In the News: An Unconventional Teacher-Prep Program on the Rise in Philly

In Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission recently approved a $150,000 contract with the Relay Graduate School of Education, a new kind of teacher training program, to train 20 teachers to work in the district.

As Kristin Graham writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Relay has positioned itself as a disrupter. It has no buildings and few Ph.D.-level faculty. It de-emphasizes theory and academic research. It was founded by three charter-school networks in 2011 and is unaffiliated with any college or university…

“What sets us apart from other schools is there’s a focus on practice,” said Shemanne Davis, Relay Philadelphia & Camden’s founding dean. “The ‘why’ is important, but what moves teachers is the ‘how’ – ‘how do I do this and put it in practical terms?’ ”

Graham’s article includes quotes from professors at traditional ed schools who are critical of the idea of training teachers to focus on practical challenges of teaching rather than being able to grow over time by drawing on theories to reflect on how to teach.

Daniel Katz, an education professor at Seton Hall, tells Graham

We need to do better, but the model for doing better is going to be one that focuses on teachers being contemplative and reflective when they have space to grow over time.

A feature story by June Kronholz in the Fall 2012 issue of Education Next looked at the Relay Graduate School of Education in its early years. (“A New Type of Ed School: Linking candidate success to student success“)

— Education Next




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