Teaching, Learning, and Leading With Schools and Communities: Preparing Sophisticated and Resilient Elementary STEM Educators

Lara K. Smetana, Loyola University Chicago
Charles Tocci, Loyola University Chicago
Elizabeth Coleman, Loyola University Chicago
Ann Marie Ryan

Author Posting. © Rowman and Littlefield, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without permission in writing from Rowman & Littlefield. This article is posted here by permission of Rowman and Littlefield for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Teacher Education and Practice, Volume 26, Issue 2, Spring 2013.


Loyola University Chicago's Teaching, Learning, and Leading With Schools and Communities (TLLSC) program is an ambitious break from traditional university-based teacher preparation models. This clinically based initial teacher preparation program, fully embedded in local schools and community organizations, takes an ecological perspective on the development of sophisticated, reflective, and resilient elementary STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) educators who are able to prepare and inspire students and act as agents of change in their schools. This article describes how TLLSC leverages time for STEM across elementary teacher candidates' entire program through an emphasis on practitioner inquiry and integrated (inter- and transdisciplinary) teaching and learning. TLLSC's innovative approach is designed to foster STEM habits of mind, integrate scientific practices, and support candidates' ongoing self-examination of personal and social applications of STEM for themselves and their future students.