Promoting an Emotion-Focused ECE Workforce
The SETL Lab is a proud partner in the UIC Alternative Licensure Program. This program brings together key stakeholders including government agencies, LEAs, community-based organizations, and university teacher educators and researchers to support a residency program designed to prepare high-quality EC teachers in Chicago’s most underserved communities. The program provides a viable pathway for teacher residents to gain state teacher licensure and graduate-level coursework while maintaining employment and strong relationships with young children and their families at their current workplace.
The program recruits and selects traditionally disenfranchised persons, particularly women of color, to advance their education, strengthen their teaching practice, and improve outcomes for children. The Partnership is designed to address acute teacher shortages, lack of teacher diversity in lead teacher roles, teacher turnover, and retention, and lack of multiple educator pathways to support growth and change in the profession.
The UIC Alternative Licensure Program (ALP) builds on this prior success as well as the longstanding UIC M.Ed program that blends early childhood and early childhood special education to prepare teachers to support all young learners. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnerships Grant we are enhancing the ALP by additional instruction in critical content areas, and expanding mentoring through UIC coaches that support quality classroom instruction, sustainable data-informed professional learning, and administrators to continue workforce development., Embedded in the ALP is an emphasis on video-based reflection and a focus on social-emotional teaching (as assessed by the EMOTERS) As such, the ALP is one of the only teacher residency programs the country to provide teachers with focused instruction on not only academic content but also evidence-based teaching strategies to promote social-emotional learning.
A key feature of the program is a site-based mentoring provided by UIC coaches with expertise in socio-emotional learning and teaching, STEM, and inclusion of diverse learners in EC classrooms. SETL Lab researchers and our partners at the Development in School Contexts lab at George Mason University (PI: Tim Curby) are co-leading the evaluation of the ALP, We expect to learn from the program implementation and evaluation valuable lesson for sustainability, scalability, and policy-making to increase and support a high-quality, diverse EC workforce.