The University of Delaware, in partnership with the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District, has received funding from the National Science Foundation to institute a Graduate Teaching Fellows Program in K-12 Education (GK-12) [website]. In each of the three years of this project, nine full time UD graduate students in the sciences, who have completed all or most of their coursework, are selected to serve as fellows.
Fellows are paired with high school science teachers from NCCoVoTech. These pairs, along with the principal investigators (PIs) of this project, form a learning community that has the opportunity to examine and to reflect on current issues in education while specifically addressing critical needs in science education in vocational technical high schools.
By participating in summer workshops and follow-up meetings facilitated by the project leaders, the fellows are introduced to a number of innovative teaching strategies including problem-based learning (PBL). During the academic year, fellows engage in coteaching with their teacher partner. In this "teaching at the elbow of another", fellows gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the complexities and nuances of teaching science in vocational technical high schools. Fellow/teacher pairs develop PBL activities, aligned with curricular needs, to allow their students to experience the benefits of guided-inquiry learning environments.
Fellows receive a twelve-month stipend of $30,000 and are expected to spend twenty hours per week on the project. The time commitment includes ten days during the summer devoted to workshop and development activities and a minimum of ten hours per week during the academic year that fellows spend in their teacher partner's classroom. Fellows must be citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. Fellows are selected based upon a review of written applications and an interview process by the project leaders. It is essential that fellows have the support and cooperation of their research advisors to participate