The primary goal of this Tennessee Board of Regents Teacher Preparation Collaborative (TBRTP Collaborative) proposal is to improve the mathematics, science, and technology preparation of future teachers in Tennessee through statewide collaboration and systemic change.
Intellectual Merit: The seven community colleges and two universities composing the eastern border of Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system, have joined together to develop a common core of courses for teachers consisting of an introduction to teaching and technology course and standards-based mathematics and science courses. The common core will provide seamless transfer from community college to university and among institutions. Content faculty will become knowledgeable and have access to resources to infuse research-based pedagogy in their teaching. This project will bring together the intellectual capital of scientists, mathematicians, and educators from across the eastern TBR system to address a shared need. The project supports faculty members in developing research based content and pedagogy for the courses through summer faculty development institutes, communication via a collegial network, and travel to state and national conferences. Through the grant, each institution will develop a resource area to support student learning in the courses. Students will also receive encouragement through strengthened future teacher organizations and Praxis I Success Workshops. The teaching and technology course will include an early field experience to help students determine their level of commitment to the teaching profession. In-service teachers will be eligible to participate in sections of some of the courses developed for pre-service teachers to help them meet No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements. The development of this core of standards-based courses for teachers directly addresses the research evidence that suggests that content knowledge must be the central focus in the preparation of teachers.
The PI and one Co-PI have piloted collaboration between community college and university in projects funded by Phi Theta Kappa and the NSF/ATE Articulation Partnership. The success of their pilot in course development, strengthening of future teachers‘ organizations, and increasing the number of education majors convinced the other TBR institutions that this pilot should be the model for a statewide program.
Broader Impacts: This project directly addresses the need to prepare and retain a larger number of Tennessee teachers highly literate in mathematics, science, technology, and pedagogy. Every potential and current teacher in Tennessee is within 60 miles of a TBR institution. This project will affect every in-service and pre-service teacher that takes courses at a TBR institution. These potential teachers include rural students in many areas of Tennessee and African-American students in Knoxville and Chattanooga. The regional nature of the project encourages students from rural, urban, and suburban areas to enter well-designed programs with seamless pathways to graduation and licensure. Students will have early field experiences near their homes with the likelihood increased that they will return to the rural, urban, or suburban area from which they came. In an increasingly mobile society, students will be able to complete a program without loss of credit if they move from one institution to another. Community colleges are key players in recruiting potential teachers from rural and urban areas because it is cost effective and attractive to first-generation college students to begin their programs near home communities. This project will also modify the teaching strategies of faculty in science and mathematics who are dedicated to infuse those strategies into all their courses--not just those for prospective teachers. The statewide nature of this project will lead to dissemination of what has been learned to benefit other states seeking to implement systemic improvement of teacher preparation in math/science/technology.