AATC National Convention - Maine College of Art

In October, MAT faculty Fern Tavalin and Kelly McConnell will be presenting early efforts to create visual benchmarks that show the developing expertise of teacher candidates as they learn to create engaging learning environments for PK-12 students.

Below you’ll find the paper presented at the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC) conference along with supporting materials that show how the program’s Collaborative Circle of Learning affects the individual, the cohort, the faculty, and the teacher mentors.


With ever changing standards pouring out verbal directives to school systems and institutions of higher education, we exchange words and text-based benchmarks as representations of high quality teaching and learning. But, do we ever know what we really mean? And how frequently do we take the time to develop a common notion of quality? Drawing from centuries of studio practice in the arts and from the field of conversation theory, we are embarking on a five-year journey to collaboratively develop visual benchmarks, providing multimedia evidence of our teacher candidate performance. On the way, student teachers are learning how to look for standards in action, and teacher mentors are participating in rich professional development experiences. A sense of mutual gain is keeping members of the system engaged and excited to participate.


Adrienne Kitko, a 2015 MAT candidate, posted this clip for peer response early in her elementary placement. She explains, “This edited video shows the second day of a quilling lesson with second graders. We read the agenda on the board together, recapped what we learned the previous lesson, learned a new vocabulary word- reflect/reflective, and our purpose for learning quilling. With this project I am trying to foster social learning and initiate students to learn from one another.”


Adrienne then posted this clip for peer response early in her high school placement. She explains, “I had students do an Exquisite Corpse game with their newly acquired pen and ink skills. I realized the majority of students needed reminders of how much pressure to apply to the crow quill pen and how to achieve texture. I used a critique method called Glow and Grow to encourage students to look closer at their work and the work of their peers. My intention was to use peer feedback to gain insight and knowledge about what to do next for the next pen and ink project.”


Angela Zukowski, a 2016 MAT candidate presents a visual account of the early stages of developing a personal teaching style. She matches her dispositions with student dispositions and interests and selects two frameworks that may be effective for both her style and student learning. Be sure to read the notes at the bottom of each slide.


This slide show was used during the December 2014 mentor teacher orientation. It shows the discussion procedures used to foster conversations among mentors and teacher candidates about selected video clips, using the Learning Environment assessment tool as a lens.

Meet the Faculty

  • KellyMC Kelly McConnell
  • FernTFern Tavalin