Summer institute training
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Teach For America … has made teaching appealing to a generation of young people who have not traditionally chosen teaching as a career…. It also offers a bold and different vision of how to prepare teachers. Teach For America will significantly influence the direction teacher preparation takes in America in the years ahead. It is a historically important program.
- Arthur Levine, President, Teachers College Columbia University

Teach For America provides a strong network of training and support to ensure corps members are successful in effecting significant academic gains for their students. Corps members' training begins in earnest as soon as they accept Teach For America's offer.   They complete independent work during the spring and are trained during our rigorous summer institute. The goal of the institute is to ensure that each corps member enters the classroom equipped with the foundational knowledge, skills, and mindsets to be highly effective beginning teachers.

Pre-Institute Independent Work

Teach For America sends new corps members pre-training independent work assignments designed to help them prepare for their formal training at the summer institute. Corps members spend 25 to 30 hours reading, conducting focused observations in public school classrooms, and completing written exercises that draw on what they have read and observed.

The Summer Training Institute

Teach For America operates rigorous five-week summer training institutes in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia, all using the same curriculum and operated by a staff of veteran educators, current corps members, and alumni. At institute, corps members engage in a combination of interactive and practical coursework, teaching of summer school students, and structured reflection based on frequent feedback.

During the institute, corps members teach in a summer school program, receive feedback and guidance from a faculty of experienced educators, participate in numerous professional development activities, and attend instructional sessions using Teach For America’s research-based education coursework.

We measure our corps members’ effectiveness and progress over the course of institute in several ways. First, staff members assess corps members’ teaching skills on a weekly basis, using a detailed developmental rubric, which corresponds to the Teaching As Leadership framework. In addition, corps members undertake a series of exercises to demonstrate their understanding of key content. Finally, the academic achievement of corps members’ summer school students is measured using assessments that align with district standards. These evaluation structures, alongside extensive feedback from institute faculty, ensure that corps members know how they are progressing and where they need to improve, and that their students are achieving academic gains.

Institute Coursework

The summer institute coursework is designed around our theory of Teaching As Leadership, based on strategies used by some of the nation’s most successful teachers. It incorporates recent research in education and Teach For America’s 15 years of experience in preparing teachers to attain significant academic gains with students in under-resourced schools. At the core of this approach are six important strands of content:

  


Teaching As Leadership

Articulates Teach For America’s overall perspective on what it takes for teachers to successfully lead their students in achieving significant academic gains.

Instructional Planning and Delivery

  

Introduces corps members to a goal-oriented, purposeful planning method of instruction, as well as the essential skills of diagnosing and assessing students, lesson planning, and instructional delivery.

Classroom Management and Culture

   

Helps corps members develop an efficient and welcoming classroom environment and a culture of achievement that maximizes student learning.

Literacy Development

Helps corps members employ research-based methods of reading and writing instruction.

Diversity, Community and Achievement

  

Helps corps members explore and understand how issues of diversity impact their teaching effectiveness.

Learning Theory

Introduces and helps corps members apply basic principles of cognitive science to their instructional and classroom management choices.

Incoming corps members will receive texts related to each of these strands of content as part of their pre-institute materials. Corps members and alumni who are interested in viewing the texts online can do so at www.tfanet.org. If you are not a corps member or alumnus of Teach For America and are interesting in obtaining a hard or soft copy of our materials, please e-mail Shyla Batliwalla, Instructional Support Associateand tell us about your interest.

 

Post-Institute Review and Preparation

Before and/or after institute, new corps members congregate in their assigned regions to work with Teach For America staff, learn about the local communities in which they will teach, and become familiar with school district-specific policies, programs, and curricula. This time also allows them to meet current corps members and alumni who will become a part of their support network, interview for their actual teaching positions, and locate housing.

   
 
Regional Training and Support