In the spring of 2020, Fund for Teachers set out to refine its description of the impact it wants to have on the world. We started by identifying our best fellowships over the past 20 years, and synthesized common elements into the following framework:
Our programming, including our Fellowship, ignites teachers to refine and reimagine teaching and learning in their schools, partnering with students to solve large and small problems in their communities. Beyond the impact of your fellowship, this framework can be a helpful tool in its design.
Fellowship Learning Experiences
First and foremost, strong fellowships are rooted in teachers’ problems of practice. Teachers’ problems of practice are often messy and complex. Rarely is there one solution to these real-world issues in teaching and learning, thus there is a genuine need to inquire, grapple and figure something out. Collaboration becomes necessary, as we extend beyond what we thought possible. Experts in our field, strong models and thought leaders that can help us gain perspective, learn new skills, and content.
|Questions to help you Design your Fellowship Learning Experience:
Collaborate to Build Solutions:
While fellowship learning experiences often occur during the summer months when schools are closed, the real action happens when teachers return. This is when fellows turn new ideas into change for students. Taking action on their problems of practice extends beyond showing pictures and telling stories, it requires teachers to redesign units, change structures and reimagine their pedagogy. Stepping out of the norm to truly find workable solutions takes guts, and risk taking.
Fellows regularly report their surprise as their fellowship takes paths unimagined. Sometimes the connection with an expert sparks ideas that the teacher never considered, while other times fellows learn important things about themselves. Learning at this deeper level is energizing and enlivening. Powerful learning experiences like the Fund for Teachers fellowships give teachers the opportunity to consider how they can change education to energize and enliven student learning, turning the problem-based learning tables on them. (NOT a great last sentence here)
|Questions to help you Design your Fellowship’s Impact:
Turn Ideas Into Action:
Lead the Way:
A few reminders for this year’s grants:
- The 2021 Grant Application is available for fellowships in the continental United States. Teachers in Alaska and Hawaii may pursue opportunities within their states.
- Your path of learning, be it experiential or online, is the applicant’s choice.
- Fund for Teachers encourages applicants to focus on topics and issues most directly facing our nation at this time, including but not limited to equity, diversity, inclusion, climate change and civic engagement. Teachers on the front lines of education see firsthand the challenges facing their students, schools, and communities; we welcome fellowship proposals that aim to resolve these issues, as well.
For more tips on starting your Fund for Teachers grant proposal, visit our Application Learning Center. The deadline for 2021 grants is January 21. We look forward to seeing how you propose impacting student learning by furthering your own!