MIT and Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning Announce New Plans for Teacher Certification

Posted By Eliana Osborn on July 1, 2015 at 10:49 am
MIT and Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning Announce New Plans for Teacher Certification

Typical teacher training programs (and, in fact, most academic programs) have every student progress along the same path, at the same time. However, a new teacher preparation program is shaking things up. A new institution, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Academy for Teaching and Learning, recently launched with the goal of rolling out a competency-based program, where students will be able to progress – and graduate – at their own rate. The Academy hopes to change the face of teacher training in America.

Funding for the Academy comes from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Simons Foundation, and the Amgen Foundation. Amgen will specifically focus on biology educators for secondary schools.

Arthur Levine, former president of the Teacher’s College at Columbia University, is heading up the project.  In comments to NPR, Levine emphasized the issue of the low quality of many of today’s teacher preparation programs.  As such, he believes the entire system should be replaced with innovations like the Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning.

The Academy is slated to open in June 2017 for graduate enrollment.  It will partner with the MIT PK12 initiative, which will fund education research.  “Hands-on, problem-focused, curiosity-driven learning is squarely at the heart of an MIT education, and it will be central to MIT’s work with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Together, we will combine MIT’s ‘mind and hand’ approach to learning with recent breakthroughs in cognitive science and digital learning to inform the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s efforts to develop and support excellent STEM teachers and school leaders,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif in a press release. “We are thrilled to begin this effort to reimagine the classroom experience.”

For now, the Academy will focus on teacher education, but future plans call for expansion into the area of K-12 leadership.  This step forward in revamping traditional teacher preparation methods will be part of the MIT Office of Digital Learning, already in place to revolutionize teaching around the world through technology.

Students interested in a career in education will have the chance to be part of a new wave of teacher training, using cutting-edge research and technology. Just 25 students will be enrolled for 2017, emphasizing the benefits of highly selective programs for those who want to teach.

Image source: Wikipedia

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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