Sharon Robinson: The Exciting Shift to a Practice-Focused Process in Teacher Education (Part 1 of 3)

Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), has been a leader in the field of teacher education for many years.

Before joining AACTE in 2005, Sharon was the Assistant Secretary of Education in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement.AACTE is focused on practice focused teacher education

Recently, Edthena CEO Adam Geller had the chance to sit down with Sharon for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on a number of topics, from Sharon’s background in education to the “unique disposition” required of teachers working at the middle school level.

The meat of their conversation, however, centered around how teacher education is changing – namely, how it’s becoming more practiced-focused in order to support authentic learning.

During the discussion, Sharon – who was once a teacher herself – talked about how important this paradigm shift is.

“As we become more practice-focused, we build the profession in a more authentic way than is even possible through the more high profile political and policy gestures,” Sharon said.

“The more we work together to create candidates who are practice-ready, and classrooms that are ready to utilize that practice, the more we will actually see improvements to student learning. Otherwise it’s nothing but a hollow campaign slogan.”

Sharon also said that she thinks tools like Edthena should play a critical role in this effort.

“Platforms like Edthena help candidates view their practice and reflect on it with all kinds of scaffolding and support that help them document what they’re seeing… Tools like Edthena create the potential for the type of reflection that extends the capacity to learn.”

But, as Sharon noted, making this switch to a practice-focused process won’t always be easy.

“It takes courage to be a learner. You have to be willing to see yourself performing not quite as well as you maybe want to, but you have to know there’s no way to get to your goal unless you know what to focus on and how to change.”

This is part one of a three part conversation. Click the link at the end of the video to watch part two.