NLU’s Matsko Partners with U of Michigan, Stanford, U of Chicago Research explores optimizing effectiveness of student teaching

Schools invest a lot of time and energy in supporting teacher candidates during student teaching. They provide mentor teachers who prepare the student teachers to lead their own classrooms.  Though this practice is common, we know little about where student teachers get placed, which teachers serve as mentors, and what features of student teaching help the candidates feel prepared, as well as lead to teaching effectiveness in their first year as an in-service teacher.

National Louis University’s Kavita Kapadia Matsko, Ph.D., along with University of Michigan’s Matthew Ronfeldt, Ph.D., and a team of researchers from University of Michigan, Stanford, and UChicago Consortium have been working together since 2014 to better understand the conditions and consequences of student teaching across preparation pathways in Chicago Public Schools. For more information about their studies, see here.

Last week, the UChicago Consortium released a policy brief based on their shared work, “On the Path to Becoming a Teacher: The Landscape of Student Teaching in Chicago Public Schools.”

Some of their key findings, as summarized by UChicago Consortium, are below.

Key findings Teacher Preparation Programs may be interested in

  • Student teachers’ self-reports of their own level of preparation at the end of student teaching were not related to their performance in their first year of teaching.
  • Mentor teachers’ instructional support and guidance were mattered more than their own qualifications (years of experience or status as National Board Certification). What mattered most was mentor teachers’ modeling effective teaching practices, and coaching with constructive feedback in a safe learning environment.

Key findings Districts and Principals may be interested in

  • Student teachers were placed unevenly in schools across the district. Student teachers were less likely to be placed in low-performing schools and more likely to train in schools that served fewer low-income students.
  • Mentor teachers’ assessments of their student teachers’ instructional practices were good indicators of student teachers’ performance in their first year of teaching.

The policy brief includes more details on the findings above and also explores differences in common pathways into teaching in Chicago (traditional, alternative, and residency programs).

For a link to the report, click here.