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Michigan Department of Education seeks to create a plan to expand clinically oriented teacher preparation programs in the state with REL Midwest training

Michigan seeks to expand clinical teacher prep

By Sarah Rand
October 18, 2017

Decades of research on teacher training, as summarized in Darling-Hammond (2014), suggest that teaching candidates (and their students) benefit from extended clinical experience, especially in schools similar to the ones they will teach once they have completed their training. In particular, Darling-Hammond notes that candidates who had immediate opportunities to apply content-specific practices that they learned through their coursework had positive effects on students’ achievement. A 2015 study found that teachers who participated in a clinical residency program were more likely to remain teachers in their districts compared with teachers who did not participate in such a program.

To provide Michigan partners with information about this promising practice, REL Midwest offered a training about clinically oriented teacher preparation programs at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) on July 27, 2017. These programs, often referred to as teacher residencies, provide teacher candidates with opportunities to develop instructional skills by working in the classroom under the direction of an experienced teacher who provides teacher candidates with ongoing coaching, supervision, and support. This training helped MDE, K–12 representatives, institutes of higher education, and other state and local education agencies build knowledge about effective or promising teacher residencies as a potential strategy both to develop highly effective teachers and to remedy the teacher shortage problem in Michigan. The information shared in the training offered specific steps that participants could take to support the development and sustainability of teacher residencies across Michigan. This training was offered through REL Midwest’s Midwest Alliance to Improve Teacher Preparation.

This training featured four teacher residency models:

Representatives from each of these programs shared information about their models and advice for participants. Leah Van Belle from the Dream Keepers program at Wayne State University said,

Creating a teacher residency should be a true collaboration. We created a shared venture with the district, the Michigan Department of Education, the teacher’s union, and our university, so all the stakeholders were represented. It was important to truly co-construct something.

Ed Lui from the Boston Teacher Residency shared advice for starting a clinically oriented teacher preparation program:

A lot of it is putting together pieces that already exist. I wouldn’t think of it as creating something new, but think about how to move aspects of your existing programs and combine them in a unique way to support longer clinical residency experiences for candidates.

Training facilitators also provided a handout that profiles 10 clinically oriented teacher preparation programs that exhibit characteristics of effective or promising programs identified in a 2016 study by Roneeta Guha and colleagues.

The training was valuable for many participants. Jared Robinson, Assistant Director at the Office of Educator Talent at MDE, said that “the training gives me people to reach out to. People have shared thoughts that provide a qualitative context for the quantitative trends that we see.”

REL Midwest will offer a second training at MDE in October that will bring institutions of higher education institutions together with school districts. The goal of this session is to discuss districts’ primary educator workforce challenges and plan for how institutions of higher education can collaborate to address these challenges by implementing teacher residency programs.

Learn more about REL Midwest’s work on teacher preparation on the Midwest Alliance to Improve Teacher Preparation web page.

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Author(s) Information

Sarah Rand Image

Sarah Rand

Communications Consultant | REL Midwest


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