Teacher Team Externship Program
The Academies of Nashville are committed to providing students with meaningful, hands-on learning in context. Inquiry-based teaching and project-based learning are key components of the Academies' goal of teaching students how to think critically and creatively to solve problems in the classroom and the real world. In order to bring these ideas to MNPS classrooms, academy partners all over Nashville have joined forces with the Academies of Nashville to educate teachers about the realities of working life in different careers. The result of this collaboration is the Teacher Team Externship Program. This program supports the collaboration of business professionals and teacher teams. The Teacher Team Externship is a four-day opportunity for teachers to have a real-world business experience at a host organization to develop a project-based curriculum that gives students industry exposure and applied learning. A teacher team works together to create interdisciplinary projects that reinforce the theme of their academy across subject areas.
A team of 4–5 teachers representing a high school academy spends three days working with the company, learning about the industry, and assisting in the business’s daily work. The final day of the externship focuses on the creation of an interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum that will be implemented in the team’s academy. Business hosts spend time with the teacher team to hear the curriculum presentation and provide feedback. This collaboration between educators and industry professionals creates more realistic and academically rigorous instruction for students in the Academies of Nashville.
By experiencing the workplace environment in their career theme, teachers gain a strong understanding of the industry and are more capable of showing students how academic studies will apply in their professional lives. This four-day experience also allows teachers to cultivate valuable connections with industry professionals. These relationships further enrich the classroom experience for students as authentic industry expertise permeates instruction.
The Academies of Nashville benefit greatly from the willingness of community partners to open their doors and share their knowledge with Nashville's high school students. The Teacher Team Externship Program is just another way that the Academies of Nashville are changing the way high school education is done in Nashville.