Education department chair Jan Carpenter presented on Exemplary Practices in Middle Grades Teacher Education at the Symposium for Middle Level Education in Austin, Texas in October 2016.
Jan Carpenter and her colleague Micki M. Caskey introduced the latest research and resources for middle school teachers, discussing ways to utilize these resources in the classroom. A few of the topics discussed were teaching mathematical concepts to middle graders, increasing student engagement by incorporating social media practices, and professional development opportunities for middle school teachers.
Recognized experts in the middle school experience, Drs. Carpenter and Caskey also recently published a chapter on teacher collaboration in The Encyclopedia of Middle Grades Education (2nd edition) (Information Age Publishing, 2016). In Organizational Structures, Carpenter and Caskey introduce three forms of organizing: common planning time, professional learning communities and critical friends groups. In common planning time, teacher teams begin with an analysis of the holistic needs of students; in professional learning communities, they start with the analysis of students’ academic progress; and in the critical friends groups, an identified need or interest for improved practice forms the starting point. To succeed, Carpenter and Caskey recommend that teacher collaborators follow several best practices: create a shared vision, develop a sense of community, identify group norms, use discussion and dialogue, and work through conflict.
Jan Carpenter is chair of the Department of Education at Marylhurst University. The department offers master’s degrees in teaching and education, as well as professional development and endorsements for teachers.