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About Us

Mentoring Teachers / About Us

A 4-University Collaboration

Working together to improve the clinical experience

From the top, clockwise

Karin Lohwasser (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Hosun Kang (University of California, Irvine)
Jen Richards (Northwestern University)
Mark Windschitl (University of Washington)
Jen Doherty (University of Washington)
Sara Hagenah (Boise State University)
Filiberto Barajas-Lopez (University of Washington)
Soo-Yean Shim (University of Washington)
Caroline Hadley (University of Washington)

The Research Aims of the NASCENT Project

Why this system of supports?

Results of previous research

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation. It builds upon empirical results from a previous NSF-funded study in which teacher candidates from four preparation programs were tracked over the course of their clinical experiences. This foundational study indicated that mentor teachers are not supported in ways that allow them to extend their knowledge and experience effectively to novices who are learning the profession. Sixty-six case studies of mentor-novice pairs in K-12 schools helped us identify the kinds of tools and resources that would likely assist these dyads to learn together, and to more consistently over the course of the clinical experience open up the necessary opportunities for candidates to engage in teaching.

The theory behind the website and larger project

To make design choices about resources and to deploy them strategically, we also relied on a principled theoretical architecture about how the clinical experience is intended to apprentice novices into the complex work of teaching.

We characterize “opportunities to learn” (Greeno & Gresalfi, 2008) as situations that teacher candidates encounter or generate that allow them to observe, engage in, and make sense of the complex work of teaching (Cole & Engeström, 1997, p. 3). This type of learning is situated in activity with others and shaped by social, cultural, and institutional contexts in which particular norms, expectations, ideas, and tools mediate the relations between the novices and the community they seek to become part of (Gutiérrez & Rogoff, 2003; Vygotsky, 1978). These opportunities enable novices to participate more fully and in more meaningful ways in schools as communities of practice (Rogoff, 2014; Wenger, 1998). By attending to such complexity, a sociocultural perspective helps to shift attention toward exploration of how tools, routines, and resources can mediate teacher candidates’ learning in relation to goals of teacher education (Anderson & Stillman, 2013).

We hope to use this framework to create, disseminate, and study powerful tools and ways of interacting that can help mentors and novices grow in their respective repertoires of practice.