Identifying What Great Teacher Educators Know and Do


identifying what great teacher educators know and do

by kaycee salmacia
june 2017

Research overwhelmingly states that the single-most influential in-school factor in student success is the K-12 classroom teacher. 1 The same could be said about teacher educators for their role in training novice teachers. 2 Yet, despite decades of research, the field of teacher preparation still struggles to cohere around what teacher educators need to know and be able to do to, how they should be deliberately prepared and continually supported to know and do these things, and when and how to collect data on how they do what they do for the purposes of strengthening and improving their practice. 3

To address this lack of coherence, we - representatives from four national teacher preparation centers 4 working with over 100 teacher preparation programs across different teacher training contexts and areas of expertise - formed a working group to create a shared developmental framework to improve teacher educator practice. The purpose of this working group is to focus on a set of practices that are specific to work of practicing teacher educators.


We see teacher educators as people who play a formal role in the training of novice teachers. They are people who provide instruction or who give guidance and support to novice teachers, and who thus render a substantial contribution to the development of novices into competent teachers. Teacher educators may hold roles such as: course instructors, professors, site coordinators, coaches/clinical instructors, P-12 mentors, or P-12 instructional leaders. Not included in this definition are people who support novice teachers in roles such as: informal mentors or coaches, P-12 leaders who do not work in an instructional leadership role, research professors, professional development providers, or teacher scholars.

The purpose of our working group is to articulate what teacher educators should know and be able to do, and how to help them do it, via a developmental, growth-minded framework. We also seek to improve teacher educator practice in order to prepare novice teachers who are able to impact student learning on day-one in the classroom. To achieve these aims our working group has created four distinct goals:

  1. To identify a common set of teacher educator practices (TEP)
  2. To develop a set of TEP aligned tools to help teacher educators gather data on their practice
  3. To design TEP aligned professional development materials, resources, and experiences to help teacher educators improve their practice
  4. To pilot and test TEP aligned tools and resources in the field with real teacher educators and novice teachers, and use their feedback and pilot study data to improve the TEP framework over time

To date, we have been working to accomplish our first goal, which is to identify a common set of teacher educator practices. To accomplish this goal we solicited input from our 100+ teacher preparation programs to learn how they define effective teacher educator practice. We also conducted a landscape analysis to identify what research and resources about effective teacher educator practice already exists in the field. After an information collecting period, the working group met in-person to create a set of teacher educator practices. Each representative brought the information she collected from her research and her networks, and over two days of meetings and productive debate, our working group culled the list of possible teacher educator practices into what we hope will ultimately become a set of 12 core teacher educator practices. Since then we have been working to solicit feedback on our set of draft practices, and have been using that feedback to further strengthen the framework.

Here is the current working draft of our 12 Teacher Educator Practices and Definitions . We imagine that these practices will continue to change and evolve over the summer. If you or someone you know would like to provide feedback on the practices, please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the following survey.

We believe that it is possible to prepare novice teachers across the U.S. to enter the profession and be immediately impactful with young people, while continuing to recognize the lifelong, developmental nature of teaching. By working together to improve the field of teacher preparation, we aim to ensure we are moving toward a future where every student has the support they need to succeed.

Kaycee Salmacia, on behalf of the Teacher Educator Practice Framework Working Group

Sarah Beal , Director, U.S. PREP National Center
Meagan Comb , Assistant Director, Educator Preparation, Center for Instructional Support, Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education
Shari Dickstein-Staub , Director of Network, National Center for Teacher Residencies
Kaycee Salmacia , Senior Director of Teacher Educator Initiatives at TeacherSquared

1 Chetty, R.; Friedman, J.N.; & Rockoff, J.E. (2011). The long term impacts of teachers: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; Hamre, B. & Pianta, R.C. (2006). Student-teacher relationships. In Bear, G.G. & Minke, K.M. (Eds). Children's Needs III: Development, Prevention, and Intervention, 59-71. Washington, DC, US: National Association of School Psychologists. See also: McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D. M., & Hamilton, L. S. (2003). Evaluating modeling Student-Teacher Interactions: 26 value-added models for teacher accountability, (MG-158-EDU). Santa Monica, CA: RAND.

2 Sharma, U. & Sokal, L. (2013). The impact of a teacher education course on pre-service teachers' beliefs about inclusion: an international comparison. Jorsen, 15(4): 276-284. See also: Brouwer, N. and Korthagen, F. 2005. Can teacher education make a difference? American Educational Research Journal, 42(1): 153–224; Korthagen, FAJ. (2010). How teacher education can make a difference. Journal of Education for Teaching, 36(4): 407-423. Day, C. (1999). Developing Teachers: The Challenge of Lifelong Learning. New York, NY: The Falmer Press.

3 National Center for Teacher Residencies (2016). Drivers of teacher preparation: Landscape analysis. Chicago, IL: NCTR; Goodwin, A.L., Smith, L., Souto-Manning, M., Cjeruvu, R., Tan, M.Y., Reed, R., & Taeras, L. (2014). What should teacher educators know and be able to do? Perspectives from practicing teacher educators. Journal of Teacher Education, 65, 284–302.

4 Massachusetts Department of Education EPIC, National Center for Teacher Residencies, TeacherSquared, US Prep National Center

And if you are interested in further exploring topics like this, please join the community of teacher educators coming together in Houston on August 8-11 for our second annual Teacher Educator Institute .


About the Author

brent photo.jpg

Kaycee Salmacia, Ed.D.
Senior Director of Teacher Educator Initiatives
TeacherSquared, Relay Graduate School of Education

Kaycee A. Salmacia is Senior Director of Teacher Educator Initiatives at Relay Graduate School of Education. She previously served as Director of Student Growth and Achievement at Relay GSE, Senior Director of Teaching and Learning at Teacher U, Managing Director of Program at Teach For America, and taught sixth-grade humanities at I.S. 162 in the South Bronx. Kaycee earned a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in Teaching from Pace University, and a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania.


Stay Informed

Sign up to receive TeacherSquared blog and resource updates.

Name *