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Five Easy Steps To Setting Up Alumni Reflective Practice Teacher Support Groups
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Starting and supporting an alumni support group does require commitment and effort on the part of faculty and administration. The effort does not need to be daunting. Here are some considerations for getting started.
Determine specific days and times. Invite all education program alumni to participate in the support group seminars. Program-specific group seminars meet for evening sessions (two hours in length) once a month for nine months. The target starting date should be fall term and the seminars should run from September through May, coinciding with the school year. These "Reflective Practice Teacher Support Group Seminars" establish learning communities where alumni teachers Discount Juicy Couture can practice inquiry and embrace critical reflection.
Assign education faculty to facilitate program-specific teacher support groups. One faculty member from each program in the Teacher Education Department should facilitate the monthly meetings. These faculty members are responsible for setting up the monthly group meeting schedule, sending out monthly email reminders about upcoming group meeting dates to all of their group's participants, and facilitating the monthly group meetings.
Recruit new alumni teacher participants. Faculty members should collect database information such as current home addresses and personal email addresses for all graduating students before they leave campus. A highly visible flier should announce the launch of the alumni teacher support groups. Teacher education program graduates from the last five years should be mailed a flier the summer prior to the fall startup. Fliers should also be sent out via email. Faculty group facilitators should be designated on the flier with contact information for all interested education program alumni. Education program graduates should be instructed to contact the faculty group seminar facilitator to express their intent to participate in the monthly support groups (i.e., "register").
Create a welcome environment for sharing and learning. Alumni teacher participants focus on the daily challenges that they face in working with children and young adults in various school settings. Participation in these reflective practice teacher support groups should provide new teachers with opportunities to offer each other moral support, intellectual/academic help, and friendship. These groups should also provide a place for new teachers to talk about teaching, engage in problem solving, share their experiences, and learn new skills. As part of these monthly seminars, occasionally, education experts can be invited in to provide topical in-services on specific skills that address the needs identified by group participants. Depending on individual state requirements, continuing professional development credit might also be given to the participants.
Develop a faculty teacher support group team to evaluate the groups' effectiveness. The teacher support group faculty facilitators should begin meeting on a monthly basis in the late spring of a fall launch to design an evaluation tool for the teacher alumni groups. This faculty team should continue meeting on a regular basis throughout the school year. The team should also collect data from all teacher Cheap Juicy Couture support group participants on the benefits of participating in these support groups and record any changes in actual teaching practices that are reported by group participants. The data collected from these groups could be evaluated, summarized, and used to improve the teacher education program curriculum.
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