MIT Teaching Systems Lab Practice Spaces

Practice Spaces

Creating learning environments to support teacher's practice

About Practice Spaces

At the Teaching Systems Lab, we develop teacher practice spaces– learning environments, inspired by games and simulations, that help novice teachers rehearse for and reflect on important decisions in teaching. Currently, teacher candidates primarily learn in two spaces: the graduate school of education’s Socratic seminar room and the practicum classroom. The former affords discussion and the latter affords immersion into the challenges of teaching, but a third space–a practice space–is needed that combines the authenticity of the practicum classroom with the control and scaffolding of the GSE seminar room. Building on existing research into role-playing, simulations, and other forms of “approximation” in teacher education, our practice spaces create more targeted opportunities to practice specific dimensions of teaching that can be systematically improved and reintegrated into the whole complex assemblage of teaching.

Teacher Moments (Media Interactive Case Studies) presents novice teachers with short classroom scenarios and gives them spaces to practice their responses to students in the moment.

An interactive, web-based simulation which immerses participants in short vignettes of classroom discussions calling upon participants to provide responses to complex situations and student interactions.

Using rubrics can free learners to pursue diverse paths while still getting constructive feedback and credit for great work.

BalderMath creates playful ways for teachers to practice student perspective taking and diagnose student misunderstandings of math concepts.

Committee of N is a card game that helps teachers in training investigate and discuss the history of schooling in America. Students dive into the learning theories, purposes, and design their own schools. This game helps players build collaboration, planning, and communication skills.

Motivation Station is an in-person card game that creates scenarios for novice and experienced teachers to practice applying principles of cognitive science to motivating students.

ELK is a conversational role-playing game for pre-service teachers to practice understanding student preconceptions and questioning strategies.

A game for teachers to practice authentically connecting student strengths and interests to computer science.