Attentional Teaching Practices (ATP) is a year-long, 2 credit course taught at the University of Pittsburgh for Master’s in Teaching students who are getting certified to teach middle and high school. ATP was co-created and taught by Dr. Tanner Wallace, a University of Pittsburgh expert in psychological dynamics in middle and high school classrooms, and Shannon Wanless. These courses aim to teach preservice teachers to attend to the psychological space for learning by learning about adolescent development and four main principles of teaching: Authenticity, Acceptance, Power-Sharing, and Balance. In ATP, preservice teachers learn meditation techniques in order to increase their self-awareness of their own role in shaping classroom interactions, and to recognize their own emotional triggers. The ultimate goal of ATP is to help preservice teachers learn to create a classroom space that is optimal for delivering the high-quality pedagogical practices that they learn in their other courses at Pitt.
In Fall 2017, a 3 credit ATP course will begin being offered to the early childhood teacher certification students in the Combined Accelerated Studies in Education (CASE) program at Pitt. Plans for researching the development of preservice teachers’ ability to notice and positively impact the psychological space for learning are underway.