Practice Brief 50 -- Topics: Assessment Implementation Instruction

How Can Preservice Teachers Orient to Students’ Ideas and Sensemaking practices?

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Why It Matters To You
  • Preservice Teachers often initially focus on how they are taking up their new roles as teachers and on their own actions (e.g., their decisions, how they facilitate whole class discussion, classroom management). Preservice Teachers need to study how and why their students learn.
  • Mentoring Teachers should help orient Preservice Teachers to student ideas. This is essential if K-12 classrooms are to be focused on leveraging, building on, and refining students’ everyday ways of thinking about phenomena and solving problems.

What Is The Issue?

When preservice teachers receive feedback as part of their experiences in teacher education programs (for example, from clinical supervisors or mentoring teachers) the focus of this feedback is often on their actions as new teachers or their enactments of instructional practices, such as their early attempts to lead whole class discussions. However, focusing on students’ ideas and sense-making practices is at the core of three-dimensional learning approach in the NRC Framework vision. This tool suggests strategies for orienting preservice teachers to students’ ideas as well as the ways in which students work ‘on’ and ‘with’ those ideas.



Reflection Questions

  • When beginning a unit or lesson, what ideas (e.g., partial understandings, nonstandard ideas, everyday experiences, and ways of talking) or challenges have come up with students? How can these be shared with your preservice teacher?
  • What strategies have you used and found to be effective for eliciting your students’ ideas? How can you support the preservice teacher in trying out these strategies?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

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