Leah Wasburn-Moses is Professor of Educational Psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is the author of numerous books and articles on innovation in teacher education. Her Campus Mentors model has gained recognition from American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Association for Career and Technical Education, and Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Any new teacher will tell you, college was just too much theory and not enough practice. Research and experience tell us that the only way to make teacher education effective is intensive hands-on teaching experience combined with expert coaching.
Over a decade ago, I asked our local schools, what’s your greatest need? They identified a group of high school students who just weren’t thriving. When they failed to get their credits, many dropped out. These young people need intensive support for academics, behavior, and social-emotional needs. But schools just don’t have the resources to get this done.
The solution to both problems is called Campus Mentors. Campus Mentors relocates students and their teacher to a college classroom, where they receive daily support from teacher education majors. With hundreds of academic tutors and one-on-one mentors, assistance is available at all times. It’s simple and it’s affordable, and it works.
In eight years we averaged a 40% increase in GPA and a 32% decrease in behavioral referrals. Future teachers reported significant growth in communication skills and gaining a deep understanding of and respect for the complexity of young people’s lives.
We are currently seeking other university communities with a desire for deep community engagement and innovation in teacher education. This win-win partnership supports at-risk youth and gets future teachers what they need to be successful in the classroom.