March 2, 2020

10 Things All Teachers Should Learn in Teacher Prep

By Krista Kaput

Too often, teachers leave their teacher training programs feeling unprepared for the realities of the classroom. In a recent survey, 88% of teachers indicated that their training fell short in preparing them to be effective in the classroom. While there aren’t any easy fixes that will make all teachers ready on day one, there are some policy levers that can help. 

Minnesota is currently working to update our state Standards of Effective Practice, which define the common set of knowledge and skills all teacher candidates must learn in their preparation programs. We now have the opportunity to rethink what’s most critical in teacher prep, particularly as our teachers are serving an increasingly diverse student body. 

What’s going well in teacher prep and what needs to change?

To answer this, we surveyed and spoke with more than 50 Minnesota educators (all of whom completed teacher prep), reviewed national research, and explored best practices in other states. From that, we identified 10 key areas, in no particular order, all teacher candidates should learn in teacher preparation

  1. Reading Science
  2. Family Engagement
  3. Data and Assessment Literacy
  4. Differentiation and Technology Integration 
  5. Social-Emotional Learning
  6. Classroom Management and Restorative Practices
  7. Teaching English Learners
  8. Teaching Students with Special Needs
  9. Addressing Implicit Biases
  10. Culturally Responsive Instruction 

Our new brief describes and provides evidence for why PELSB should incorporate these 10 areas into the Standards of Effective Practice. By doing so, Minnesota can take an important step toward ensuring future teachers bring the skills and competencies most critical to student success. 

Get Involved with the SEPs!

Over the next several months, a committee of Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board members will be considering how to change and improve the Standards for Effective Practice. The process is, frankly, wonky and opaque. But the bottom line is this: educators, parents, and students all have a big stake in what’s taught in teacher prep, and now is the time to provide input. We hope you’ll do so, and here are a few ways to get involved: 

  • Inform EdAllies’ SEP advocacy. If you’re an educator passionate about improving teacher preparation, join us on May 14 from 5:00-6:30 PM to talk more about the what and how of strengthening our state Standards of Effective Practice. Click here to RSVP.
  • Whether you want to review and comment on the standards line by line, or share big-picture questions and feedback, your voice can make a difference in what’s discussed and what’s prioritized. Submit formal comments here
  • Attend the meetings. The PELSB committee tasked with this work will convene regularly for the next few months, and being present is a great way to keep tabs on what is (and isn’t) being discussed. You can find meeting dates and times here.