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iSTEP Institute shares Stanford's approach to teacher education

Prof. (Teaching) Rachel Lotan
Prof. (Teaching) Rachel Lotan

iSTEP Institute shares Stanford's approach to teacher education

Teacher educators from the U.S. and abroad are invited to get an inside look at a renowned program.

CONTACT: Rachel Lotan, Professor (Teaching) and Director, Stanford Teacher Education Program (Secondary), Stanford School of Education
(650) 723-5992,

RELEVANT URLS: Stanford Teacher Education Program:; Photos of iSTEP, February 2010:

STANFORD, CA – Teacher educators from the United States and abroad are invited to apply for the upcoming Inquiry into Stanford Teacher Education Program (iSTEP) Institute, a week-long program that shares Stanford’s approach to successful teacher preparation. The institute will take place from February 13 through February 19, 2011.

Entering its second year, iSTEP convenes teams of teacher-educators from universities and K-12 schools worldwide, giving them the unique opportunity to examine the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP)— an internationally-recognized leader in the field of teacher preparation—from the inside-out. iSTEP participants will analyze STEP’s principles and practices, and meet with STEP teacher candidates, cooperating teachers, and administrators in K-12 schools, as well as university faculty and staff.  Participants will have the opportunity to observe classes at the university and student-teaching placements at partner schools. They will consider how to apply elements of STEP’s approach to enhance their own programs.

“iSTEP is a good way to share what we’ve learned in STEP—how to put into practice the overarching principles of powerful teacher-education—with teacher-educators from around the world,” says Stanford Education Professor Rachel Lotan, who serves as director of STEP. “We open our program so that participants can investigate for themselves and make up their own minds on what is applicable for their own contexts.”  

Lotan created the institute after years of receiving inquiries from national and international educators who wanted to learn about STEP’s approach and methods to improve their teacher education programs. Fifteen participants attended the inaugural program last February, including teacher educators from Catholic University in Chile, the Ministry of Education in Hong Kong, the Azim Premji Foundation in India, and the University of Oslo in Norway. Since attending iSTEP, the teams have formed a support network, sharing updates with each other and with STEP on how they are working toward their goals.

To Indira Vijaysimha, head of the teacher preparation group at the Azim Premji Foundation in Bangalore, India, iSTEP was “a powerful learning experience.” “The care with which STEP selects partner schools was also highlighted during the institute,” she notes, referring to the local K-12 schools where STEP teacher-candidates learn from mentors and student-teach. As a result, Vijaysimha says, “We have made greater efforts than before to build stronger partnerships with the schools where our students go for teaching practice.” She also points to other changes the foundation has made since its participation last February. “Inspired by the classes we observed during iSTEP, group work is now being used very often during classes for student-teachers,” she says.

Inaugural iSTEP participant Kirsti Klette, a professor at the University of Oslo’s Institute of Educational Research in Norway, notes the influence STEP has had in strengthening her teacher preparation program. She reports that her program is currently restructuring its approach to teacher education, ushering in more coherence among university courses, student teaching placements, assignments, and exams.

“Participating teacher-educators and STEP faculty and students have developed strong professional and personal connections because we all have a shared goal: to better serve the students in our countries by improving teacher preparation,” says Lotan. As iSTEP grows, she and other STEP leaders plan to organize annual conferences for iSTEP participants to build on what they have learned.

iSTEP, which includes materials, seminars, visits to local schools, an opening Sunday dinner, and a closing Friday luncheon, will cost each participant $2,500. To learn more about iSTEP, please contact Rachel Lotan at (650) 723-5992 or

About the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP)
The Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) of the Stanford University School of Education is a nationally renowned, innovative program leading to a Master of Arts in Education and a preliminary California teaching credential. STEP aims to cultivate teacher leaders who share a set of core values that includes a commitment to social justice, an understanding of the strengths and needs of a diverse student population, and a dedication to equity and excellence for all students. The program takes an approach to teaching and learning that is sensitive to the family, community, and political contexts of education; focused on the needs and development of diverse learners; and grounded in the study of subject matter that enables inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving, and high academic achievement.

To learn more about STEP, visit


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