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A Think Twice Review of:

Fast Start: Training Better Teachers Faster, with Focus, Practice, and Feedback

Think Twice - May 29, 2014

Publisher/Think Tank - TNTP

Author(s) - Ana Menezes and Adam Maier

The report recommends giving new teachers the tools they need to be successful and proposes a five-week pre-service preparation model. The recommendations include several strategic changes: (1) a narrower curriculum focused only on the most essential teaching skills; (2) an emphasis on practicing skills instead of just learning about them; and (3) intensive coaching that provides regular, specific feedback on changes to instructional techniques.

Reviewer(s) - William J. Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder

In his review, Mathis finds that neither report is grounded in research. He also singles out problems in each report. Time to Improve ignores a large body of recent experience and research that cautions against its proposal to the extent that the use of standardized tests scores to assess the quality of teacher preparation programs. Mathis calls the proposed changes in Fast Start "basic survival training" and not teacher preparation. Fast Start fails to show how proposed changes are superior to other approaches.