TEACHER EDUCATOR (as defined by MITEN)

Noun

  1. Anyone who is responsible for the growth and development of a teacher’s practice.
  2. Mentor teachers, school leaders, instructional coaches, district professional development personnel, and university-based instructors.

INTRODUCTION

We are an inter-professional network of teacher educators who work together to disrupt the patterns of inequity that we see in teaching and teacher education.

WHAT KEEPS US UP AT NIGHT

We are focused on two significant and prevalent problems in teaching and teacher education:

  1. University-based teacher preparation is too often disconnected from the teaching that occurs in P-12 schools, thereby producing teachers underprepared to effectively meet the demands of diverse classrooms.
  2. This disjointed system reinforces many of the grave racial disparities that have plagued our nation since its inception. We do not blame individual teachers or teacher educators for this, but the system that reliably produces inequitable outcomes.

TOWARD A BETTER FUTURE

Our work intentionally addresses these two problems at two levels:

THE COLLECTIVE 
  • We connect P-12 schools and universities in true partnership.
  • We enact racially aware feedback mechanisms focused on moving teaching to anti-racist practices.
  • We embrace the dynamism of a network, how it breathes and grows with its members’ learning, and have checks and balances to ensure we do not veer toward the status quo.
  • We reform and build a system of teacher preparation that is directly focused on how teachers practice in front of children. 
THE INDIVIDUAL
  • Individuals improve their own teaching practices.
  • Individuals are transformed by the experience of stepping back, observing, and reflecting on their practices.
  • Individuals are empowered to act and advocate for themselves, their profession, and the children and families they serve.

You can click tab headings below to learn more.

We hold regular statewide and local convenings in an effort to bring together university-based and P-12 school-based teacher educators from across the state. Convenings range from day-long gatherings held 4-6 times a year in which teacher educators learn together, to annual local covenings focusing on school-based teacher education, to monthly professional learning communities.

The content of our convenings is focused on developing a shared understanding of core teaching practices and practice based pedagogies as a means to intervene on harmful patterns in teaching. In order to get better together, developing a common language and shared understanding of what we are trying to improve is essential. With this common language, we can leverage a diversity of experiences, identities, and sets of expertise to drive toward a common vision.

convening

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT: Here is an impact video from our originating project, the Michigan Program Network, sponsored by TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan

Members participate in and facilitate shared learning activities such as lesson study, where we collectively plan, watch, and debrief live teaching practice in school and university-based settings. At our shared practice sessions, we build on the trust we have established as a network and provide each other with rigorous feedback for improvement. In particular, we are concerned with how our own teaching practice can be enacted in ways where skillfulness means that we are – at base – not doing harm to children and people.

Lesson Study example

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT:

For a convening at Central Michigan University in February, 2020, I invited MITEN members to attend a secondary methods class I was teaching. I did this to share and receive feedback on changes I had made to the course’s curriculum and my teaching practices. About two dozen teacher educators, including several from CMU, observed my 75-minute lesson on asking questions and then responding to common types of student replies.

After class, my MITEN colleagues and I met for nearly an hour. During this time, my peers discussed what they had observed, asked me questions, and offered suggestions and other comments. I answered questions, made my own comments, and asked questions. By the end of this structured, normative, debriefing session, I had recorded several journal pages of information, including my own reflective critiques and other ideas. These informed my ongoing work in this particular class, as well as my broader conceptions and practices regarding teaching and teacher education.

(Dr. Kevin Cunningham, MITEN member)

We advocate for anti-racist policies through inviting policy makers to participate in our network. Through seeing how our work plays out in practice, policy makers are deeply educated on the issues for which they prescribe policies. To date, we have moved policy in core practices and teacher education reforms at the state level. We are also working with expert partners to provide universal broadband access to all children across the state.

If you have ideas for ways in which a group of passionate teachers and teacher educators can advocate for an anti-racist policy, please contact info@miten.org.

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT:

Our shared vision for teacher education has been recognized and adopted into state policy by the Michigan Department of Education. See the announcement here.

For more information, please contact info@miten.org