AN INNOVATIVE TEACHER IMMERSION RESIDENCY PROGRAM THAT PREPARES HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEACHERS
Old Dominion University (UNITED STATES)
The teacher residency model is an innovative response to the longstanding challenges of how to recruit, prepare, and retain effective teachers in high-needs school districts. According to the Center for Teacher Quality, “new teachers are especially ill-prepared to meet the needs of students in high-needs urban schools, and schools are not retaining sufficient numbers of the teachers they do recruit” (Berry, Montgomery, & Snyder, 2008, p. 3). However, teacher residency models, such as Academy for Urban School Leadership (Chicago), Boston Teacher Residency (Boston), and Boettcher Teachers Program (Denver) demonstrate promising evidence that teacher residency models attract talented and diverse candidates, prepare them to be successful in the classroom, and retain them in high needs schools and subjects. As a result, there is increasing attention to teacher residency models as an additional pathway to improving teacher quality. This paper will present an innovative teacher residency program that recruits candidates with undergraduate degrees in high-need content fields, immerses them in an induction program housed in urban schools, provides them mentoring and instruction founded on research, and continues to offer professional development during the early years of their careers. The purpose of this study is to examine residents’ use of technology and research-based instructional strategies to improve teaching and learning.
A mixed methods evaluation design, including classroom observations and interviews, was used to collect data on residents’ ability to use technology and research-based instructional strategies. The Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) edTPA is a performance assessment of novice teachers’ readiness to teach. The edTPA assessment involves 15 rubrics for rating completion of three tasks: planning for instruction and assessment, instructing and engaging students in learning, and assessing student learning. Score ranges include 1 or 2 (Emerging Performance), 3 or 4 (Proficient Performance), or 5 (Advanced Performance). Residents were rated on their ability to modify classroom instruction based on research evidence provided through their completion of a final edTPA in spring 2013.
A total of 10 (100%) of the Residents in Cohort 3 were observed to meet this standard and met proficiency levels in varied ways. Their average rubric scores ranged from a low of 2.70 (SD = 0.64) for Rubric 11 to a high of 3.33 (SD = 0.46) for Rubrics 2 and 3; the overall average across rubrics was 3.00 (SD = 0.22). In addition, residents indicated that they feel quite prepared to teach. A resident reported that doing the edTPA led to feeling more prepared to teach.
Results indicated that residents performed at a proficient performance on the edTPA. This evidence indicates that the teacher residency program prepares highly effective teachers in the use of technology and research-based instructional strategies in high-need schools. Like all ambitious endeavors, the potential exists for teacher residency programs to revolutionize teacher preparation and vastly improve student outcomes. Most importantly, students in the high-need schools will gain from the skill of new teachers who come to class on day one already experienced with proven approaches.