TBR plans changes in teacher licensing, education curriculum

The Tennessee Board of Regents is currently in the middle of revamping the teacher education program. This means big changes for Tech’s education department.

Ready 2 Teach is a special program in the state that focuses on improving pre-K through 12 outcomes and engaging all six universities and 13 community colleges in the TBR system. One initiative is developing infrastructure on which to build teacher education programs. “One thing is for certain. The TBR is transforming the way teachers are licensed in the state,” Teacher Education Director Sandy Smith said.

In the past, student teachers would go out for one semester and student-teach. Part of the TBR initiative is that student teaching will become more like a residency. Instead of one semester, a student would spend an entire year student teaching. This change means that Tech’s procedures, requirements and curriculum need to be reviewed and possibly overhauled. The Teacher Education Committee is responsible for some of these changes.

“We are heavily involved with this, due to the changes with licensing teachers,” Smith said. “Every change they make requires that we make changes to the way we do things. Something is always changing.”

“The Teacher Education Committee has been busy working on adjustments in curriculum and procedures”, said Larry Peach, College of Education dean, “and we have two clinicians who are helping Sandra with the redesign.”

Ready 2 Teach is a three-year initiative but will not be effective until Fall 2011. The education department spends most of its time making sure that students are well informed about any changes.

“It’s important that our students are aware of what’s going on and don’t get stuck in the middle,” Peach said.

The student teaching residency will be split into two parts. Residency one will consist of problem-based learning cases, observation, and mentoring. Residency two will involve five days a week in the public school system.

Instead of learning in the classroom, students will be immersed in the classroom to learn vital skills and practices of teaching. The changes being made are many, but these changes will “keep us accountable and more responsive to the TBR needs,” according to Smith.

“We have dealt with changes for two years,” Smith said, “and will continue to do so.