Penn GSE

Urban Teaching Apprenticeship

Program

THE TEACHING APPRENTICESHIP: A NEW WAY TO DO TEACHER EDUCATION

More than a series of courses and student teaching experiences, the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program (UTAP) features a 10-month teaching apprenticeship that provides authentic experiences teaching at the side of experienced classroom mentors. Apprentices have over 800 hours of field time (more than twice the student teaching experience of the average program) to develop research-based practices.

The UTAP apprenticeship begins in the summer. Apprentices work in youth-serving summer programs located in the neighborhood where they will teach in the fall. Apprentices get to know the families living in the school catchment area while taking courses that examine the deep historical and sociological structures that shape these communities and schools.

Once schools begin, an experienced mentor shares the classroom with the apprentice, guiding their emerging teaching practice. Apprentices also receive support from Penn Mentors who visit the classroom one day per week, and provide feedback to ensure development of targeted teaching skills and dispositions learned during course work.

When our alumni seek employment after graduation, they already have a full year of teaching experience on their resume.

PURPOSEFUL MENTORSHIP

The mentored field experiences are the core of the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Programs. Carefully selected PreK-12 school settings and classrooms serve as learning sites for apprentices. Classroom mentors who are thoughtfully recruited share their classrooms and knowledge of practice with apprentices daily. Penn Mentors (sometimes called university supervisors) visit the apprentice at the school site weekly to provide ongoing feedback and support. They work to bridge university coursework to the field and help apprentices try out and adapt core practices in their classrooms.

COHORT MODEL

The program is cohort based: all apprentices begin and move through the program together, sharing classes and experiences in their schools. Grade level and content area specializations allow for smaller cohorts with particular foci to explore the teaching of particular age groups and content.

INQUIRY & PRACTITIONER RESEARCH SKILLS

An inquiry stance is modeled and encouraged; teachers see themselves not only as consumers of research but generators of it, using their own classrooms as sites for ongoing research and self-reflection. In the program, apprentices conduct research in their classrooms and complete a capstone project. Many of our apprentices and alumni present at the Ethnography in Education Research Forum and submit articles to the online journal Perspectives in Urban Education. Alumni are encouraged to join (or initiate) one of the many teacher inquiry groups that are active in Philadelphia and many other urban areas.

DEVELOPING DIGITAL FLUENCY

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program at Penn GSE seeks to use technology to help teachers improve their teaching practice, conduct research on their practice, and improve communications with students, families, and teaching communities of practice. Apprentices learn how to develop a webpage, use blogs to critically communicate their experiences in schools, and publish original teacher research to their webpage. In addition to participating in an eight-session module on integrating technology into their lessons and classroom, apprentices engage in the use of video to intensively study their own practice as a way to extend reflective self-inquiry and learning.

ADVOCACY AND LEADERSHIP: EQUITY IN EDUCATION

The Master of Science in Education degree and the urban teaching apprenticeship prepare alumni to take on leadership roles, particularly those that position them as advocates for all students. Our alumni are working in public service as teachers, principals, superintendents, foundation program officers, school board members, community leaders, and international educators to advocate for curricula, resources, and policies that provide access to quality education for communities that are underserved or marginalized.

SELECTIVE ADMISSIONS

Students are selected for the program based on academic achievement (minimum GPA of 3.0) and demonstrated content knowledge in their field. We seek to build a diverse cohort of students who have demonstrated commitment to urban education, whose goals align with those of the program.

NEW TEACHER SUPPORT AND ALUM OUTREACH

Apprentices leave our program prepared to take on the responsibilities and challenges of beginning teachers, understanding that their professional growth is just getting its start. We understand this as well, and have provided a support network, through the UTAP speaker series for in-service teachers, and for teachers in the Philadelphia region.