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Selection Criteria

KSTF Teaching Fellowships are awarded based on the following three selection criteria:

1.   The potential to develop the content knowledge needed for teaching.

KSTF seeks Fellowship candidates who have exceptional content knowledge in the area they intend to teach, but also have the capacity and drive to develop the specialized content knowledge needed to carry out the work of teaching. Content knowledge for teaching is both broad and deep, and is organized specifically for the work of teaching. It includes having the ability to transform expert knowledge for novices, anticipate student difficulties and build on their prior knowledge. Although knowledge of the current state of their discipline is crucial for teachers, the content knowledge needed for teaching depends more upon advanced knowledge of elementary concepts than elementary knowledge of advanced concepts. A strong foundation of knowledge in the discipline is a necessary first step for developing the content knowledge needed for teaching; hence we seek candidates who have at least the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to the subject(s) they intend to teach. Content knowledge for teaching is developed over the course of a career, so KSTF does not expect candidates to display mastery of this kind of knowledge. Rather, we seek candidates who have the propensity to be challenged and excited (rather than threatened) by the prospect of having to learn more about the fundamental concepts and engage in the fundamental practices of the discipline, especially those they think they have already mastered.

2.   The potential to develop exemplary teaching practices.

KSTF Teaching Fellowships are explicitly designed to support beginning high school teachers; hence we are seeking candidates who are committed to working with adolescents and teaching math or science at the high school level. We do not expect candidates to display a mastery of teaching when they apply. Rather, we are seeking candidates who understand that teaching is highly complex, intellectually challenging work and recognize that, regardless of other experiences they may have had, it will take them considerable time and effort to become outstanding teachers.

Outstanding, professional teachers have the ability to communicate clearly, plan and be flexible, and work productively with diverse individuals. They are curious about the larger implications of teaching practices and educational policies and have a well-developed habit of reflection. Furthermore, they are willing to share and receive critical feedback from others and demonstrate the capacity to learn from both failure and success. Finally, outstanding professional teachers have consistently high expectations for all learners and critically examine their own practices to ensure equitable learning opportunities for all students. KSTF seeks candidates who are developing these characteristics from previous experiences and display the propensity to continue to develop them as teachers.

3.   The potential to develop the qualities of a teacher leader.

KSTF is committed to strengthening the teaching profession by identifying and supporting outstanding professional teachers who can serve as leading teachers in this country. A strengthened teaching profession cultivates leaders from within the profession. These leading teachers are capable of contributing to and supporting collaborative work in schools, supporting collective learning including the generation of knowledge about and for the profession, and assuming responsibility for serving and supporting others. We seek candidates who have the potential to become leaders who serve as agents of educational improvement for their students, within their communities and schools, and across and from within the teaching profession.

20090609_kstf_0704Teacher leaders are first and foremost outstanding teachers who have the curiosity, vision and drive to work with others to understand and improve teaching practice in ever-wider circles of influence. They understand the power of collaboration and recognize the need to learn from and with others, can work as part of a team and know how to lead by leveraging the strengths of team members. KSTF seeks candidates who have developed their capacity for collaborative leadership in previous experiences and demonstrate the propensity to continue to develop that capacity as leaders who remain in the classroom.