Kids corner

Vanessa Chavez, a senior bilingual education major from Tyler, helps Rosandra Villalobos during class Thursday at Bean Elementary. Chavez student teaches Villalobos' first grade bilingual class as part of a new program from the College of Education called Tech Teach.

Tech Teach is the College of Education’s new teacher education program.

The program is run in two phases.

“In the early portion of the program, (the teaching candidates) are working in a classroom one full day each week,” Doug Hamman, director of teacher education, said. “In the later phases, they are in a full year of student teaching.”

Tech Teach, he said, began in Summer 2011 and the first pilot group was formed Fall 2011.

Vanessa Chavez, a senior bilingual education major from Tyler and a part of the Tech Teach program, said previous teaching candidates had their student teaching split up, with students teaching in the spring and having to continue their student teaching with a new group of kids in the fall as they finished their student teaching.

“We are the first group to go from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year,” she said.

The program was brought to the Tech campus by the dean of the College of Education, Scott Ridley, a former faculty member at Arizona State University, Hamman said.

Students are given a kit called Teachscape, which includes an iPod with a tripod and microphone so teaching candidates can record their lessons and later go back and evaluate their teaching performance.

Some of the criteria the students are evaluated on are standards, classroom management, lesson plans, activities and materials and academic feedback, said Chavez.

“The benefit is they are able to watch the video and evaluate their instructional competency using a rubric the evaluators use,” Hamman said.

Another benefit of the Teachscape kit, he said, is that faculty members who have not been able to see the teacher candidates teach can see the videos and evaluate effectiveness of coursework.  

Being able to see the lessons, Chavez said, was easier to critique than if she had to remember her lesson by memory.

Hamman said the program that Ridley brought to Tech has improved by collecting data about the teacher candidate impact and student achievement in schools and instructional performance of teacher candidates in the classroom.

Jennifer Offutt, an undergraduate recruiter for the College of Education, said Tech Teach is a great recruitment tool to help with the university goal of 40,000 students by 2020.

“Ultimately, this program is going to bring an amazing reputation about our college,” Offutt said.

The teaching candidates are randomly assigned to classrooms, but are asked if they have any preferences on what they would like to teach, Chavez said.

Currently, teacher candidates are going to elementary, middle and secondary schools in the Lubbock Independent School District, Lubbock-Cooper School District and Roosevelt School District, Hamman said.

“One of the requirements for them to go and do the student teaching year is they have to pass the content portion of their certification test,” he said.

Since students are out of school for a whole day during the early phase of Tech Teach, Hamman said, the College of Arts and Sciences has helped teaching candidates by scheduling times of classes to later in the day or have moved Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes to occur on Tuesday and Thursday.

“They have made these kind of changes for us so we can bring about the schedule we need,” he said.

The kinds of things Chavez has taught are wants and needs during a social studies lesson, and teaching the concept of main ideas.

Chavez said she read the students a story and they discussed what the main idea of the story was, then built a main idea tree where the trunk of the tree was the main idea and the leaves of the tree were the details of the story.

By Fall 2013, Hamman said, Tech Teach will no longer be in the pilot stages.


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