just verbal—it’s a fast-moving, full-body experience with gestures for clues, launched by the teacher and echoed by the students in quick, joyful volleys. No one misses the action, not even for a moment. Experienced teachers with skills like these are rare enough. For a first-year teacher to display such skills is exceptional. But for schools to get better, early-career teachers with strong skills are going to have to become a whole lot less exceptional.



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