TQB: Teacher Quality Bulletin

Win-win-win for student teaching

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Every year, school districts are asked by their teacher prep programs to find space for a fresh round of student teachers. Prior student teaching placement research speaks to the benefits of placing student teachers in stable schools, where turnover is low. In addition, a number of studies reinforce what common sense tells us, that student teachers should be assigned to mentor teachers who are effective instructors.

However, new work by Matthew Ronfeldt and colleagues from Stanford University adds two fascinating twists to this (thankfully) increasingly popular field of research.

First, they do not find any drawbacks to placing a student teacher in a school with low test scores; the experience will not lower the future effectiveness of the student teacher as long as they're placed with effective mentor teachers. Second, they find substantial evidence speaking to the benefits of schools filling their teacher vacancies with their student teachers. No doubt, student teaching gives student teachers time to better learn a school's ropes as well as allowing principals ample time to decide if the student teacher will be an ideal fit before offering a job.