Seven future teachers spent the week on campus learning more about the profession they aspire to join by learning how to best engage high school students in the classroom.
Because the group itself is made up of high school students from Chattanooga’s Tyner Academy, it might be assumed they could describe effective classrooms based on personal preference. UTC Chancellor Steve Angle has challenged them to do much more than that. Angle has given the students—scholars participating in the UTC Teaching and Learning Institute at Tyner—a research project to complete this week.
Citing 2015 statistics that ranked the U.S. 38th of 71 countries in math and 24th in science, Angle asked the students “to use research to investigate the use of high-impact instructional strategies to increase student achievement.” He asked the students to determine what is known about ideal learning environments for adolescents and how high schools can keep students more engaged in learning.
At a luncheon in the University Center, the scholars presented their research findings to a small gathering of UTC officials. Meanwhile, the group also took nine hours of ACT preparation provided by UTC’s Center for Professional Education.
Participants were selected from the UTC Institute of Teaching and Learning at Tyner Academy, one of 20 Hamilton County Schools “future-ready” institutes of small, career-themed learning communities. Acceptance into this summer’s Chancellor’s School followed a rigorous nomination and application process that included a panel interview.
Renee Murley, director of the UTC School of Education, described the Chancellor’s School as an excellent opportunity for prospective teachers to spend a week at UTC exploring campus life and experiencing enrichment activities.
“UTC’s School of Education is excited to be a part of the work to recruit and prepare future teachers from Hamilton County to return back to their community to become the future teachers,” Murley said. “We believe this partnership will benefit Tyner Academy Teaching and Learning students, the School of Education and Hamilton County.”
Eventually, plans are to expand the opportunity beyond Tyner, with students from across Hamilton County encouraged to apply.
Blake Freeman, director of Future-Ready Institutes for Hamilton County Schools, described the Chancellor’s School at UTC as “an incredible example of what happens when community partners focus on creating robust learning opportunities for students that go beyond the school day and the classroom.”
“Chancellor’s School will allow teens to sample the college experience in the summer months and build the confidence to see themselves not just attending college, but visualizing they have the ability to complete a degree and pursue a teaching career,” Freeman said.
Over the course of the institute, each scholar from Tyner also is matched with a UTC faculty or staff mentor, considered by officials to be an especially important step for first-generation college students who need help navigating the application and financial aid/scholarship processes.
Students who complete the Teaching and Learning Institute, meet UTC admission requirements and enroll at the University will receive credit for the “Foundation of Education” course required for all education majors.
The institute is part of the Tennessee Department of Education’s career and technical education curriculum that includes the “Fundamentals of Education” course for ninth-graders and the “Teaching as a Profession” course for students in grades 10-12.
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson praised the partnership with UTC as vital to the success of the school system’s Future-Ready Institutes.
“Future Ready Institutes are key learning opportunities in our schools today,” Johnson said, “that will open doors to exciting possibilities for our graduates and our community.”