Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Common Sense Reform for Teacher Preparation

LDH and David Haselkorn lay out the common sense (and data-informed) argument for improving pre-service teacher training:

Fortunately, value-added studies conducted in several states have begun to identify the features of teacher-preparation programs whose graduates have strong positive impacts in the classroom. Effective programs build on solid content knowledge with pedagogical training that offers concrete, research-based tools for practice. This coursework is tightly linked to student-teaching with expert practitioners in carefully selected placements that reflect the kinds of settings in which candidates will later teach. Candidates are assessed on their performance, receive detailed feedback, and learn to evaluate their teaching in relation to student learning.

Key to these and other powerful programs, including the best of the new urban residency models, is strong clinical training—at least a full academic year of apprenticeship in the classrooms of excellent practitioners who model sophisticated strategies with students having a wide range of learning needs. This allows novices to integrate theory with practice as they develop the complex skills needed to plan and adapt instruction, assess student progress, diagnose learning difficulties, and meet student needs.

As I see it:

  1. Get everyone together and specify a new model for high-quality teacher education. I actually believe a broad spread of stakeholders could find common ground around the specifics. The general idea, that teachers should be well trained and empowered is the actual problem.
  2. Create rigorous program to certify programs in ed schools (or other types of partnerships) that meet the above design.
  3. Provide full scholarships, including health care and stipends for time spent teaching, to at least a significant sub-set of teachers accepted into the above programs for students who agree to teach for at least five years in a high-poverty school district.

It seems pretty obvious to me.

btw, Teacher U is not teacher prep, it is for in-service teachers.

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