Teaching Fellows Meet Face-to-Face to Share Learnings

Moorestown, N.J., Nov. 7, 2013 – The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) today announced the conclusion of four meetings held between late September and early November. Organized and led by KSTF Senior Program Officers Jennifer MossgroveJeffrey Rozelle and Jeanne Vissa, the fall meetings represent one of the two times each year when Teaching Fellows meet by selection year, or cohort.

The professional development activities that took place during the two-day meetings provided Teaching Fellows with an opportunity to grow within one of three areas: content knowledge for teaching (applicable for Teaching Fellows in the first two years of the fellowship), exemplary teaching practices (applicable for third and fourth year fellows) and teacher leadership qualities (applicable for fifth year fellows).

The 2012 and 2013 cohorts met in Indianapolis, Ind., from Sept. 27–28. During this year’s fall meeting, the Teaching Fellows engaged in activities designed to help them consider how the content knowledge needed for teaching is specialized knowledge, and how they can draw on this knowledge to create opportunities for students to engage in tasks that are focused on developing conceptual understanding. They also engaged in collaborative inquiry into their own practice with other STEM teachers and grew in their ability to use curriculum resources to support student learning.

The 2010 cohort met in San Francisco, Calif., from Oct. 25–26 to discuss models of instruction that draw upon the diversity of student strengths in a classroom. Laura Evans, an expert in differentiation and complex instruction, advised the group on how to design lessons that use these principles to better address the needs of their students.

From Nov. 1–2, the 2011 cohort worked with University of Colorado at Boulder professor Dr. Erin Furtak in Denver, Colo. The group considered the myriad ways data can be generated and used, and explored how to use data to inform their instruction and enhance student learning. Additionally, they developed plans for generating more data this school year, including how they will use it to inform their teaching and provide information about students’ thinking.

The 2009 cohort also met in Denver, Colo., during the first weekend in November. The 2009 Teaching Fellows studied and discussed the characteristics of effective teacher learning communities. They considered ways to strengthen their professional relationships and the collaborative work they undertake with colleagues. Additionally, they received feedback from other cohort members about next steps they might take with their inquiries into their own classroom teaching.

“Designed to introduce new perspectives on both teaching and learning, the KSTF fall meetings play an integral role in the development of our Teaching Fellows,” stated Nicole Gillespie, KSTF Executive Director. “Just as important, they provide a venue for our fellows to engage in frank discussions regarding challenges they face in the classroom and potential solutions.”

The cohorts will meet again in spring 2014 to continue to develop their skills, as they relate to the practice of teaching. Between these meetings, fellows participate in ongoing dialogue with one another, as well as their respective Teacher Developers and Senior Program Officers, via electronic means of communication.