|Does Teacher Education Need Reform?|
|posted by: Alix | November 18, 2010, 04:20 PM|
Recently experts have focused their attention on not only the need to reform the classroom, but the need for reform in educating our future teachers. Many colleges of education have done little to keep up with emerging technologies and teaching techniques. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan once said, "Our university-based teacher preparation programs need revolutionary change, not evolutionary tinkering." To that end, an emphasis on intense in-classroom training has been the focus of change for a new pilot program being introduced in eight states.
Yesterday, a report issued by an expert panel at the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education was released as means to recommend strategies in improving teacher education. Among the many recommendations, they advise creating formal mentorship programs for student teachers akin to those at medical schools. The focus would be less on in-classroom lessons and more on training in the field, much like a medical residency.
According to State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who is co-chairwoman of the expert panel, "Teaching, like medicine, is a profession of practice, making clinical preparation the centerpiece of teacher education will transform the way we prepare teachers."
Instead of exposing student teachers to varied classroom experiences at the end of their academic years, the new program would put a greater emphasis on getting student teachers into classrooms earlier and often. It could include rounds, similar to the system used in teaching hospitals in which mentors provide constant critiques to students in real-life situations. The expert panel also recommended incorporating new technologies into teacher training, including online and video demonstrations as well as case-study analysis by teachers.
The reform of teacher education programs would be revolutionary according to Zimpher, stating, "This is huge, a real turning point."
This is an issue that is in desperate need of attention according to the Secretary of Education. "There is little or no accountability for turning out effective teachers," Duncan said, calling for "outcome-based" reviews of teacher trainings. "It is time to start holding teacher preparation programs far more accountable for the impact of their graduates on student learning and achievement."
This new pilot program would take place in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and New York. It is expected to be in place in colleges within two years first elements utilized in the fall of 2011.
Do you feel your education adequately prepared you for the classroom?