Teacher Advisory Group Strategies
Involve your TAG in the design and operation of your teacher preparation program. A TAG is a great way to involve local teachers in your program.
- Arizona has a “cohort of some 120 area science teachers who serve as mentors to [its] prospective science teachers and host them for field experiences in our courses. These teachers helped develop the program curriculum and continue to advise [the faculty].”
- The Cal Poly TAG worked with faculty and Teachers In Residence to develop an instrument for the classroom observation component of the school’s “Introduction to Teaching” course. Cal Poly faculty report: “We were able to get a very representative group of middle and high school teachers to participate. The diversity of the group paid dividends immediately as they brainstormed ways to improve our observations class.” For example, the teachers recommended requiring observations of classes at different grade levels in a variety of alternative and traditional schools that represent the full spectrum of student socioeconomic levels.
- The UTeach Program’s curriculum was designed at the request of the Dean of the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences by a group of master teachers, many of whom are still involved in the program as student teacher mentors.
- Brigham Young University has formed a Teacher Advisory Board from which they solicit advice for their teacher preparation program, and recruit teachers to serve as student teach mentors.
- Ball State faculty have solicited their TAG members’ suggestions on their PhysTEC project design, outreach efforts, and course development. They also note that “the TAG has also served as an opportunity for prospective TIRs to become familiar with the PhysTEC program and to meet current and past TIRs.”
- At Colorado, TAG meetings have provided the physics department with teacher contacts throughout the area. Two TAG members became Teachers In Residence, and a third now works for the Physics Education Technology (PhET) project at the university.
- At Arkansas, TAG members have hosted field experiences for preservice teachers.
Use your Teacher Advisory Group to expose your students to experienced teachers. TAG members can inspire students to pursue a career in teaching.
- The TAG meetings at Western Michigan typically draw around twenty enthusiastic participants, about half of whom are preservice teachers. A TIR or local teacher typically presented an interactive physics teaching activity and provided materials and handouts so that all participants could replicate the activity in their own classrooms. Faculty report that “these meetings [also] provided a forum in which issues such as new state standards and requirements could be discussed, and the participation of practicing teachers in these discussions served as an introduction to the profession for the teaching majors. The personal and professional ties that were established at these meetings constituted the community of physics teachers we were trying to establish.”
- Members of the Seattle Pacific TAG presented some of their experiences as teachers to all graduating science majors. One student followed up with a classroom visit to a TAG teacher’s classroom and has now decided to pursue teaching.