Integrating the Science of Learning and Development into Teacher Education

October 26, 2020

In 2019, the Woodrow Wilson Graduate School of Teaching and Learning (now the High Meadows Graduate School of Teaching and Learning) and MIT’s Playful Journey Lab undertook a project with the goal of incorporating the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) throughout the teacher education program. This decision to redesign the program to integrate the Science of Learning and Development came after a process in which Grounding Practice in the Science of Learning & Development was identified as one of five core competencies and thus a pillar of the program.

In order to make this goal a reality, a team was designated to guide the process of integrating SoLD into the curriculum. The team consisted of a learning scientist, a design researcher, and a learning designer with knowledge of the curriculum as a whole. This interdisciplinary team had the mix of skills and knowledge necessary to develop a SoLD plan that is well suited for the specific context of the Woodrow Wilson Graduate School. To further ensure programmatic coherence, this team regularly provided updates to and sought feedback from the Woodrow Wilson Graduate School faculty and staff throughout the process.

This paper is one of the products of this project. In this paper, we argue that teacher education should introduce SoLD findings to a new generation of teachers who will be positioned to use these findings in their own classrooms. We also detail the steps we have taken so far, as well as those we plan to take in the future, to achieve this vision of teacher education grounded in SoLD. We summarize what we learned from our process in a number of key takeaways at the end of each section so that other teacher preparation programs interested in SoLD may draw from them in their own SoLD integration process. We believe that the processes and materials developed during this project can be a design resource for other teacher education programs.