*How do you use The Framework for Teaching in your university setting?*
Louisiana Tech University’s (LA Tech) teacher preparation program adopted the FFT in the spring of 2015 after researching leading national clinical models for teacher assessments and attending multiple trainings and conferences. The FFT was aligned with our clinical residency TEAM (Teacher Educators and Mentors) Model as well as our state teacher evaluation system.
In phase one, faculty adopted a new clinical evaluation system aligned with the Danielson components using the same FTT rating scale to help our candidates see their professional growth. All components of our coaching process are aligned to the four domains and components. In phase two, we began training our mentor teachers and school leaders and collaboratively engaged in conversations about building strong data collection instruments for use by the entire TEAM. In phase three, more than 400 mentors, school leaders, and faculty were TEAM Model trained, and the FFT was a strong foundation to our curriculum framework. In phase four, faculty selected key courses where Danielson domains are embedded and coaching protocols are established. During our transition, we are seeing a stronger knowledge base and understanding of what effective planning, teaching, management, and professionalism should look like from our clinical residents.
*What outcomes has The Framework helped to support?*
We are producing stronger graduates of our teaching program, and the FFT is one key part of our model. In addition, the integration of the St. Cloud State University Co-Teaching Model, SWIVL, and adaptations from The University of Alabama Clinical Master Teaching Model have provided a strong research foundation. We are pleased that our graduates are sought after across the Southern region; the success stories from school leaders regarding recent Louisiana Tech alumni is something we share often with our team.
Common language in education is so difficult, but we have made the FFT our alignment across all programs and organically resolved this challenge. While lesson plan templates may vary slightly by program, our faculty’s common FFT language has been noted as a strength by our teacher candidates in mastering planning and preparation. As they move throughout their coursework and experiences, references are made to the domains and components.
In clinical experiences, critical attributes and possible examples are very helpful in providing consistency and increasing the high quality of our professional feedback. Likewise, we have researched the multiple benefits of video reflection and partnered with SWIVL who provided a unique tagging system for LA Tech. Our candidates are able to reflect on their own video-recorded lessons and tag where they “see” evidence of the components from Domains 2 and 3. This evidence-based process of self-reflection, allowed our candidates to see where they need to grow the most, and our systematic collection of evidence has allowed key points for evidence of learning. We have also used this tagging system for great dialogue journals providing high-quality feedback from multiple TEAM members.
Over the past five years, we have sent multiple faculty members to Danielson trainings and conferences to stay abreast of new research-based trends and enjoy every opportunity to hear Charlotte Danielson speak. We have also continued to simplify the process of our paperless data collection system while also increasing the times we collect data to measure candidate growth. The FFT is used in both our undergraduate and graduate initial certification programs, and ALL programs are completely aligned using all evaluation tools and protocols. Our TEAM approach to coaching and evaluation has provided a reliable evaluation system, and the FFT has provided strong validity. These components are essential for nationally accredited colleges and universities.
We continue to pursue new opportunities to grow professionally. We gained much information from the 2019 Talk About Teaching Conference and are already integrating Danielson’s work with the Clusters into our clinical residency professional development series. Bottom line, the best literature is timeless because it relates to the reader at any age or time period. That is such an important aspect of the FFT. Tools to be your best are found throughout the FFT with strong examples to scaffold your learning, and the language in 2020 is still aligned with best teaching practices. It’s just good teaching!
*Is there a particular aspect of the Framework and its themes or a statement by Charlotte Danielson that really got teachers talking and changed their approach to engaging students? *
Recently hearing about the Clusters from Danielson helped justify our own need to rearrange the FFT. We begin with Domain 4 – Professionalism from day 1 in our preparation program. It’s the most collected domain across all years of our program. It was so nice to see it spotlighted in The Clusters with equal importance. We believe that strong preparation is the foundation of strong teaching, and that is clearly aligned in the FFT. We will continue to develop new ways to integrate the FFT into our model bringing prestige to our profession.
Danielson said, “Reinforcing the notion that a primary purpose of school is for students to develop conceptual understanding of complex material, the teacher conveys that it is not sufficient for students to be able to go through the motions, to follow a procedure without understanding why. No—they must develop conceptual understanding; it must build from one idea to another, and students should be able to explain to the teacher, or to another student, why something is the way it is.”
Our integration of the FFT over time has provided that rich conceptual understanding. Our meaningful learning experiences build to a deeper dive into the framework allowing new teachers to use the FFT as a guide to greatness. More information on the LA Tech TEAM Model can be found at latechcrrc.org.