Analysis of a Teaching School Model for Improving STEM Undergraduate Teacher Education

Bridget Maher
Research and Evaluation Coordinator - Research Investigator
University of Michigan

Providing equitable and rigorous STEM learning opportunities for all students requires an extremely high level of professional skill and judgment from teachers. This demand for rich STEM teaching is occurring at the same time that teachers, teaching, and teacher education have come under intense scrutiny, thus providing a moment of opportunity for dramatic re-envisioning of the practice of educating the next generation of STEM teachers. In this poster presentation, we offer findings from two and a half years of our Institutional Transformation endeavor, which puts a new vision of STEM teacher education into practice and studies that practice; we call it the Teaching School. The Teaching School is an embedded teacher education environment within a cradle-to-career campus, called the Detroit P-20, established in collaboration with Detroit Public Schools Community District, the University School of Education, Kresge Foundation, and Starfish Family Services. The Teaching School, led by expert attending teachers and teacher educators, takes a dual focus on the deep learning of high school students in STEM, as well as the professional learning of novice teachers who wish to serve in urban centers as future teachers. This effort has focused on innovating at the level of STEM major courses, STEM teacher education, and urban STEM teaching and learning and toward aligning these efforts. As a way to improve the pathway to teaching, we have partnered with our colleagues in the undergraduate Literature, Sciences and the Arts College’s natural and physical sciences and mathematics to investigate how STEM majors are learning within their core coursework and adjacent teaching and learning experiences (e.g., math lab, science learning labs, tutoring, study groups). We investigated how undergraduate STEM experiences informed how future teachers (participating at the Teaching School) thought about teaching and learning in their domains. In preliminary findings, we have documented how inquiry-based experiences in STEM coursework that positioned undergraduates as agentic within the disciplines had a powerful influence on how these future teachers considered their own classrooms and student learning experiences. Within the Teaching School, we have documented preliminary findings about (a) the experiences of STEM majors as preservice interns, student teachers, and residents as they engage in a continuous, extended and supported training and induction in a shared urban school setting; (b) the ways intergenerational teams support STEM preservice teachers, residents, and attending teachers to engage in rich STEM inquiry, literacy, and language learning opportunities with their students; and (c) the affordances and constraints of a place-based, embedded, extended clinical practice within this research-practice partnership endeavor. This design and research seeks to refine the model in practice and offer a proof of concept for the multi-institutional transformation project. Our preliminary findings contribute to the development of a translatable model about how undergraduate STEM preservice teachers may be supported to learn to provide rigorous STEM teaching for diverse, underserved, and historically underrepresented students through highly engineered systems of professional preparation.


Elizabeth Moje, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Tim McKay, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor