Michaela Brodie-Willey and Alexys Welch answer teachers' questions.

ARTC teaching skills

Alternative Routes to Certification provides education students with practical knowledge


12:46 p.m., Feb. 12, 2015--Good teachers rely on student feedback to improve their instruction. On Feb. 7, two Seaford high school students shared their insights on a class project with a cadre of first-year teachers in the University of Delaware’s Alternative Routes to Certification (ARTC).

Alexys Welch and Michaela Brodie-Willey were invited to demonstrate the website they had created to explain and virtually explore the solar system as part of a project-based learning (PBL) task in Daphne Malbrough’s Advanced Academic Chemistry class.

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Malbrough is enrolled in the ARTC program, allowing her to take graduate education courses while teaching full-time. The ARTC program emphasizes PBL as an effective strategy that helps students learn to work together on challenging and authentic projects.

For the past 17 years, ARTC has recruited and trained hundreds of highly qualified candidates to help schools hire teachers in critical-need subjects like science, mathematics, world languages and business throughout Delaware. ARTC candidates can typically earn a teaching certificate in two years.

One element of ARTC is one-day workshops, like the one on Feb. 7, that provide novice teachers the opportunity to share their lesson plans and outcomes with each other. At the conclusion of the workshop, they created a survey for their students to evaluate their teaching performance. 

The results will be shared with those students and analyzed with their fellow teachers and coaches in March during a follow-up workshop, where they will identify and adopt strategies to improve instruction.

Malbrough’s students were enthusiastic supporters, both of her instruction and the PBL curriculum. 

“PBL helps students band together to work on real-world problems. This website was created in response to the challenge by Ms. Malbrough to make science relevant, fun and accessible to all students,” said Welch. 

“Ms. Malbrough is a light in the room. She always asks if there is anything we don’t understand and offers positive feedback about what we can do,” added Brodie-Willey. 

Kyle Bentley, Seaford High associate principal and director of the Delaware New Tech Academy, is also a strong supporter of PBL. “When you walk into our classrooms, you will see students engaged in projects that require them to take ownership of their learning and use the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.”

Incorporating PBL into their curriculum is just one of the ways ARTC has adapted to ensure their students become effective educators. In 2011, they introduced the Delaware Transitions to Teaching Partnership (DT3P) designed to recruit, prepare, and support new teachers in high-need schools. 

DT3P candidates attend 90 hours of workshops in the summer before they begin teaching, and they observe and tutor for an additional 16 hours in the Capital School District’s summer program. They also receive 40 hours of one-on-one instructional coaching during their first year, and participate in four additional workshops.

Malbrough has been very happy with the DT3P program. “From classroom management to understanding the DPAS evaluation system, DT3P has been very thorough in preparing me to step into a classroom. As a result, I was not full of trepidation meeting students on the first day of school; instead, it was a very exciting day.”

Although the teachers enjoyed sharing their knowledge at this most recent workshop, the highlight was definitely the students’ presentation. Robert Grey, the DT3P coordinator, said, “The group was simply awed by the quality of their project and inspired by their comments on what makes a good teacher.” 

About ARTC

ARTC, offered through the University of Delaware’s College of Education and Human Development, provides an alternative to the traditional route to teacher certification in Delaware. 

Qualified individuals complete certification requirements while employed as full-time teachers, through a state-approved program of professional education course work, accompanied by intensive, school-based supervision and mentoring. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college and at least 30 credits in a “critical needs” subject area or closely related field.

Article by Alison Burris

Photos by Robert Grey, DT3P coordinator

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