EI’s largest affiliate, the National Education Association (NEA) in the United States has announced an initiative, the NEA Master Teacher Project, to fund the redesign and expansion of BetterLesson's site and pay 95 math and English language arts teachers selected by an intense vetting process $15,000 to record and share all of their lesson plans -- an entire year's worth. The union said the lesson plans will create a practical body of support for teachers.
Quality lessons plans made available
The education union has paid BetterLesson$3.6 million to expand its "Master Teacher" program, initially funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for one year. The initiative will recruit teachers the NEA and the company deem the best in the country and pay them $15,000 a year to make all of their lesson plans and related materials available on line for fellow teachers. Teachers will keep their rights to the lessons, but the website will have a license to use them.
The creators of the NEA project said it will provide both “the what” (lesson plans) and “the how” (instructional philosophies and implementation tips) to teachers seeking fresh ideas. The NEA and BetterLesson will assess teachers' selected for the project by the quality of the curricula and lessons, in addition to the record of their students' achievement through standardized test scores or students' projects.
Teachers sharing professional resources crucial
“This initiative will allow educators to come together to access and share high-quality teaching resources,” noted EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “It will be valued by classroom teachers and enhances the value of trade union membership for individual teachers,” he said.
“A big challenge for teachers remains to find good places with online resources where they can share and develop their professional practice. This new initiative by NEA is one such place, giving teachers in often resource-starved public schools tools, ideas and insights as developed by fellow teachers,” van Leeuwen stressed.
It will complement the ShareMyLesson site, which the American Federation of Teachers supports, in partnership with the British company, TSL education. This is an open source site which facilitates the exchange of ideas and good practices between teachers.