The Scheller Teacher Education Program allows MIT undergraduates to receive their certification in 6-12 science and math teaching while pursuing their major in one of MIT’s main courses. I teach two courses for the program: 11.124: Looking Forward, Looking Back, and 11.125: Understanding and Evaluating Education . Both courses have a classroom component, but students also participate in classroom observations and assisting in schools around Boston and Cambridge.
In 11.124, we spend the first part of the semester looking at the history and present state of U.S. educational systems, trying to understand what things have changed and why so much has remained constant. We then look at diverse teaching methodologies, in particular trying to help students explore the potential and limitations of constructivist and constructionist approaches to teaching and learning.
In 11.125, we seek to answer two essential questions throughout the semester: What’s worth learning? and How do we know if students are learning? We take two “loops” through these questions. In the first half of the semester, we address these questions from a systems-level view: looking at state standards and large-scale testing and assessment. In the second half the semester, we zoom into the classroom level, and look at the same questions in terms of the curriculum choices that teachers make and the ways they assess their students. If 11.124 focuses on policy and pedagogy, then 11.125 focuses on curriculum and assessment.