June 2020 – For some, jumping into the world of remote teaching during the coronavirus pandemic was baptism be fire; for students in Drew University’s MAT program, it was simply applying what they’d been prepared to do all along.
The technological teaching tools needed to survive—and thrive—in a world turned to virtual teaching and learning overnight are among those made central to Drew’s teacher education program.
“Our students were advanced in their technology use and in their teaching practices in a way that we may not expect from novice teachers,” said Kristen Turner, professor and Director of Teacher Education at Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.
“They were ready for this.”
Instead of the typical educational technology courses offered in MAT programs, Drew’s curriculum includes professional development workshops where MAT students learn about classroom technologies and practices alongside practicing teachers.
Both the learning environment and focus of these workshops allow the Drew students to explore the skills needed to lead a classroom while understanding the implementation of those skills by working with the teachers already leading them.
“I received a lot of emails from cooperating teachers saying their Drew student teachers were the ones teaching them things and helped make the transition to virtual teaching seamless,” said Turner.
Three of those students, Sofia Amorim, Kelly Duddy and Cara O’Leary, were announced as Drew’s 2020 Distinguished Clinical Interns for their work as student teachers, an honor which includes being nominated by a cooperating teacher/field supervisor and selected by Drew faculty. We talked to them about the lessons learned in the classrooms they lead and learn in.
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