University of the District of Columbia - Firebirds Reinventing STEM Teaching

CAL is supporting the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) as part of a Noyce Teacher Scholarship program on Project FRST: Firebirds Reinventing STEM Teaching. The Urban Teacher Academy at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is implementing Project FRST to develop and sustain a Master’s of Arts in Teaching (MAT) concentration that prepares aspiring teachers for full licensure in Middle School Science in the District of Columbia. UDC’s MAT program emphasizes the preparation of teachers to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic backgrounds, noting the role of language in the existing achievement gaps in science between non-native and native speakers of English and between white and African American students.

CAL’s multi-year participation in Project FRST originally involved advising the development of the MAT program including the curriculum, teaching fellow recruitment qualifications, and target learning objectives to ensure that the course materials, activities, professors, and teaching fellows are prepared to meet the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students. CAL provided expertise on the integration of content and language learning and the development of student language proficiency in the context of science classrooms. CAL developed modules on academic language learning and instruction in the science disciplines that were incorporated into the UDC MAT program courses. Once developed, CAL staff delivered professional development to faculty members and attended the MAT classes to observe the module delivery, revising the contents of the modules based on their observations and feedback from students and professors. Course modules were finalized and recorded to sustain their inclusion in the program as either online or face-to-face materials.

Future work on the project will include observations of the teaching fellows in their own classrooms, guided lesson planning with attention to language learning in the sciences, and coaching feedback to support the instruction of linguistically and culturally diverse students