Norfolk State University’s School of Education welcomed its first cohort of future teachers into the Future Teacher Academy. The focus of the new initiative, also known as FTA, is to increase the diversity of the teacher population throughout the Commonwealth and ultimately the whole country. Sixteen participants arrived in June . . . first-years, rising sophomores and transfer students. Cohort members received four weeks of instruction and exploration from skills instructors to increase success with the Praxis Core examination and to develop a better understanding of the world of teaching in today’s public school setting.
Co-author of the College Teaching Techniques book series Professor Elizabeth Barkley once said, “Student engagement is the product of motivation and active learning. It is a product rather than a sum because it will not occur if either element is missing.” This quote embodies one of the key foundational principles of the Future Teacher Academy. FTA instructors were selected based on their demonstrated classroom performance in the area of student engagement. In each teaching session, instructors strive to make connections that motivate every student so that active learning can take place. Instructional technology was also incorporated into the sessions through a variety of apps compatible with iPads purchased through Title III funds. Additionally, the Praxis Lab located in the School of Education, served as a valuable tool for FTA instructors and cohort members.
As a culminating activity, a mini-conference was held. Speakers included two African-American male elementary school teachers who had recently completed their first full year of teaching. Dylan Pritchett Jr. and Byron Morgan shared inspirational messages about the powerful impact teachers have on students and the importance of compassion and high expectations for all students.
This month, the FTA team is planning to have a mid-semester meet and greet to discuss upcoming co-curricular activities during the 2016-2017 academic year. Recruitment for the next cohort in summer 2017 will also get underway.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Dr. Denelle Wallace, activity director; Dr. Mona Bryant-Shanklin, program coordinator and Dr. Lucanne Kachmarik, instructional coordinator. Dr. Denise Littleton, dean of the School of Education, serves as the project director.