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WW Academy: Personalized Teacher Preparation

In today’s world, everything is personalized. With the swipe of a finger on a smartphone you can conjure up a private car, get access to a personalized investment and budgeting plan, or create your own sneakers. As traditional markets and industries shift and change to meet this need for customization on demand, what does that model look like for education?

In an effort to prepare teachers and administrators for the classrooms of today and tomorrow, the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning is developing a cutting-edge model for preparing teachers and school leaders. The WW Academy will blend traditional teacher preparation methods with new technology—virtual reality, simulations, online learning—for a truly individualized curriculum that is adjustable to a candidate’s existing knowledge and learning pace. But, unlike the standard vision of personalized adult learning, this model comprises much more than working through an online quiz from the comfort of one’s own sofa, two hours before the midnight deadline.

Instead, the WW Academy will offer a rich blend of one-on-one, online, and real-world learning. It will throw out the clock and do away with traditional courses and credits. Prospective teachers will be assessed on what they know and can do; they will be required to demonstrate their skills and knowledge, and will move forward in the program once they have shown mastery of the Academy’s carefully structured competencies. Candidates will have the opportunity to practice and prove their skills in simulated classrooms, creating a safe, low-stakes environment where they can learn from both their successes and mistakes. There will also be a series of challenges—opportunities for candidates to learn while working through situations drawn from everyday classrooms. The different elements of the WW Academy’s blended model will culminate in a clinical placement where the prospective teacher will be placed in a partner school, student teaching under the guidance and mentoring of a master teacher.

In the coming weeks, WW Perspectives will break down the components of the WW Academy model with a series of profiles and posts that explore the kinds of simulations, challenges, assessments, and clinical experiences the Academy will offer.

The blended curriculum being developed by the WW Academy is based on a deep understanding of the tools needed for new teachers to succeed. By creating a program tailored to both individual prospective teachers and the times they will be teaching in, the WW Academy is poised to become the standard bearer for the future of teacher preparation programs.


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