Monday, October 5, 2015

Call to Improve Teacher Education: New or Continual?

I am currently reading a very interesting book by Shelly Sherman, associate professor of education at Lake Forest College entitled: "Teacher Preparation as an Inspirational Practice."

She shares some  examples of recommendations from across time on how we conduct teacher education in the 21st century.

"The world, and our country with it, is on the verge of a new and revolutionary era. The changes that have already occurred are only a beginning. Whether man can meet and master them remains a question. If that question is to be answered as we pray it may be, education must meet the challenge. The schools provided for by our future citizens must prepare them to make a better world. The schools must change. And if the schools are to change, teachers must change as well. This calls for a change in teacher education.
(American Council on Education, 1946, p. 272)

"In striving to answer students' demands - in some, perhaps many, of our institutions - we are learning to listen anew. We are learning to work with our prospective teachers in new, exciting, and creative ways. many of our institutions are accommodating these new forces and working toward a transformation of their personnel and their programs."
(Engbreton, 1969, p. 24)

"New policies are needed for teacher education that recognized its pivotal role strengthening the teaching profession. Sweeping changes are required both in institutional structure of teacher education and in the curriculum offered to the students. Through much has been learned in recent years that can inform the education of teachers, an event greater effort must now be made to provide a solid foundation of research under an intellectual framework that teacher educators can use to develop the kinds of teachers the nation needs."
(Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986, pp. 71 and 73)

"Notwithstanding debates about the evidence, it is clear that devastating public critiques of "traditional" teacher preparation are influencing how the education community conducts and uses research in, on and for teacher education. In conjunction with the push for evidence-based policies and practices, there is intense pressure on teacher educators and others to measure the impact of teacher education on pupil learning and to assemble persuasive evidence that teacher preparation makes a difference."
(Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2005, p. 43)

Concerns are ongoing:
  • Report from September 30, 2015, indicates: Teacher-training programs are in need of improvement, according to educators and teacher trainers who participated in a discussion this week in Washington, D.C. At issue, they said, is that many teachers enter the classroom unprepared and with little or no experience in handling such issues as diversity and childhood trauma. The Hechinger Report (9/30)

I hope that agricultural teacher education can continue to collaborate as a profession to ensure that quality candidates are prepared to delivery school-based agricultural education programs wherever there are students and communities in need.