2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Connecting theory to practice through a revised teacher certification course project

Antony T. Smith - UW Bothell, Education Program

Three years ago we moved our post-baccalaureate teacher certification literacy course from campus into an elementary school, enabling us to develop a course model featuring an in-class practicum where students work with children during each course session. We hoped the practicum would help our students transform course concepts into practical knowledge and understand the importance of knowing children as individuals in order to develop instruction. While students seemed to appreciate the practicum, it became clear that one project was not aligned with the new course model. This project, aimed at understanding the developing reading abilities of children, featured a diagnostic reading assessment that took considerable time to administer. Administration directions dominated course sessions, and practicum time became focused on giving the assessment rather than understanding the individual child. This year we reworked the project by replacing the diagnostic reading assessment with a series of less formal measures that we hoped would be more aligned with the new course model, allowing us to focus our teaching on connecting theory to practice rather than administering assessment protocols.

We used qualitative methods to examine the effect of the reworked assessment project, as part of the new course model, on student understanding of reading development and assessment. We also looked for connections students were making between course concepts and assessment project work with children, utilizing student project papers and online journal entries as data sources. A surprising result was a significant focus on child-oriented aspects of reading development, such as ownership and motivation to read. Student analysis of reading development appeared supported by evidence collected in practicum sessions. Insufficient organization of logistics appears to be an initial drawback of the reworked project. These findings suggest we are making progress in aligning the assessment project with the new course model.




Index of Symposium Presenters