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RiSE Center Colloquium – December 5 – Deborah Trumbull, Cornell University

October 20th, 2011

The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center)
and the University of Maine


Deborah Trumbull
Cornell University

117 Donald P. Corbett Building
Monday, December 5, 2011
3:00 – 4:00 pm

Developing teacher identity and knowledge:  Pre-service teacher education

As a teacher educator for many years, I have learned that becoming a teacher involves much more than adding a number of tools and techniques to each prospective teacher’s existing body of knowledge.  Becoming a teacher requires a preservice teacher to develop a new identity, and cease interpreting classrooms as he did when a student.

One key aspect of a teacher’s identity requires a reformulated view of subject matter.  A teacher must not only understand her subject matter in a rich and flexible way, she must also be able to evaluate how her students are comprehending, and adjust her teaching appropriately. This knowledge of practice develops only through experience and reflection on experience, but I believe that we can help preservice teacher begin this.  I present examples from my studies that have examined both how I can facilitate the change in identity and how I can look at how my preservice teachers are making the change.

Bio sketch:

Deborah Trumbull, like many teacher educators, never planned to be a teacher educator.  In fact, until she began her PhD in Educational Psychology and Program Evaluation, she had never taken an education course.  She found that educational theory provided a powerful and productive way to make sense of her many experiences as a biology teacher.  When she took a position at Cornell University, she worked with a group of energetic colleagues to develop a new program for the preparation of science and mathematics teachers.  Due to a range of forces, the program has changed, and each change has served as an opportunity for Trumbull to learn about preparing excellent teachers. This learning was supported by her involvement with the international group Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices, and has benefitted tremendously from collaborations with colleagues from around the world.  She has also worked as an in-service teacher educator and evaluator on projects with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

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