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The Importance of Revised Teacher Preparation Programs
posted by: Alana | May 05, 2016, 08:49 PM   


I was raised hearing the phrase, “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. Those that can’t teach, teach teachers.” Although this is a damning statement that greatly offends me as a classroom teacher of 29 years, I have wondered if there is any truth to it - at least the last part of that phrase.


I question the truth of that statement because during the fall of 2015, I was engaged as a National Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group conducting focus groups and surveying teachers regarding the quality, or lack thereof, of teacher preparation. As a group we surveyed nearly 2000 teachers throughout the entire nation. As an AAE member, I worked with AAE teachers from across the country to gather data. We heard from teachers in suburban, rural, and urban districts, ranging from one to 31 years of experience and across all grade levels. We surveyed teachers from every kind of teacher preparation program, and a majority felt they were not prepared for the realities of the classroom regarding specific student populations.


While I completed my teacher preparation program three decades ago, I still reflect on its value and where I am as a teacher today. Times are very different than when I first began as a teacher. Society has changed, and so has educational policy as “the powers that be” try to finally get it right. No longer are the days when I can shut my door and teach as an island. In thirty years, training has changed from creating master teachers to developing master learners. However, I have to ask, have teacher-training programs sufficiently evolved to truly meet the needs of various types of schools, classrooms, and learners? Based upon the results of our surveys and focus groups, I would respond with a resounding no.


Find out why AAE member Jill Cullis says that teacher-training programs have failed to prepare teachers for their work in the classroom in our latest edition of Education Matters.


Did you feel your teacher prep programs prepared YOU for life in the classroom?
Tell us in the comments below.


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