The Work of Teaching and the Challenge for Teacher EducationJun 11, 2021
good morning good morning good afternoon yes, I'm late, there are places in the front, it's actually surprising that the front seats are not occupied, but if you don't want to stand, come to the front anyway, it's really a pleasure for me. To introduce you to Deborah Loewenberg Ball now Deborah Ball, of course, is one of my fellow deans. She serves as dean at the University of Michigan College of Education in Ann Arbor, where she also holds the title of William H Payne Collegiate Professor of Education in different pains than the building we have at the end of the hallway at the end of the mall, which It's also a beer named after a pain, but a Bruce pain, but he
worked with William Pain, so they're connected anyway.
Replicant Deb began her career as an elementary school
teacher. I don't. I don't know if many of you know this, but having been there in the classroom really gives you some wisdom and experience that some of us who haven't been in the classroom lack and I think it allows you to address some of your issues with just a sense of wisdom and she knows exactly what kind of questions to ask and I think Michigan State realized that because as soon as she graduated from Michigan State with her PhD, they hired her, they didn't give anyone else a chance, but she it stayed there. until 1996 and then she became Dean of the School of Education in 2005, now as an academic Deborah is a nationally recognized expert on
educationfor mathematics instruction and how it can be improved.
She is particularly known for her
teachingand learning to teach projects. Mathematics Learning for Teaching SPI project on an instructional improvement study and ask the co-director of the Center for Mathematics Mastery and Teaching. Now I personally enjoyed it. I need to meet Debra Ball through our work, and I'm referring to her work on the national mathematics advisory panel. We spent 18 intimate months together and a lot of emails back and forth to our Canadian panel chair and we have received about 16,000 emails back and forth and if you ever questioned the dedication of the math panel during the Christmas season of the Last year we were walking around with my kids we were playing some board games doing some things that families do during the holidays and I had my blackberry right next to it and it was buzzing and they said what's going on mom I said it's the dashboard. math at 11:37 p.m.
Central Time, December 31st, we approved a report and were done, but I tell you, there were a couple of phone calls or emails from Debra. Did you check her emails before you got there to say some last minute things? But anyway, It was a stress-free 18 months. I can say no, but what I will say is that Debra coordinated a very difficult balancing act. On the one hand, we know that teachers and teachers' content knowledge about mathematics is tremendously important to student achievement. Have a good teacher. Canha. makes a difference, on the other hand, we don't know as much as we would like about how to assess teachers' content knowledge or the skills that make good math teachers.
Debra led the formulation of recommendations that do develop more precise measures to detail relationships between teachers, content knowledge, instructional skills, and student learning. Debra's task force also recommended strengthening the mathematics preparation of middle elementary school teachers at the pre-service professional and early career development level and highlighted the importance of having teachers who have a deep understanding of the connections between that they teach and the material that students have previously encountered in summary Debra Ball really is the person you go to when you want to know more about how to teach math teachers. She knows what we know and she knows what she doesn't.
I know it is an honor for us to have you here to share some of your knowledge with us this afternoon Deborah, thank you very much Camila and good afternoon everyone, it is truly a great honor to be invited to speak here today about what I am going to talk about. about this afternoon is the link between, as she says, the work of
challengethat that presents to teachers' learning or teachers' teaching and the talk is designed to be in some ways quite provocative. I'm going to open up some words and use some ideas that go against some of the main ideas that we tend to have in teacher
educationand I hope that generates some argument and discussion along the way and, in case you're wondering What I mean, I'll show you the The actual title of this talk right now is a somewhat benign title and probably not very provocative, but the title I would really like to give this talk and in the end I think you will understand why this one praises the which is nothing prescriptive. sand training in teacher training, do you understand that I intend to be a little provocative?
Well, I'll come back to this at the end and by then I think you'll better understand why I'm posting this. to talk about, so to make things a little easier, I'll start by presenting the main argument of my talk and then we'll do a few different things, some of them interactive, to work on the argument I'm making, but this is the argument I'm making. I am going to argue this afternoon: we need to build in this country a system of both initial and continuing teacher education that can reliably prepare what I am going to politely call and mean nothing.
Apart from that, ordinary people for effective professional practice, what I mean by ordinary is that we need a lot of people to do this work. Many people. I'll say a little more about that later, so the idea that we're going to Improve Teaching Practice by somehow seeking out a different group of people than those currently engaged in teaching makes very little sense, so I'm going to state that Unlike other professions, we face the
challengeof taking ordinary people and helping them do what they do. It's possibly one of the hardest jobs we know of, so I'm going to say a little in this argument about what I think it would take to do this to build the system.
I am going to defend three things, one of them is that we would have to base the education of teachers on what I am going to talk about this afternoon as the work of teaching. I'm going to argue that we should focus on development, that means taking more into account what it means to be I'm a big beginner in this work on higher leverage practices and I'll talk a little bit more about what I mean by high leverage practices and Then thirdly, I'll also argue that we would have to focus on teaching performance both in the curriculum and in the assessments that we use, so I think it's reasonable, it wouldn't be reasonable.
If this were not the case, it is reasonable to say that we actually have quite a bit of knowledge and past history. that we could take advantage of to do this, but it is equally true that we are going to have to make some significant change in the way we think about teaching, learning, teaching, teaching, teaching and teacher education if we are really going to do this, so there are four parts to this talk this afternoon and some of them will involve you looking at some things and discussing and talking, so I won't be here talking like this all the time.
The first part of my argument will just be a quick overview. of teaching in this country, so it is basically an American argument, although I think it would be very interesting to ask to what extent this argument extends beyond our borders to teaching in this country in the 21st century and why I think the argument I'm making today is actually very urgent, even if in the end you don't agree with me, the problem I'm about to make is real, so if you don't like my solution, you should have one that you think will address the urgency of the problem. problem then I'm going to spend a lot of time on what I call the work of teaching and why I'm going to argue that there is a need for professional training and why I'm using the word training and then I'm going to give some examples of what that would look like within the teacher education if we were actually teaching a practice which is teaching people the job of teaching and a little bit at the end about next steps.
All talks end with the next step, so a bit. A little bit about next steps, okay, so teaching in the U.S. In the 21st century, I think of this, as I said a moment ago, as a very pressing problem and I'm really going to be very strict about why it might open this easily and many of you know quite a bit about this, but I see four basic problems that create an urgent need to rethink the way we orient ourselves around teacher education. The first is that, and you know this, so I won't go into that, we have enormous gaps and the learning opportunities that young people in this country receive and enormous disparities in achievement that we see within the United States and also when we We compare with our international counterparts.
I could give you tons of examples. We could look at standardized tests. We could look at international studies. We could do things like talk. about what the probability is that, if you are a poor student living in central Los Angeles, that you will have a teacher qualified to teach what you are supposed to learn there, is horribly lower than it would be if you lived in a school prosperous, so there are all kinds of differences in learning opportunities that aren't changing much, at the same time that's true, we have a rapidly changing school population. I'm not going to break it down based on what might be true. here in Nashville versus Ann Arbor, but overall we have a school population in this country that, for example, has gone from about one in ten students who spoke a language other than English at home in 1972 to a situation where we have about one in four students now in this country who speak a language other than English at home, that's obviously very different depending on which part of the country you look at.
By the way, it was interesting that this data is that of these students, the number that cannot function well in English in school has not really improved much, the children actually become very competent and able to work fluently in several languages and contribute resources that we may not use very often, but what this means for teachers is that we are interacting more and more with people who are in children's lives outside of school and who may not feel very comfortable talking about their students in English. There is increasing demand to be linguistically sensitive and culturally responsive as the school population changes.
I don't have to say it. You can also say that the racial composition of the American school-age population has changed radically and continues to do so, so that by 2028 the projection is that we will have a minority of white students in our schools. We're getting closer to that now. Now there are less than 60% white students in the schools of this country and where it has changed the most, like in the Hispanic Latino population in this country over the last 20 or 25 years, okay, so it's a lot of things about what We are not doing very well, and at the same time we are not doing very well, the population is becoming even more diverse, but while all that is happening, we are also rapidly raising the academic goals for students and we are doing it for all students , so we're expecting kids to learn things and master things in school to get a high school diploma that we've never asked every student to do and we're doing it quickly, almost at an astonishing speed, regardless of what it will take to build a system that will actually make it possible for students to achieve those goals in my case I have two, my two youngest children are in high school four years apart and what the oldest had to do who just graduated graduating from high school in our city in our state to earn a diploma in Michigan is so different from what our youngest child will have to do to earn the same diploma.
It's really shocking. It is bad? Not necessarily. It's just how quickly we're changing this and for all the students it's incredible. Hence, this package. What I am saying is one of four things that underlies my argument that we have an urgent need to rethink the way we think about learning to teach and teacher education. What's hopeful in all of this is that teachers actually play a very hopeful role. There is a big difference with what I just described. I think it's actually an oversight how often we don't realize that teachers did a lot to reverse some of those trends I just described about achievement and opportunity.
You can consult some of theexample studies that we reviewed for the National Mathematics Panel report that Camela referred to a few moments ago to see that there is actually persistent evidence that a large proportion of the variability in student achievement over the course of a school year It's because of who the teacher is. Differences in teachers can account for between twelve and fourteen percent of the total variability and gains in students' mathematics achievement during a year of elementary school and are large differences in what it means that a child is better off. assign a teacher who is in the top quartile of profit production and children learn versus the bottom quartile very large differences.
In fact, I find this to be a very encouraging and important piece of data because it suggests that teachers even in the face of social and structural aspects of our schools, individual teachers can make big differences for individual children. So, given that one obvious strategy to improve the situation I just described would be to ensure that every student in our country has a teacher each year who can help them learn, we are not doing anything like that at the moment, but if you think teachers can make a difference, you would actually organize the political strategy to ensure that that is possible.
Now there are a couple of ways you could do this through recruiting. You could say that what we have to do is increase wages. Increase incentives to attract really smart people to do this. To work even if it is only for a short period of time we need to find people who are good at mathematics and persuade them that, in addition to going into the technical field, they should go into teaching. A lot could be done by talking about it, but I'm going to try to persuade you today that while it's important to do it, it will never meet the need we face right now, so people should work on it, it will be good to do it, but I'm going to relentlessly pursue my argument that what we really do.
What we need is a new vocational training system. Now we argue that because even if we were able, I'm sure we could recruit a few different people to teach and even more people to teach, those people would still need to learn how to teach if they really believe that you could find a smart person on the street, pay her enough money and put her in a classroom and she might do well. You should think about what kind of anti-professional argument you're actually making if you really think that suggests that they believe there's nothing special about helping a child learn math or learn to read and probably most of you don't really believe that, so that recruiting strategies that assume that bright people will somehow be able to have greater effects on children's learning are basically ignoring the kind of professional demands that teaching places on people, so now I'm going to explain. why the problem is vocational training, getting more to the core of my argument, so my argument has two parts as to why I think it is necessary One of them is to change the way we professionally train people, one has to do with the scale of the needs we face and the other, perhaps more important, is to argue that teaching consists of three things: it is unnatural work, it is complex work and it is deliberate work and To prepare to do such work type, especially at the scale we're talking about, it actually takes a really different training system than what we currently have, so let me spend a moment on the topic of scale.
Here is a diagram that I really like that presents Home the fact that teaching is not just a great profession but the largest profession in the United States and not only a great profession but the largest by far now I don't know how You can see that, but the bar that represents teachers and this data is already about five years old. I'll say a little about how this is changing. They represent teachers at approximately 3.7 million. The next bar to the right is secretaries and administrative assistants, almost the same number as teachers. The next bar to the right.
They're janitors, house cleaners, the next profession you get to, which is the fourth bar, they're nurses and that profession is about two-thirds the size of teaching, a little less than two-thirds the size. It's okay, if you really think about what a great occupation it is. I think you'll understand what I mean by scale, so you could do a lot to recruit people, but you would never satisfy the need to have a large number of people who are capable of doing the job and what we do now. It is nothing short of irresponsible for us to fill those positions without actually being accountable for whether people can carry out the responsibilities we are asking them to do.
Am I arguing that they are not even remotely good teachers? We're very lucky that despite the fact that we don't have a system where a large number of people actually learn how to do this, they learn it in part because of the pre-service training that they have, maybe they learn it in part because they are lucky enough to participate in some professional work. opportunities once they're practicing, but they expand their skills and we actually have quite a few people who have figured out how to learn things from their practice, but it's not a very efficient way to build a profession to assume that you're going to lose people. in the classrooms teaching the youth of our nation and we expect them to solve it and many people don't, many people don't and it's not their fault, we don't expect other professionals to solve it at work, it's kind of disrespectful because of the job thinking it's something you can just figure out, that's fine, so I want to spend more time on the work of teaching and the need for professional training.
By the way, I would say something about what is changing. this number is actually increasing and one interesting way it is increasing has to do with how the teacher population will change very soon and very quickly with a much greater tilt towards beginning teachers in the next three years. In five years we will see a big increase and then the proportion of people in the faculty who are early career teachers will have a big increase in retirements so it's actually an interesting question that we're asking ourselves: could this be exactly the time to start thinking more carefully about what initial teaching requires and be more responsible for those years zero to five that we have never done, that we have always assumed that somehow first-year teachers should do the same work as everyone others, but it may be exactly the right time to worry more about starting to teach and think about a professional education that is geared toward that first period of instruction, okay, so let's spend more time now on the work of teaching and the need for training professional, so I'm basically going to make three arguments, but there are two that go together.
The first one I'm going to argue is that teaching is an unnatural job and I'm making this argument in part to support my claim that teaching requires professional training, so I want to show you. Some examples of what I mean by this is actually a bit of a countercultural argument because of course in our society everyone teaches, parents teach, community members teach, people teach when they play roles that they call teachers, like in their churches or in their communities, but people help each other. others all the time teaching each other things new software new equipment how to drive how to change a baby's diaper people are always teaching so it's very difficult to understand what I'm arguing is that the professional teaches the teaching that you are responsible to ensure that young people learn to read, do mathematics and understand scientific concepts is something different from everyday teaching, so how come vocational teaching is not natural?
So what I'm going to do to try to show you this and I won't explain everything is I'm going to contrast what I will argue: our common ways of being, that is, normal and accomplished ways of being an adult with ways of being and teaching. In fact, once I start this, you will be able to get some examples of this contrast that are better than the ones I came up with, so one example is that in everyday life it is really useful and functional to ask questions all the time that you don't you know the answers, that's the function that questions really play in everyday life, that's what you do when you don't know something, you know how to ask a question, that's what you do, but in reality, in teaching, most Of the time you need to learn to ask questions to which you often know the answer, at least part of the answer you know.
The answer probably to the material you're asking about that you may not know is how the person you're asking the question understands that, but you're not asking the same type of question that you've learned to ask naturally. in everyday life in everyday life it's natural when people are caught up in telling them to show them to take care of them, to do things for them to help them, that's what we mean by being useful to people, but at the same time teach you have this really difficult lesson. that you can't do it for the child that's not being helpful you're not the person who in the end is supposed to know how to add fractions you already know how to add fractions you're supposed to figure out how to get someone else to know how to do it and that's not the Same kind of showing and helping.
It's natural when you help someone else do something and you like learning how to make brownies. This is one of my favorites in everyday life. In fact, it is functional. It would be crazy if you didn't assume most of the time that you know what other people mean when someone says something, interrupt them every other word and say, could you say a little more than you meant when you said sorry? or when you said gradually how gradually exactly you were thinking it might be, you wouldn't do what I mean, we would never communicate, but in teaching, if you do it, you do it at your own risk if you assume your students mean what you think what do you want. what they meant or what you think they meant, you'll misunderstand them most of the time, so you'll have to learn to suspend your assumption that they mean what you wish they meant or what you think they meant and explore the things you think they mean.
They might seem obvious. so you shouldn't assume that students mean what you think they mean. I'll skip some of these. I mean, this is pretty obvious in everyday life too. You try to spare people the shame of having made a mistake. You might say, "Oh, you." he probably meant this or here's something, but you know he probably didn't mean that, but in teaching not only is it functional to focus on the error and help decompress it, but you could actually cause it on purpose, which is not very natural. Not doing that in everyday life puts people in situations where they will make mistakes or do things that show they are misunderstanding something, but in teaching you can do that deliberately to investigate whether there is a weak point in the person's way of thinking. a student.
I'm going to skip down because you can see them yourself. This is one that has interested me more and more in everyday life. It's natural to like some people more than others, and in fact, you may not like some people. In reality, it is not part of the professional role and this worries me more and more because in fact we know that many people enter teaching because they like children or they like young people, that's fine, and we say that it is good, it is good Which you probably like because you'll spend a lot of time with them, but that's not really why you should get into teaching.
You should probably go into teaching if you're fascinated by how kids think or something else, but I started to realize, partly as a parent, that if we don't address that, that's why people get into teaching, which is natural. We're allowing the compliment that we allow people to not like children too because if you can like some people, you can't like others and we've never actually addressed that. that is not part of the role, in fact, there are many children who experience that teachers do not like them, liking them and not liking them is not part of the role, it is natural in their normal relationships, but it is not part of the teacher's teaching role. what the teaching role is about. seeing people descriptively understand where they're coming from being able to interpret what they're doing and helping them grow is really a different thing than being liked.
I'm not saying that teachers shouldn't appreciate children or enjoy them or even get irritated with others. Sometimes that's really different than liking or not liking some children and finally, especially in our society, it's a virtue to be yourself, we say. all the time, be authentic, be yourself, actas yourself, that's not at all what you should be doing as the teacher you're at. a role, I mean, I'm MC, the laugh probably suggested that you can think quite a few things about yourself that you shouldn't be when you're in your role, but this is really un-American because in our society we place a lot of importance on individuality and being one yourself and be authentic, but you're actually taking on a serious professional role when you're a teacher and it's not so appropriate, all the things about you are not appropriate, okay, so that's like exposing one piece, which is if you wanted to.
To help people learn to take on the role, you would have to intervene in a whole series of natural things that they do that seem to teach but are actually not very appropriate, and you would have to think about how you could interrupt that to help people. who aspire to become teachers to learn to play a professional role. I want to move on now to the part of my argument which is that teaching is a complex and deliberate job and to do that we are going to try something to help you do it. a little conversation between you with a challenge I'm going to show you an example of a short segment of teaching fractions in third grade and I'm going to give you a task to do that may not come naturally to you but I want you to try to do it, What I'm going to ask you is to see how well you can describe what the teaching job is in the video, okay, not if you like it, not what the children would like. be thinking I mean, the teacher's job might be to find out what the kids are thinking.
I want you to see how much you can describe about what work is visible in the video or that you can infer had to be done. to be doing what is happening in the video, okay, a little context, the video involves comparing fractions, these students have worked with multiple representations, number line models, area models, sets, etc., and The question they are discussing is very simple. They are discussing a problem that is more than 4/4 or four eighths. They have no context other than mathematics that they are talking about. They already worked on this problem on their own and discussed it with a partner and were watching a small segment of the discussion. group about this and what we will see in particular are two different explanations from children, mainly we will see Lin's explanation, she maintains that 4/4 is more than four eighths and makes a very elaborate explanation. draws like this on the board to explain it and a boy named Kevin announces after that that he originally made a mistake because he made this picture and there is a brief discussion about Kevin's mistake, okay, so again your task is: can you describe as much as possible at the detailed level what work the teacher is doing, you may have done it before or you may have done it at some point in order to be able to do the work you are doing now, identifying some things that you would classify as work the teacher is doing .
As you can see or infer, the question I'm asking you to talk about is to try to think about what are some of the specific tasks required to teach the small piece of teaching that you're looking at and that really two places to think about: one is off camera before this episode or somehow not invisible and then what's happening during these six minutes, so let's think about that a little bit: does anyone want to identify something that they think might be happening before? That would be part of the work that teachers do and that doesn't happen in the six minutes, but as part of the work that you can see in effect when you watch this.
Yeah, okay, so just picking that specific problem that happens before the video is an example. or select it if it came from somewhere and think about those numbers like we could talk for quite a while about whether those are good options or not, but the selection of the numbers and the framing of that question is an example of the work, what is something else ? that could be happening before yes, okay, so that's a good observation, so it seems like the children already seem like the teacher has already taught the students some particular representations and how to produce something else for them.
Yeah, okay, very good, she taught them, she probably taught them something that One way you couldn't present an argument is to go up to the whiteboard and draw a picture of how to behave when you're presenting an argument, something like that, so let's see. I had some and you have plenty. I got a lot of what I thought, one that you didn't mention is that the teacher has had to learn more about the individual children and what they care about from David, who you haven't mentioned, the teacher may know some things about David and what they care about. that he's bringing up, that can allow her to deal with what he's bringing up in the middle of that discussion, she can know what different kids are worried about, she can know how Kevin would or wouldn't react if a mistake was amplified, so she has been learning a little things.
As for the students, I probably think this is a less sophisticated point than the one you just made about learning to argue, but teachers have had to do something to establish a learning environment to manage even just children's behavior. maybe more like what you were saying, some intellectual habits go with some of the things you've been talking about and then the choice of problem and certainly there are others, but these are all things that aren't really in the video, but that you might identify as teaching work, so now let's think about during the six minutes and what are some of the things that you might identify that are happening during the six minutes that you would call parts of the work that the teacher is doing, yeah, okay. , so that the nosov group teaching us visibly has a lot of children and is monitoring, may have to be monitoring who is who is with it, who is doing what, what is something else yet, so there are a lot of things at stake in that comment about asking Len to repeat his response louder. include judging that it needs to be said louder having a way to tell them to do it, etc., it's a bunch of things summarized and what you said knowing that's the right time to do it, etc.
What is further back that goes with what we just heard? So the teacher has a repertoire. Now you've named two different types of moves that the teacher has and the teacher is presumably coordinating making a certain comment to the class in coordination with either the particular student or what the math problem is, so in this case the comment was that she choose not to say that Linds' answer is correct. It's probably the most natural thing. Linds produced a quite elaborate and correct explanation. She is quite developed for someone who is 8 years old. old and a perfectly reasonable comment could be and it would be quite natural to say very good job, let's talk about it, you know Lynn is absolutely right and instead the teacher says other people's comments, so that's a particular move that is coordinated for some purpose, but having that movement and choosing to use it as a more remote part of the job, I'm not judging if this is the right thing to do at the moment.
I'm just trying to get a catalog of some of the things I need to do. learning to do, obviously the quality of teaching has to do with how well one implements them, so we're not there yet. Yes, so her comment, this comment now focuses a little more on analyzing what might have led the teacher to do. that particular thing at that time and that type of reasoning is part of the job is also the teacher's reasoning, so let me put some so that we can continue to move forward on this, but I tried to literally go by the clock. times in the video and I didn't start to capture all the things that I could see and you said some of these, but I just wanted to illustrate that if you go by seconds, you can name quite a few things. those are things that the teacher is doing, for example, one that you know, David makes this comment about how he wouldn't agree if Flynn did eight lines, so the teacher has to work on this in 101 28, the teacher has to work to find out what you have to handle. the risk that the whole class will be lost at that moment she has to decide whether to take it back or not and she has to do so, in a decision that she makes to continue, she has to somehow close that exchange politely because she is not really accepting his comment . a lot Bernadette sthick suggests a number line what you have to decide is what something to take is it a good idea for her to come to the board and make a number line while everyone waits?
In this case, the teacher gives him a blank number line and asks him to do it. He has apparently decided that this is something to work on, but he intends to figure out how to do it and decides to amplify Kevin's mistake in 102 57. It's just a bunch of different things that you can point out and I'm trying like It's as hard as possible to name things that you can see the teacher doing. We could spend a lot of time thinking about what the teacher knows or believes or whatever. I'm really trying to describe what the work is, so what I've been trying to do is To argue that teaching is natural work but also complex and deliberate, I want to spend a moment on what I mean by deliberate and I'll come back to it.
What I said before about the fact that everyone teaches, so we carry a burden in our life. profession because everyone teaches and it is difficult to argue that there is something special about it people teach successfully all the time. I mean, parents are very successful teachers quite often, so is there a buy in? We have to affirm that there is something that one has to have professional knowledge and skill. For the way I've come to think about this, I'm actually drawing on the work of my colleague David Cohen, who has been writing about teaching for as long as I've known him, but more recently has begun to develop what I find very useful.
One whole way to think about this is to say that yes, everyone teaches, and in fact, Jim would probably like me to say that people learn all the time without teachers. Well, I mean, all kinds of learning goes on that has nothing to do with any kind of teacher or even formal teaching, but public schools are created to improve the likelihood that every child in our country will learn something that We believe that it is important for them to learn, so we are talking about something very particular, which is the deliberate act. to change that probability of increasing the probability that children can learn the things that we think matter, they will learn if they don't have good teachers, yes, probably, and they will learn if they don't have teachers, from all, yes, of course, people do all that. time, but the teaching profession is about a deliberate activity in which we are responsible for trying to increase that probability and I think that is a different way of saying that we have a special responsibility, a moral imperative, to reduce the chances that people learn what they want. "We should learn and that is a very big responsibility because without the care and the way we equip people to do it, we may not increase the likelihood at all that children will learn what they need to learn in school, so At this point in the argument, I'm basically arguing that, given the scale problem I laid out about how many people we need (and in fact, an increasing number) and the fact that it is a natural, complex and deliberate task, today I maintain that equipping all students in our country with good teachers and by good I mean people who can be deliberate in changing and affecting that probability is a problem of effective teacher education.
I am using the word teacher education here loosely. I know that in our field we have all kinds of problems with language and many people use teacher training just means pre-service. I'm using that word because it's the obvious generic word for what we do when helping people learn to teach, so That within that is initial teacher training, teacher preparation, early career professional development. choose a word to serve as an umbrella, okay, so it is a problem to create more effective teacher training, but there is a very big problem, but in the midst of this talk about teacher training in our country it is under siege, absolutely under siege , there are so many criticisms of teachers.
Education, whether it is the initial preparation or the basically non-existent mentoring that early career teachers receive or the professional development that many of us have witnessed and considered completely useless, is under siege and some of the criticisms include things like that the curriculum is empty, I don't know how many times as a dean I have to hear someone say, well, I got a teaching certificate just to have insurance, but wow, it was the most boring thing I had to endure while I was at the University of Michigan and got two degrees in fascinating things and the arts and sciences, but then my dad said I should get a certificate, so I took a couple of really boring classes, we get criticized all the time for having nothing to do with science. practice, the teachers tell us.This the whole time we were there, they had to learn this was on the job because what they learned in their teacher training had nothing to do with their job and I, as a teacher, certainly went through a lot of professional development, they had absolutely nothing to do . which has to do with the challenges that teacher training faced every day is under siege because those who enroll in our programs were constantly criticized for the quality of the people who enroll in teacher training or who practice teaching and all types of other things, the last one is actually quite important, we are in a bad position because we have no way of showing that there is any advantage to be gained from giving people the ax teacher training that we currently offer and people who don't receive it so early.
He said if you take people off the streets, they're really going to need it, they're going to need help learning how to teach. The problem is that right now we don't have any very good way of establishing that we have something to offer that can make a difference and that's our problem, we have to find a way to equip teachers and experienced teachers with the skills they need. and that means we have to develop ways of doing it that actually improve random activity or learning from experience, so I'm actually here. say as a dean of a school of education and we'll see what my colleague Dean Benbow says.
I think our critics are partly right. There are actually a lot of different structures for delivering teacher training, but frankly, if you look at the data, there is more variation in what teachers learn in these different structures than there is between them, so we spend a lot of time on discuss what the structure of teacher education should be, but you know, there's not much difference that we've been able to show in those structures. we have a completely disassembled company here is a diagram similar to the one I showed you before about the magnitude of the teaching force here is one that shows the distribution of the size of initial teacher preparation programs in higher education by program size, so this It is based on an estimate of about one thousand three hundred and seventy teacher training programs in higher education alone.
Right now it is difficult to count the alternative routes that we have in this country, but we have estimated about one hundred and twenty-two alternative routes for teaching in 47 states, about a third of newly certified teachers are coming out of those programs, but just by looking at this you can see that we actually have about a third of the programs that produce less than forty teachers a year, it's hard to call that a system, There are so many different programs and many of them don't even have enough students to really invest in what it would take to have serious professional training.
The University of Michigan is well above average. We are not a giant producer of teachers. We graduate about 300 teachers. per year and you are well above the median in this distribution, how many teachers graduate from Vanderbilt of the year? So it's also above the median, so the company, regardless of how it's organized, is just not doing well enough, so I'm not really that interested in the structural question and what that I really want to take. The first thing is what it would be like to have a system that could reliably prepare what I previously called ordinary people for the practice.
So what's wrong with a system we have if it's not the structure that's wrong? I'll just name a few things and then move on to what it would be like if we actually taught the practice as the last section of the talk, so here are the main criticisms I would like to highlight, they are a little different than what our critics mention. but as an insider I feel like I've been there and can see what should concern us about what we do. We have a teacher education curriculum in this country and again I am generalizing here, you may well know that. a professional development program or an initial preparation program that is not like that, but what you need to know is that it is reception, we have a tremendously unfocused curriculum and teacher training that emphasizes knowledge and beliefs much more than professional practice , we care much more. about what teachers believe and whether they can demonstrate that they know things and whether they can actually carry out a discussion with a group of children about a topic that we have field experience with.
It's quite true, you might think that's where people learn to practice, but that's actually the case. The field experience curriculum often focuses more on reflecting on practice than on developing actual skills or the ability to make judgments in action. The assessments we use to evaluate whether or not someone is prepared to teach focus much more on what they know and believe like I do. I said a moment ago that if they can really do something, so these three problems would have to be solved if we wanted to create a system that really focused on preparing professionals and, as you know, our sister professions have some of this more figured out than we do. . doing social work, nursing, even some of the non-human professions like architecture have some of this figured out so we can benefit, there are a couple that have less to do with the practice but they should be on this list even though we know that knowing your The subject of teaching is not the same and you do not seem to be an expert in the discipline, we are still teaching it and we are proud to ask people to learn the same things as the people who are going to research. in those fields learn instead of really assuming that there's a specialized type of content knowledge that you just don't learn just by studying those subjects and it really is content knowledge and it really matters if you're going to be in a position to explain things to kids. or use representations that they can understand and I'm not even going to get into that last one, it's a big one and I don't want to be unfair, but it's really important that the majority of teacher training is sacred and effective. for the reality of the variety of young people that teachers have to be prepared to interact with sensitively, effectively and consistently, okay, so you're probably pretty depressed, but I'm actually going to end this on a hopeful note, i.e. as I said in part there is a lot to learn from other professions Pam Grossman and her colleagues at Stanford University have been working for the past few years to closely study how the practice is taught in other fields and there is a lot to learn from how the clergy, for example.
Working with a grieving family is arguably quite a stressful thing to learn to deal with. I bet you don't learn that from just reading about it. I bet you actually have to practice it and get training or learn how psychotherapists diagnose these kinds of things. that patients come or learn something about how nurses learn to care for patients who are very different from themselves these professions have things in common with us we are different yes, but some of these fields are dealing with the same problems I have solved them in other ways and there is a lot to learn at Michigan, we are lucky because as we embark on this in our context, we live on a campus where there are many professional schools and we found it enormously interesting to learn, for example, how medical school works . has radically changed the teaching of surgery in the Western decade because the joke has always been that you see a surgery and the next thing you know you're doing is watching one do what I think it's basically or watching one try to do something, I don't do it.
HE. which it was, but it was pretty quick and a little bit alarming if you're a patient and now they've built a system that interrupts that too-short path to surgery that involves operating rooms where you can watch surgeons who have learned not only to do surgery well , but to narrate it for beginners, they have simulators where you can try this on something that feels a lot and looks a lot like real surgery, but luckily it's not really interesting and there are a lot of things like that to do. learn, so now I will try to take us to some initial examples of what it would be like if teaching practice was actually the content of teacher education, so let's say what the problems would be if we were to build teacher education in such a way that the teaching plan If studies and pedagogy were to be oriented around teaching practice, one problem we would have to solve is to rethink what the content of our curriculum is and that could include things like, for example, what Pam and her colleagues are doing.
What you have to do to break it down is unpack it to identify what the work of practice is and name it and identify it, we would have to learn to see it when a lot of the teaching work is not actually visible and I don't mean the things that are outside of camera, I mean, even in that video, if we take the time, there's a lot going on right in front of us that we don't really know how to see, so a lot of the teaching is pretty invisible, that's a challenge if we're trying to teach it to beginners and we have an ongoing problem of how much of it is taught in general, maybe general is a better word than generic, but general about learning to teach and how much of that really depends on the specifics of what you're doing. teach, we don't have a good answer for that, but we have a lot to learn about how the practice can be practiced.
Are there cases where rehearsing the practice before doing it really helps? What are the types of approaches in which you are doing the real thing? But it's not the way you would do it in real time. What should they help with? What about the needs? What should be practiced in real time? We need to care more about where the settings are to learn how to practice. My colleague Magdalen Lampert has been experimenting with thinking. of a continuum of environments from virtual environments where practice can be simulated to design environments such as laboratory schools and real environments and, in general, what we have ahead of us is discovering how practice can be taught and evaluated in ways that it is not convert immediately.
Going back to propositional knowledge and analysis, it won't be very easy to do, it's quite difficult to keep it in the realm of practice, so I'd like to show you a couple of examples, but let's say this is the job, on the one hand. you have to choose some things that you can really identify, that you can decompress to teach them to study and that you can reintegrate into teaching in real time. You don't want to atomize teaching, it's a very fluid and integrated type of work, so when you take it apart you can do that with some risk and, in some ways, the early work on microteaching took that risk, so we want to learn from that, but also learn what didn't work so well in that period of the 70s.
This question that mr. They love us all over the country and they're trying to think about what are the things that are most influential for beginning teachers in this case or for those of us who are more experienced in what's going on enough to make it worth investing in? which is really fundamental for the different styles. of teaching it may not matter what style of teacher you are, you better know how you are going to find out if a child knows something, it doesn't really matter what style of teacher you are, if you can't do that, in a really big problem and so on, what?
What are some of these high leverage practices? Well, here is a set, there is nothing sacred in this set, but what is interesting is that, for example, the first one is rarely taught in teacher training as a primary school teacher for 17 years, there was not a day in the one who wasn't interacting with someone and a child outside of school life. I didn't learn anything about that in my professional preparation or any subsequent professional development. I had to figure it all out on my own. how I called parents on the phone or went to their houses or wrote notes or what to do at a parent-teacher conference that's a really important part of the job why it's slipped away that most of the teacher education curriculum doesn't.
It's clear, but you could have a good time. I think I'm starting to name what you would designate as a high leverage practice and you would have to do it by saying to yourself I only get 10 things, what would I choose as the 10 things and what would be the grain size? and why would you choose those 10 things to equip a beginner to be truly skilled? So now I want to take two cases of what it would look like if you had chosen something and wanted to show it to someone the first time. to explain and not show you the video and the second one I'm going to show you a video clip, so in the first case I chose and you can watch this later if you want.
I wanted to show you an example or describe an example where the teacher educator is teaching future teachers to use mathematical knowledge for teaching, which is different from actually teaching them mathematics.teach them how to use them in practice, so the second area was to teach the students in the literacy course to do guided reading, not to Listen to it so I don't know what it would look like, but I'm actually going to carry it out, so I'll show you the second and I will quickly talk about the first to teach how to practice teaching subtraction modeling using concrete material that involves learning mathematics to teach. but it also means developing skills in how you deploy base ten blocks, for example, how you put them on the board, on a table or on the floor, and how you talk about it or how you ask children to talk about what could you do.
I know a lot about how base ten blocks model subtraction and I never come close to knowing how you would use them in action to help children learn, so it is a way of learning mathematics for teaching, that is the active use that What teachers really have to do in the case of When trying out guided reading, you would have to learn how to talk and read a book and practice articulating and integrating a bunch of different instructional objectives with students while you do it, so what would that entail? the subtraction example? To learn how to map between a symbolic form and the 10 base materials you would have to show, for example, how borrowing is actually regrouping.
There are a lot of things you would have to learn to do and it's quite complicated, let's just do it. I'm going to show you a diagram and what I'm going to show you is exactly what wouldn't help you learn how to do it, so pay attention because I'm doing this on purpose so you can see because it's a pretty good explanation. I'm about to give you and I wouldn't equip you to go into a classroom and do it, but you'll see what might be involved, so let's say you have the problem 52 minus 13 and you want to model it carefully so that students can see what's there. passing, one thing you would have to do is model 52 and you would have to decide that what you are going to do is model 52 and take away 13.
You could also decide to model both 52. and 13 and model the comparison so that you have to make a decision about the math and then you have to figure out why you can't take 2/3 out of two, so how are you going to take out three when you only have two? and you have to exchange and have one less club and then have 12 loose ticks and then you have to register that and then it also has to be timed pretty well because what most people do who understand this but don't know how to shoot The bad thing is that they just do it all with base ten blocks and show that in the end the answer yes, you know, the answer is 39 with blocks, but that's not where the problem lies, the problem lies in students understanding how that.
The procedure of that whole magical process of crossing out what making a record is really about and learning how children learn to see what a record is being made of is really skillful work and no one learns it from a slide like that. it comes from practicing, trying to do it and it's very difficult, but you know it gets a lot better when you practice it and get feedback and then you try it with real kids and get feedback again, and this has nothing to do with whether you think teachers should do it. or that children should do it.
The teacher can't help children learn to do it if the teacher can't do it themselves, so let's move on to the guided reading example in this example. We're going to see a teacher, the woman in the blue shirt, a very beginning student teacher, learning and preparing how to do guided reading with a group of second grade students. Guided reading is essentially reading a story aloud to students and talking with them, doing comprehension work. Some of the vocabulary we're guiding for reading together sounds easy enough, like who among us can't read a book about fishing to a group of second graders, but I think when you see this, what's going to catch your attention isn't just What a teaching educator is to do is to unpack and teach practice, but it will help you appreciate how much more there is to do to teach some guided reading to second graders.
She will make it more visible as you watch this beginner stumble upon things that you may not have done. I even stopped to notice it before and the interesting thing about this example is that these other people, our other student teachers, and in this particular example of teaching practice, they are rehearsing doing this before working with the second grade students, then they go and They work with second graders and come back with videos of themselves doing it and watch to see how the things they were learning to do actually came out. get feedback rehearse try again, so let's look at the example and see if you notice what the teacher educator is doing. what you can see about learning to do guided reading and what the student teacher shows you about what's not so obvious about learning to do this now that we're near the end of this talk just see if you can identify a couple of things with the person close to you who is being taught about the practice here or who the student teacher needs to learn would be another way to ask for deference to the time.
By the way, I'll bring you back to this point in this example. How many people here at the University of Pittsburgh know there is a small court? So in this video, the person I showed will be your new colleague starting in January. This teacher educator on the left is Sarah Scott, soon to be a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, she has been a wonderful doctoral student at Michigan and has worked very hard with other people to learn how to think about what teaching practice and literacy could look like, so I just want to introduce her to you if I haven't already.
I've met her yet, but I'm too bad for the people at Vanderbilt who know her, so in this video Sarah is teaching reading aloud and there are a number of things that are going on, like word study and type of problem. unexpected about whether there is wind. the professional vocabulary of homophone and homograph used in context, which actually provides a kind of precision for students to think about what to do, they are learning to set the specific guiding questions, she is really sick, a folder there to think about how give instructions. in the end and she clearly she doesn't understand all the language that she says when she says look for supporting details, something that Sarah doesn't pick up on is probably not the right way to say that to first graders, so how does she learn to take it? correct idea, how do you say that?
How would she tell six-year-olds to read the text and look for supporting details? So, how do you say learning to use her voice? How to write to the clipboard? I mean, these sound so trivial, but actually, caring about how to make a U or a W that isn't clear in first grade is pretty important, so this model that Sarah and her colleagues have been working on essentially consists of have teachers learn instructional activities, test the activities and classrooms bring representations of what happens in class to analyze, modify those instructional activities and then try them again and it is a very strong trial model here where they can test it and give each other feedback others before doing it, then doing it, then learning from it, so it's a cycle.
So I want to conclude by saying a little about what it would take to make the Center's teacher training much more practical, what the challenges are that lie ahead of us, and what resources we have. challenges, first of all, we do not have a sufficiently adequate knowledge base about teaching practice, we do not have a good English language to talk about teaching and I say in English because, frankly, in Japanese, Japanese teachers have a much more tuned up. describing teaching and teaching movements is fascinating and we have a pretty impoverished language in our culture to talk about the distinctions that we have to make as teachers, but we don't have good words, the fact that we have, you know, the Eskimos have all these words.
For snow we basically have one or two words for questions, but questions are our main tool. Why don't we have many different words for questions? Why don't we have names for the different types of speeds at which a lesson takes place? plateaus where you ask everyone a question to get everyone involved and then that deep, rigid takeoff where you do something very quickly, we just have this kind of impressionistic way of talking about the pace of a lesson, but it's crucial for us how we move. content over time and coordinated against the clock why don't we have vocabulary for how to do that and have trouble breaking down teaching into isolated non-atomistic elements of the Bowl?
We do not have a learning history to do it, there is a big problem with experience and tacit knowledge and this is common in all fields, but among you, who are teachers with a lot of experience, it is not natural to try to make more visible and broken down what it is the job. Experts in all fields become fluent and absorb much of their work. in tacit performance, so it's not that easy and sometimes you see that with professors who work with beginners and just say I don't know, I just do it, they're not always that good at being able to open up the work to With explicit elements in medical school I learned that people who can perform surgeries in front of other people are a very particular subset of good surgeons.
Many good surgeons cannot teach well in the operating room because they are good surgeons. We're not very good at doing it in public for other people to learn. We work against a cultural prejudice that teaching is artistic and uncertain and cannot be specified. We love that vision of teaching and we really resist thinking that it is something hyperactive. It is not a job that requires high levels of skill. I don't know very well why we resist it, but it is true that the work of teaching is in our bones and when you speak as I have done today a little to put pressure on everyone.
When people say things like training or prescription, people come back to me and call that skill the work of teaching. Actually, I'm trying to point out how skilled he is, so why we find that kind of detailed talk about teaching skills instead of ability, I don't know, but it's a problem we'll face if we don't think he's that skilled. . I guess that means we believe anyone can do it and you don't need to read the New York Times more than a couple. times a month to find opinion pieces that say just lower the barriers and let more people know that they don't allow anyone to be a plumber, we don't have it and this will be a more serious problem for many people equipped to teach practice because, in part , being a teacher doesn't necessarily make you a good teaching teacher, any more than being a good mathematician makes you a good math teacher, and it's a strange group of teacher educators that includes people in the arts and sciences who teach content. for teachers includes practicing teachers includes people who are retired teachers doing field work includes random education teachers some of whom have never taught some of whom have not studied teaching is a very heterogeneous group of professionals who are asked that they do this What I'm talking about today and often they don't have much preparation, so we would have to think about the community of people who would need it, it's a really big problem, they themselves need opportunities to learn how to teach it and in the background.
Looking back on all of this, the fact that we don't have a common curriculum for k12 adds to our challenge. If I could predict what my future teachers would teach in mathematics, it would be much easier to prepare them for practice. I don't have It seems like a lot more practice-based thinking about content knowledge that could help us do this and, as I said before, we have some really interesting resources in our professions that are like us, that we could learn from, we could learn more about what clinical work is or What clinical faculty could we learn to pay more attention to the relational work of social work teaching?
It is full of preparation to do that relational work. We need some of that. Okay, so the title I told you I would provoke you with. Because? I really want to call it that, if I had called it that, you wouldn't have got it right. Basically, I'm arguing that we urgently need to figure out how to improve learning opportunities for all students. In my opinion, this really requires skillful teaching. and what I am saying is that teaching is a complex job and it is not natural to do it, it is necessary to learn it and what I am saying is that in reality it is also taught and that, as I just said, see teaching as a skillful and highly precise job It's not just a matter of personal style and preference, it's not really acceptable to say "well, that's my way of teaching math, but you know I prefer to do it this way."way" wouldn't you like someone in another area of your life to say true saying you know, I know it's better to use this tool, but I prefer to use a plastic spoon, that's my style.
It would seem silly to you, but we think it's a virtue for people to find their own style when in reality it is important to do something well and with skill. Professional work is partly about creativity, but it is not just about creativity and, as I started this whole talk, we need a reliable system that can accept people who are willing to commit to the difficult and important work of helping young people learn and reward them with perfect results. equip them with the necessary skills to do so, so I see it as a challenge. I think places like the ours and yours are already doing a lot, but I also think we have a lot more to do if we were to take this seriously, so my argument I hope you challenge me and if you want these slides I'll put them on my website and it's easier to find just Searching in google.
My name is the easiest way to get there, so thank you very much. I want to ask now okay, does anyone want to ask me a question or yell at me about this argument? Yeah, there's a very, very, very good question, so I think the question is this instructional model that Sarah Scott was using in the video, the teacher educator almost looks at that, that shudder at what you're asking, you're saying. what we wouldn't want teachers to do with kids, she constantly interrupts, it's almost like I wouldn't describe it as a bumper car speech, then they say a term for it and is that a problem, so I think I would give a short answer. but two-part: one, I don't think teacher training is supposed to necessarily be synchronous with what teachers do with kids, we're not teaching the same things or the same students, so The idea that we feel So forced to model what we think teaching should be with children gets a little in the way of teaching math to 10 year olds, which I did for several weeks this summer, it's actually a really different proposition than teaching adults to teach and I could explain why, but I think it's a problem where I think the problem you're describing is that when we are hypocritical we are doing something where it would be appropriate to use a pedagogy as we like and just say, oh, we are too busy or takes too much time.
I think that is correct, but teaching, teaching, and teaching elementary mathematics is not the same and may require a different pedagogy than the students, they are also different, but secondly, I am not stating nor was I. In the 4/4 4/8 video, that example is necessarily the ending we want to get to. I was trying to make more visible what using the essay would look like as a pedagogy in which teachers are carefully trained. the elements maybe in the next iteration when Sarah did this last summer maybe had some different features. The highlight of the video was saying that rehearsing could make a difference and that opening something as simple as guided reading has many parts that really matter.
I think that's the most important conclusion. Your question is important for us to worry about because the training I'm talking about does not eliminate judgment or thinking or the kind of fluency that one needs. training is being more responsible to make sure that teachers actually have the parts that they're going to need and put them together, but I think your questions are really good and really on point. Yes, schoolchildren, the school population is becoming more and more diverse, how does that fit with my argument that we can become so precise and the way we train people to teach.
I'm using the word training because of the way we didn't really come back to that, but you may ask me why I choose to introduce that word here, but let me go more directly to your question, I think it's a question that's right at the heart of what we're talking about. what we have to fight for and I think I'm partly reacting to the fact that we've come so far in thinking that there's so much to improvise and invent that we haven't left much room for the part that really needs to be. We could get a lot more benefit in teaching practice by finding out which part is highly predictable and I have a lot of general acceptance, so there is room for the repertoire of things that can be so easily prescribed for a long time.
I myself was very resistant to this idea and the more I taught and the more I heard arguments about this, I began to think that, in fact, we could agree on a percentage of practice with which many specifications could be made and then you would have more headroom and space for the part that is less predictable and I think that's not a complete answer to your question, but I think You're right, but I don't think that means everything is up for grabs. I think there is a lot of practice that people can really get very good at and that will go away and then they will need a repertoire and there is one thing that I think there is a lot to learn jim.green oh and others know a lot about this, how you learn repertoires and the skills to put them together and I think being more diverse in the way we think about that curriculum so that it includes some of what I'm talking about and leaves some room for the other is really where I'm heading towards. back.
I think, are you asking? Regarding education or public schools, I am thinking of public schools as a social institution that we have created because we actually believe that it is the only thing that we have created that every human being in our society receives, so there are many things that we could argue. Actually, we could have a whole session on what we think those schools should do, but since we say we wanted, we've wanted this since the 1840s and we've never gotten it done or whatever it is we wanted to do, since we think that This is important enough.
I think the purpose of education is to increase access to opportunity for things that don't happen by chance living wherever you live or whoever you're born to or whatever zip code you have. or whatever the color of your skin is, we still don't agree on that, I'll give you that completely, but if we're serious about public education and what it can offer in terms of opportunities, just having it available and not equipping the Seriously, people don't understand us. I think the arguments implicit in your question also have to happen, but in my opinion, the purpose of education is to be worth the amount of time we ask children to be there. has to produce something that is actually usable for them and I, the argument about the curriculum is complementary to my argument about how to ensure that teachers can do it.
Do you want to follow that argument? I mean, I think it's a good and serious question. I'm very concerned about those arguments without everyone participating in the argument because where you are in our society makes that question very different and I'm not prepared to be an expert on that, but we have a pretty diverse society where some People get a lot and some people don't and I think it depends a lot. I would like to know. I think the arguments will have to continue to be debated by many voices and even make that happen as a challenge, but I think you're I don't want to deflect your question.
I think it's important. I worry about something that tends to get left out: the people we ask to do what we want schools to do are often left to do it. very little support for the complexity of that work and that's what I'm trying to address. Yes, of course, the rest.
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