Student teachers try the Practice Project

A remarkable experiment took place at the University of Michigan this past fall, when a group of student teachers in a class taught by Dr. Shari Saunders tried out the Practice Project in their classroom placements.

Many of this blog’s readers will remember the posts and comments of these preservice teachers here, as they puzzled through the questions of how to discover and build on their students’ strengths, create lessons that would connect with what students valued, and give them the deliberate practice they needed on the path the mastery. Many of you offered your own good counsel, as veteran teachers.

Shari Saunders described her curriculum when we presented together at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s annual Alumni of Color Conference in March. Now she has made available to others (in our Resources section under “Presentations and Handouts”) the assignments and rubrics she created for her classes.

Writing to me this week, Dr. Saunders said that her preservice teachers told her and others that the ideas they tried out here were among those they most remembered from their student-teaching semester. In this era especially, when teacher education is undergoing such scrutiny, this teacher educator and her students deserve our thanks for taking seriously the experiences, perspectives, strengths, and needs of students themselves—and for sharing that with us.


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