Externships and Beyond: Work-Based Learning for Teachers as a Promising Strategy for Increasing the Relevance of Secondary Education

Externships and work-based learning activities help educators gain insights into the needs and expectations of the workplace and tailor their curriculum and instructional practices to better reflect workforce competencies. Additionally, bridging connections between educators and industry positions teachers to provide more work-based learning opportunities for students and builds their capacity to provide more project-based learning and other classroom-based exercises.

This white paper from Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) draws on a survey of 850 secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) educators and interviews with 11 state-level CTE leaders to explore work-based learning and professional development strategies for CTE teachers. The paper provides a typology of teacher work-based learning activities, from short-term team work-based learning to extended individual externships, and profiles different examples, including:

  • California's Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education Summer Fellowship Program
  • Iowa's Real World Externships for Teachers of Mathematics, Science and Technology
  • The Massachusetts Leadership Initiatives for Teaching and Technology program¬†
  • The Academies of Nashville Teacher Team Externships
  • The Teachers in Business Externship Program in St. Johns County, Florida
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October 2014