Tech Teach Recognized for Excellence in Teacher Preparation

The Texas Education Agency recognized the program, which began in 2011, at a meeting in Austin last week.

Education

An innovative teacher preparation program at Texas Tech University was recognized in Austin for its focus on quality of teaching and teacher preparation satisfaction.

Tech Teach, which the College of Education introduced five years ago under the direction of Dean Scott Ridley, was chosen after a weeklong visit from Texas Education Agency (TEA) officials during the spring semester. Ridley, program director Doug Hamman and associate professor of education Fanni Coward received the recognition prior to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) meeting on Aug. 4 in Austin.

Tim Miller, head of TEA Educator Preparation Quality Assurance, presented the recognition.

“Tim and several TEA staff members told us they wanted to highlight our program so all educator preparation providers will know about Tech Teach, ‘be jealous’ and adopt similar methods and high standards,” Ridley said.

In offering the recognition, TEA officials said Texas Tech has exceeded the SBEC minimum standards to provide outstanding preparation for teacher candidates and highlighted national achievements, such as being identified as a national model by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and winning a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support other teacher preparation programs through the U.S. PREP National Center.

Tech Teach puts teacher candidates into the classroom for a year and requires 275 hours of field-based experiences. SBEC requires 12 weeks of clinical teaching and 30 hours of field-based experiences. Tech Teach also created partnerships with school districts to share data and allow university and district administrators to work more closely and ensure needs are being met. Professors observe teaching through web cameras and score teacher candidates on a competency-based rubric to make adjustments to teaching in real time.

Although the program has not been around long enough to provide extensive data, both first-year teachers and administrators in the school districts that hire graduates say they are much more prepared under Tech Teach than other educator preparation programs.

The College of Education also reaches hundreds of students throughout the state with the Tech Teach Across Texas, a district-based immersion teacher prep program that allows teacher candidates to take courses online and work in the local school districts with intensive and ongoing clinical coaching from the site coordinator, who is a district-based Texas Tech faculty member. Other professors also observe from a distance and offer immediate feedback via technology.


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College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including 9 doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, two bachelor's degrees and numerous specializations which can lead to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in three departments.

The Department of Curriculum & Instruction offers advanced degrees that prepare leaders, researchers, and professors with the knowledge, skills, and practical application experience needed to analyze, construct, and evaluate curricula in ways that create optimal learning conditions for all learners. Language and literacy, bilingual education and STEM education are just a few of the specializations offered by C&I.

The Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership consists of a diverse group of academic programs that equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. The disciplines of counseling and school psychology are housed within the EP&L department as are programs to prepare future college administrators, primary and secondary school and district leaders, as well as practical and academic educational psychologists.

The Department of Teacher Education focuses solely on teacher preparation, ensuring that teacher candidates are ready for the classroom on day one. The Teacher Education Department is home to TechTeach, an innovative teacher preparation program that puts teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requires that students pass teacher certification tests prior to entering the classroom. Various paths to teaching careers, including fast-track distance programs statewide and alternative certification options, are also housed in this department.

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