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Adapting to a new teaching environment for teacher education

Student studying

How do you teach future educators to teach when they cannot be in physical K-12 classrooms? That is the question that many teacher education instructors started facing a little over a month ago amid the announcements of schools moving to remote learning across the country.

Illinois State University’s Cecilia J. Lauby Teacher Education Center had already been preparing for this scenario and began sharing resources with teacher education faculty that would aid in their students learning educational theories and pedagogies outside the K-12 classroom.

ATLAS, a product of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, is a database of teaching cases from National Board-certified teachers aimed at demonstrating excellent teaching. Each case contains a video of the lesson, a detailed explanation from the teacher, lesson goals, an analysis and a reflection to improve the lesson. All cases are organized by content area, grade level, and topic.

Carrie Young, elementary education clinical instructor in the School of Teaching and Learning, first heard about this resource during the extended spring break and quickly adjusted her syllabi. She is incorporating it as a tool during her online class sessions and for assignments. When her class meets once a week synchronously, they watch a case video and analyze it together. She likes this tool because it allows her students to see multiple teaching styles that they wouldn’t get while observing or student teaching in one classroom.

“Teachers have to be flexible, so this current situation and tool allows them to practice that flexibility in how they learn, observe and teach,” said Young.

Young is grateful for the work of her colleagues in the School of Teaching and Learning and in the Lauby Teacher Education Center because they have modeled flexibility and worked hard to support instructors with these quick changes. This work has allowed her to change her syllabi and focus on teaching her future educators how to teach when they cannot be in physical K-12 classrooms for observations and feedback.

Moving forward she believes her future classes will be even better with the use of ATLAS to demonstrate educational theories and pedagogies.

“I want to say a huge thank you to all of the Lauby Center staff and Teaching and Learning advisors and staff who have worked tireless hours over the past month to support the continued excellent teaching in the College of Education,” said Young.