Teaching Experience in Higher Education

 
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Teaching Philosophy

 

As a teacher educator, I see my role as facilitating learning by developing dispositions. By helping my students to have an inquiry-oriented stance, I can equip them to be prepared to solve problems and situations they encounter. Moreover, I subscribe to the idea that learning is socially constructed and it occurs through experiencing cognitive dissonance and engaging in reflection. This kind of learning is often emotionally charged but transformational in nature, resulting in dispositional alterations, but it can often be delayed. Meaning, these kinds of changes are not necessarily instantaneous or epochal, as Mezirow (2000) calls them; they can also be incremental, happening in small, progressive alterations that ultimately result in the transformation, which means that learning could occur outside the time limitations of a semester.

I believe that much professional learning is contextual and as a result, I believe in situated learning and job-embedded professional development. For that reason, I strive to place clinical practice and differentiated professional learning at the core of my teaching. This also means that I frequently make adjustments to the course based upon the needs of my students. All courses have strands of building community, understanding professionalism, learning and conducting teacher inquiry, teacher empowerment, and equity literacy.


To see course descriptions, syllabi, instructional materials, and other evidence, please click on each course.

 
 

 

Courses Taught at USF Overview

Classroom Management (EDE 4301), Undergraduate

Level 1 Field Experience (EDE 4941), Undergraduate

Level 2 Field Experience (EDE 4942), Undergraduate

Level 3 Field Experience (EDE 4944), Undergraduate

Final Internship (EDE 4940), Undergraduate

Teacher Leadership Certificate

Supervised Teaching II (EDH 7326), Graduate (Doctoral)

Independent Study (EDG 7931), Graduate (Doctoral)

 

 

Contextual Information Specific to Undergraduate Courses

As of midtenure (Spring 2015), out of a possible twelve courses taught on a 2:2 load over a two-and-a-half-year period, I have taught ten different courses. All of my courses, with the exceptions of EDH 7326 Supervised Teaching II and EDG 7931 (only Fall 2014), have been taught in the Urban Teacher Residency Partnership Program (UTRPP).

UTRPP is a two-year (five semester) urban residency program designed to prepare teachers to teach in urban contexts, provide professional development for teachers, foster teacher leadership in urban schools, and foster inquiry as a signature pedagogy for the improvement of practice. What separates these kinds of robust clinically-rich teacher education programs from traditional teacher preparation programs is a closer connection between theory and practice, greater school-university collaboration, an attention to co-teaching and inquiry as signature pedagogies, increased time in classrooms, differentiated and developmentally appropriate field support – known as supervision, and a collective focus on PK-12 student learning. Inquiry is the systematic study of one’s own practice (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009; Dana & Yendol-Hoppey, 2014).

UTRPP is considered a space for innovation where ideas can be generated and tested with a small subset of the larger elementary program and then “scaled up” if desired. One example of an innovation that began in UTRPP and is now used across the elementary program is preservice teachers’ use of web sites and blogging (Website Initiative can be found at http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departments/ce/elementary_education/TRwebsite.php). Each elementary preservice teacher creates a professional web space with a blogging feature in his/her junior year. As part of the field experiences, our preservice teachers complete a reflective entry on their blogs that help them problematize and make sense of their experiences in the field. Supervisors, methods course instructors, and other preservice teachers are invited to comment on their blogs. Over time, these entries create an electronic portfolio of the preservice teacher’s journey from college student to professional. These entries are used as evidence for the preservice teachers’ evaluation conferences with their supervisors and collaborating teachers. I spearheaded this idea with the UTRPP Class of 2014 (http://lisaadkin6.wix.com/classof2014) when they began with me in Fall of 2012. After a year, three residents presented their web sites to the elementary supervisors under my advisement, and now it is an innovation used across the elementary program. Additional examples can be found for the UTRPP Class of 2015 at http://lisaadkin6.wix.com/classof2015.

UTRPP is partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) and has residents located in six urban schools near USF. The schools range in size from approximately 250 students to 1200 students. There are two cohorts of 25-35 residents per cohort operating at any one time, totaling between 50-60 residents in the program. All residents are contracted 7:30 – 3:30, just like HCPS teachers. In their first year as juniors, residents are in schools five days per week about half a day each day equating to 20-25 hours per week. The other half of their time, they are in university coursework. In their final year as seniors, they spend four to five full days per week in the classroom with a half-day of coursework equating to 30+ hours of clinical experience. Upon graduation, residents have almost 2000 hours of clinical preparation.

 
 

This extensive amount of time in classrooms coupled with the urban context and budding relationships with the schools in UTRPP required an immense amount of attention and support from the Partnership Resource Teachers (PRTs) and myself. PRTs are a unique and critical boundary-spanning role where HCPS teachers are temporarily reassigned to the position of university supervisor for a temporary period of 1-3 years. HCPS and USF share the fiscal responsibility for this role, which is another indicator of the partnership with HCPS. These kinds of boundary-spanning roles are true job-embedded professional development designed to build leadership capacity for HCPS and to provide critical contextual and practitioner knowledge to USF students. My research has shown that the reassigned teacher role, such as the PRT role, is highly transformative in nature but wrought with emotional challenges (Burns, 2010; 2011). Thus, these kinds of novice teacher educator supervisors need support in order to support preservice teachers in clinical contexts. For those reasons, my role in UTRPP was conceptualized not only to support the growth and development of the preservice teachers, but also to support the professional learning of the PRTs and the growth and development of the urban partnership in collaboration with Dr. Danielle Dennis, UTRPP Director. The PRTs are integral in supporting the residents in the field and scaffolding their learning from college student to professional.

Residents begin well before their undergraduate peers at USF by participating in a collaborative professional development day for residents and collaborating teachers, known as the summer workshop, the first week of August. Collaborating teachers (CTs) are HCPS teachers who agree to mentor a resident in the program. CTs must meet HCPS standards of highly qualified teaching and must take clinical education training.  Because residents are treated like first year teachers, if the school in which they are assigned provides professional development the remainder of that first week in August, residents attend their school’s professional development. They also attend all preplanning activities, which means that they come back to campus three weeks prior to their peers at USF. The welcoming of the residents as members of the school staff is a true testament to the commitment that HCPS and USF have to the partnership. This also means that all of the UTRPP faculty are also needed to support the residents during this time. Throughout the spring and summer, UTRPP faculty work in collaboration with UTRPP principals and other school administrators to collaboratively plan this professional development.

All of this contextual information is important because it paints the landscape of my research, teaching, and service here at USF. When I came to USF in the Fall of 2012, UTRPP was expanding from three schools to six schools. Because of my background, experience, and scholarship in school-university partnerships, my teaching was assigned to support this transition of building relationships with the new schools. My work has primarily been with three of the four largest elementary schools, but I also work with UTRPP’s PRTs, who are typically assigned to two schools each. Being a scholar of supervision, teacher education, and school-university partnerships, UTRPP is an ideal context not only to enact my pedagogy of teacher education but also to pursue my research interests. It affords me the opportunity to truly integrate my teaching, research, and service.

Undergraduate Courses Taught: In total, I have taught eight undergraduate courses. Of those courses, I taught three of them more than once.

 

 

Contextual Information Specific to Graduate Courses

Like many teacher educators, I began my pathway to academia as an elementary educator, teaching sixth grade in a rural/suburban school district in Pennsylvania. While I thoroughly enjoyed teaching during those five years of teaching, the constraints placed on my colleagues and myself became increasingly frustrating. I saw academia as an opportunity to work with schools to evoke change by empowering teachers. As a teacher educator, I hope to advocate for practices that showcased and developed teachers’ talents and capabilities rather than oppress them. Differentiated, meaningful, and job-embedded professional development is a mechanism for empowerment.

My first year at USF was spent just building relationships with the principals of the three new schools, who had varying experiences and understandings of school-universities partnerships. By the second year, our relationships started blossoming. The principal at Mort Elementary School was frustrated by the lack of differentiation of professional development for his teachers. My knowledge of supervision and successful experiences of differentiated professional development with a school in Pennsylvania connected well with his vision of differentiated professional development. Together, he and I formed the Mort Teacher Leader Academy. He has entrusted twenty-seven of his teachers (many of whom are UTRPP’s collaborating teachers), instructional coaches, and resource teachers into my care. For their professional development, they enroll in a two-year, four course sequence, of teacher leadership courses that are aligned to the National Teacher Leadership Standards (www.teacherleaderstandards.org). At the end of the second year, the teachers receive USF College of Education’s Teacher Leadership Certificate. Spring 2015 will mark the graduation of this first class of Mort’s teacher leaders.

The four courses include: (1) Teacher Leadership for Student Learning (6076), (2) Teacher Research for Student Learning (EDE 6486)/Teacher Research Methods (RED 6748), (3) Coaching for Student Learning (EDE 6556), and (4) Professional Development for Student Learning (6366). All courses are taught onsite at Mort Elementary School and are tailored to meet aspects of Mort Elementary School’s School Improvement Plan. In Fall 2014, the Florida Department of Education labeled Mort Elementary as an “F” school, which brings with it many challenges. This means that the courses cannot be taught as they traditionally would be taught on campus. The syllabi are constantly negotiated among the principal, the teachers, and myself in order to ensure that the teachers are not only learning the knowledge they need but also the skills to enact their aspirations of teacher leadership. In many ways, the Mort Teacher Leader Academy could be considered a clinically-centered model of teacher leader preparation. Clinically-centered models of teacher education place the school community, including the pK-12 students and their classrooms as the center for teacher learning. In this model, the PreK-12 classroom actually becomes the university classroom (Dennis, et al, in press), which is exactly what is occurring with the Mort Teacher Leader Academy. The issues and tensions of teaching and leading in a failing urban school become the fodder for understanding conceptual underpinnings of teacher leadership.

 
 

The “course” begins with three full day professional development days the first week in August. The teachers are paid to attend through grant funding. In addition, the school also purchases their books, so there is no additional expense to the teachers. Throughout the school year, the course is taught on either Monday or Tuesday afternoons for an hour and a half each time. The date and time are dependent upon the school’s academic calendar, thus the principal and I negotiate the calendar in the summer and revise, if needed, throughout the year. This also means that the course extends beyond the end of the fall semester through December and beyond the end of the spring semester through May to be more appropriately aligned with Mort’s academic year and the issues and challenges facing the teachers.

These kinds of negotiation require an immense amount of communication and collaboration. Initially, each class was collaboratively planned with the principal. Once trust was established, Mort’s Teacher Leader assumed planning responsibilities with me and we share the plans with the principal. He joins us as often as his schedule permits. Working collaboratively to co-plan and now co-teach with Mort’s Teacher Leader Academy is imperative for the sustainability and the renewal of this program. I do not want this initiative to be a “one shot wonder,” so that means that I have intentionally involved Mort’s Teacher Leader in the processes and I have worked hard to build a community of practice so that structures and rituals are in place for teacher leadership to blossom at Mort Elementary.

Co-planning and co-teaching, although extremely beneficial, does add an additional layer of complexity. It requires me to meet on site at Mort at a time convenient for Mort’s principal and teacher leader, and it also requires me to negotiate the weekly class plans. However, these elements provide a rich and robust learning experience for me to mentor the teacher leader regarding teacher leadership while simultaneously having her mentor me regarding the contextual intricacies that exist when teaching in a clinically-centered program at an urban school in a school-university partnership.

The Mort Teacher Leader Academy has benefits for both HCPS and USF. First, HCPS receives the benefit of a professor-in-residence who works closely with the principal to create meaningful, job-embedded professional development for their employees. USF benefits in that the program has generated 324 graduate student credit hours for USF over the two-year period and over $50,000 in tuition in addition to tuition reimbursement credits. The program has been so successful that teacher leadership has become a tenet of UTRPP’s goals and missions, and it appears that HCPS is interested in not only continuing this partnership but perhaps considering mechanisms to “scale up” this innovation.

This background information is included because it is integral in understanding the successes and challenges associated with teaching in a clinically-centered model of teacher education. For instance, you will note that my course evaluations, if included, were done by hand. The Mort Teachers were selected for this program, which brings with it additional challenges when leading professional development. Many of them were unfamiliar with USF’s systems including enrolling for coursework, enrolling in the certificate, navigating Canvas, and completing course evaluations, so all of these processes required additional support. In fact, teaching onsite at Mort also inhibited Internet access for the teachers at times and for me quite frequently. The high rate of theft at Mort means that technology, including laptop computers, is completely secured, so teaching with technology was and continues to be, nearly impossible. This means that everything is done by hand – grading, assignment submissions, feedback on tasks and assignments, attendance, and course evaluations.

Further compounding this issue was the transition from paper and pencil evaluations to technology evaluations in the Fall of 2013 at USF. The Mort teachers either did not receive the email from USF or they deleted it not realizing what it was or the importance of it. Unfortunately, I did not realize the issue either until it was too late to have the course evaluations completed by hand. That semester, I did ask for qualitative feedback, which was then given anonymously to a staff assistant in the former Department of Childhood Education and Literacy Studies to type up for me, but I do not have quantifiable data from that semester. Despite these complications, I feel that my teaching at Mort Elementary School has great meaning. I am able to see and truly live the issues and tensions facing teachers in our local school district, and although complicated and sometimes emotionally exhausting, I strive to make the coursework relevant, practical, and integrated. Mort has welcomed me as one of their staff members, and I am truly appreciative of and humbled by the principal’s actions in entrusting the professional learning of a third of his teaching staff. Through the Mort Teacher Leader Academy I am truly able to enact my agenda of empowering teachers.

Graduate Courses Taught: I have taught a total of eight graduate level courses. Five of the eight were Masters level courses and the other three were doctoral level courses. One of the Masters courses, RED 6748, I taught twice but in two different contexts – one time face-to-face and highly contextual at Mort Elementary and the other time online to a variety of Masters students.

In February 2015, I submitted my materials for mid-tenure. You can see the entire application (if you have access) or parts of the application, like my teaching overviewteaching goals, and teaching accomplishments.

 

 

Previous Teaching Experience at Penn State University

C I 498A: Classroom-based Instruction That Works, Summer 2010, Penn State University, State College, PA

  • Co-Instructor and Co-designer with Dr. Kris Dewitt
  • Course Overview
    • This 3-credit course is designed for K-12 educators interested in learning more about which teaching strategies have positive effects on student learning.These strategies are not new, but when teachers use these strategies effectively with their students, the outcome is a measurable difference in student achievement. The following strategies can be used by any teacher at any time, using either traditional teaching tools or using technology.
  • Referenced Literature
    • Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement.
  • CI 498B 2010 Syllabus.doc
  • Course Wiki

 

C I 498C: Video Analysis of Teaching, Summer 2009, Penn State University, State College, PA

  • Primary Instructor; Syllabus Co-designer under Dr. Carla Zembal-Saul
  • Course Overview:
    • This course is designed for K-8 teachers and administrators as well as faculty supervisors interested in using video analysis as a tool for investigating various problems of the practice. Participants will look at a variety of approaches for understanding how video can be used as a performance artifact. Participants will examine various technologies, such as Studiocode software, to deepen reflective practices and examine the intricacies of teaching. Potential uses include but are not limited to mentoring practices, teacher decision-making, peer coaching, and supervision. Participants will develop an action plan to be implemented during the 2009-2010 academicyear.
  • Referenced Literature:
    • Bransford, J., Derry, S., Berliner, D., & Hammerness, K. (2005). Theories of learning and their roles in teaching. In L. Darling-Hammond & J. Bransford, (Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do, pp. 40 - 87. San Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons.
    • Brophy, J. (2004). Introduction. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Using video in teacher education (pp. ix - xxiv). New York: Elsevier.
    • Conderman, G., & Morin, J. (2004). Reflect upon your practice. Intervention in School & Clinic, 40(2), pp. 111-115.
    • Eilam, B., & Poyas, Y. (2009). Learning to teach: Enhancing pre-service teachers' awareness of the complexity of teaching-learning processes. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(1), pp. 87-107.
    • Hammerness, K., Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (2005). How teachers learn and develop. In L. Darling-Hammond & J. Bransford, (Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons.
    • Hatch, T., & Grossman, P. (2009). Learning to look beyond the boundaries of representation: Using technology to examine teaching (Overview for a digital exhibition: Learning from the practice of teaching). Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), pp. 70-85.
    • Nolan, J., & Hoover, L. (2005). Teacher supervision and evaluation: Theory into practice. New Jersey: Wiley & Sons.
      Rich, P.J., & Hannafin, M. (2009). Video annotation tools: Technologies to scaffold, structure, and transform teacher reflection. Journal of Teacher Education, 60 (1), pp. 52-67.
    • Sherin, M. G. (2004). New perspectives on the role of video in teacher education. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Using video in teacher education (pp. 1 - 28). New York: Elsevier.
    • Sherin, M.G., & van Es, E.A. (2009). Effects of video club participation on teachers' professional vision. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), pp. 20-37.
    • Tomlinson, P. (1999). Conscious reflection and implicit learning in teacher preparation. Part II: implications for a balanced approach. Oxford Review of Education,  25(4), pp. 532-544.
    • van Es, E.A. (2009). Participants' roles in the context of a video club. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 18(1), pp. 100-137.

 

SCIED 458: Teaching Elementary School Science, Fall 2009, Penn State University, State College, PA

  • Primary Instructor; Syllabus Contributor
  • Course Overview
    • The goal of SCIED 458 is to assist undergraduate teacher candidates in developing teaching approaches to supporting children's meaningful science learning and scientific inquiry that are consistent with reform- oriented science teaching. The following learning outcomes have framed our selection of class activities and assignments.
  • Referenced Literature and Professional Organizations
    • National Research Council (2008). Ready, Set, Science. National Academy Press.
    • Norton-Meier, L., Hand, B., Hockenberry, L. & Wise, K. (2008). Questions, claims and evidence: The important place of argument in children's science writing.
      Heinemann.
    • National Research Council (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards. National Academy Press.
    • National Science Teachers Association
  • Course Syllabus
    458pds08syllabus.vf.pdf
  • Course Wiki
  • Intra-departmental Wiki

 

EDLDR 405: Strategies for Classroom Management (also called Classroom Learning Environments), Fall 2009/Fall 2007, Penn State University, State College, PA

  • Co-Instructor; Syllabus Contributor
  • Course Overview
    • This course has been designed for interns in the Professional Development Schools Program, an initiative between Penn State University and the State College Area School District. Interns will examine in-depth the processes of creating and sustaining a classroom learning community that fosters and enables success for all children.
  • Referenced Literature
  • Course Syllabus

 

CI 495B: Clinical Application of Instruction in Elementary Education

  • Co-Instructor; Syllabus Contributor
  • Course Overview
    • This course is the pre-student teaching field experience for all elementary education majors. However, this course has been tailored to meet the needs of the interns in the Professional Development Schools Program, a collaborative partnership between the Pennsylvania State University and the State College Area School District.

Culmination

  • Each fall semester, we gather all ~60 interns together for a final class to provide closure. We ask each intern to bring a journal that responds to the following five questions:
    • What are some of the most important things you have learned this semester about yourself as a teacher?
    • What are some of the most important things you have learned this semester about technology as a tool to enhance learning?
    • What are some of the most important things you have learned this semester about teaching?
    • What are some of the most important things you have learned this semester about schools?
    • What are some of the most important things you have learned this semester about children?
  • We then have the interns use an adapted text_rendering.pdf from the National School Reform Faculty. The interns then share their group's product. Below are videos of each group's performance.

Fall 2009

 

Contact Me

For further discussion about my research and scholarship, feel free to contact me.