Blog: Training the Next Generation of Reflective Educators through Micro-credentials
August 29, 2017
by Daniel Darrow
Washington High School (WHS) Education Professions program is dedicated to
preparing young people who can successfully navigate college life and enter the
teaching profession. Part of the Educators Rising national network, this
program is one of more than 2,000 similar high school teacher preparation
programs across the country.
teacher for the Education Professions program at WHS, located in a
working-class, largely immigrant Phoenix neighborhood, I encounter many
students who are facing challenging circumstances outside of their school
lives. Since we are training the next generation of our nation’s educators, the
role of the Education Professions teacher is critical for a number of reasons. For
me specifically (considering the context of WHS), I must instill in my students
that their goals are possible with the right support and focus. In our program,
we believe that “education is the great equalizer,” and we strive each day to
take an additional step toward making that sentiment real for students.
Education Professions curriculum is a two-year program that allows students to
discover and experience the rich rewards and challenges of being a professional
educator. When students enter our program, they spend the majority of their
first year exploring the many different characteristics of an effective
educator through a 35-hour internship program that links them with a mentor
teacher from Maryland School, a neighboring elementary school.
their second year, students spend the entire school year with the same mentor
teacher. The interns work more than 90 hours with their mentor and their
students throughout the school year. As a result, they are able to develop an
understanding of what it takes to be a part of this profession and lead
students in daily powerful learning.
I integrated the ”Beginning
to Teach” micro-credentials into our second-year student sequence.
Students begin by working on the two micro-credentials that require classroom
Culture and Anti-bias
Instruction. Through observations of their mentor teachers, students are able
to think analytically about how an educator’s actions can create a classroom
environment that promotes community and encourages student learning.
primary reason I decided to include micro-credentials in WHS’s program is that
they make clear how valuable the skill of reflection is to being an effective
educator — something I wished I knew at the beginning stages of my teaching
career. Through critical reflection, students, and seasoned educators for that
matter, can take note on their actual teaching practices and strategize
on how to improve them to increase student learning. As students progress
through their second year, they begin to work with micro-credentials that
require them to teach and record lessons and then reflect on their teaching
practices through videos.
to Teach” micro-credentials have truly elevated our program. Before
micro-credentials, we always practiced task analysis and lesson reflection;
however, we never embarked on the more advanced step of having our students
videotape a lesson and analyze it. Through the conversations that follow, my
high school students are made aware of their actual teaching practices and can
begin the process of refining their techniques to best center student learning.
phenomenal to watch a high school senior analyze their teaching practices and
make the necessary adjustments to improve student learning. I’m excited to see
how micro-credentials continue to enhance our Education Professions program at
Washington High School and prepare our students for the next phase of their
journeys toward becoming highly reflective and highly effective professional
Daniel Darrow is a teacher leader at Washington High School in Phoenix, Arizona.