Practice Spaces

We conclude that, in the program we studied, prospective teachers have fewer opportunities to engage in approximations that focus on contingent, interactive practice than do novices in the other two professions we studied.

Grossman et al. (2009)

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.

Click here to see a full list of our practice spaces.

Surfacing And Addressing Bias In Teaching

Justice and equity issues affect all aspects of our society, and even teachers who care deeply about their students may not recognize all of the ways that bias can impact their teaching.

Field studies have shown that a person’s name, gender or race can influence how others interact with them in ways that appear to be systematically biased (Bertrand and Duflo 2016). Researchers have found evidence of these kinds of biased behavior when a hiring manager reviews resumes as part of a job application (Bertrand 2004), when a professor responds to emails asking for appointment times (Milkman et al. 2015), and when teachers grade students’ work (Lavy 2008; Cornwell et al. 2013). Additionally, sharing racial, ethnic or gender attributes with students can influence teachers’ educational expectations for their students (Gershenson et al. 2016). There’s also early evidence of other types of bias in research laboratory settings, including teachers deciding which students should be admitted into honors society (Axt et al. 2016), and teachers focusing attention on which students are most likely to misbehave (Gilliam et al. 2016).

If we can help teachers identify where bias may be unintentionally affecting their students, and develop their skills in addressing bias, then we may be able to help them create more just and equitable classrooms.

Click here to read more about helping teachers surface and address bias with Online Practice Spaces.




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

Committee of N 

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.

Teacher Moments 

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.

Motivation Station 

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.

Eliciting Learner Knowledge 

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

Surfacing And Addressing Unconscious Bias 

Justice and equity issues affect all aspects of our society, and even teachers who care deeply about their students may not recognize all of the ways that bias can impact their teaching.

Swipe Right 

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


Personalized learning and project based learning allow for more creativity and can lead to deeper learning experiences, but diverse deliverables can be confusing to evaluate.

Roster Justice 

The decisions behind creating class rosters can be complex and depend on multiple factors. To create equitable access and support a positive student experience, student demographics (such as race, gender, and disability status) should be a central factor.

Discussion Leader 

In our increasingly polarized political climate, how can teachers effectively engage students in productive conversations about hot-button political topics such immigration, police shootings, and gun control? “Discussion Leader,” is an interactive, web-based simulation which immerses teachers and teacher candidates in short vignettes of classroom discussions calling upon participants to provide responses to complex situations and student interactions.

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