Only one degree of separation… “ ‘65 was / is alive !”
A Context for Our Discussion: some recent headlines on teaching and teacher education
William Sanders (1997) “What we have consistently found in…research…is that the single largest factor affecting academic growth among students is the teacher. The teacher makes all other effects pale in comparison.”
The Abell Foundation (2001) “This process, known as teacher certification, is neither an efficient nor an effective means by which to ensure a competent teaching force. Worse, it is often counterproductive.”
Rod Paige (2002) U.S. Secretary of Education “We must move from producing education majors to producing teachers”
The Abell Foundation (2001) “The most consistent finding is that effective teachers score higher on tests of verbal ability…”
Rod Paige (2002) “Is current teacher preparation adequate to meet the demands of No Child Left Behind? ”
James W. Fraser (2001) Education Week “People have lost confidence in the traditional routes to certification: through an undergraduate or graduate program on a college campus. Many people have lost confidence, they are angry at the old system and at those of us who have been part of it.”
James W. Fraser (2001) Education Week “The current system is seen as part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
Charles B. Reed (2002) CSUS Chancellor “When graduating good teachers becomes a high priority, all other disciplines will benefit.”
So, where is it that we begin to discuss this issue of the Tomorrows of Teacher Education ?
The Overarching Question: What is the purpose of schooling across this country?
Is it… to ensure that students meet the minimum scores on a set of prescribed proficiencies?
Is it… making sure children become what someone else wants them to become?
Or, is it… helping children to become the very best they can become as individuals?
Is it… graduating a person who has passed a series of proficiency tests?
Or, is it… graduating individuals who are prepared to go out into the world to live full and productive lives, and who in some way positively impact the lives of others?
Individuals who can… reason and make decisions based on data generate new knowledge and create new ideas use critical thinking skills interact well with others and foster a sense of stewardship
We must care about the minds and be passionate about the hearts of our young people!
I suggest… that until we decide what the purpose of schooling is for the children of this nation, the Tomorrows of Teacher Education are now and will forever be blurred.
Teacher educators will need to… be engaged with the P – 12 community to create schools that are learning communities rethink the pathways to and the locations for teacher preparation rethink the academic preparation of candidates model dynamic facilitation of learning for ALL children provide ongoing entry level support of program completers who are new to the workforce raise the profile of teacher education to make it an institutional and a national priority
#1: Be engaged with the P – 12 community to create schools that are learning communities…
which is critical to ensuring that achievement gaps across racial, ethnic, and economic groups are closed and the academic performance of ALL students soars
must break down the barriers that isolate teachers and students while creating and sustaining small and well- focused learning communities – villages where educators collaborate with each other in the best interests of children
must structure schools around what we know about how students and teachers learn and grow
must create places of inquiry where there is a sense of cooperation and ownership on the part of students, teachers, administrators, and parents for teaching and learning – places where children find meaning through engagement in the work
“tell me and I forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.”
“It is our responsibility to have in every classroom a teacher who cares that every student, every day learns and grows and feels like a real human being.” - Don Clifton, SRI
must prepare our candidates, along with ourselves and our graduate students, to be innovators of new classroom and school designs – designs based on how students best learn
#2: Rethink the pathways to and the locations for teacher preparation…
Preparation Pathways knowledge skills dispositions Pathway A Pathway B Pathway C
“teach those who come, rather than those we might wish would come”
must focus our attention on ALL students and how each best learns, rather than how we best teach – take students from where they are and allow them to become the very best they can possibly become at this point in time
“It is like a wagon train heading across this great expanse of learning, no one will be thrown overboard; no one will be left behind. Together, we are ALL going to get there.” - Chauncey Veach
model best and promising practices for our candidates
must learn how to facilitate learning and then move to the sideline to allow students to begin to take responsibility for their own learning – we must learn how to teach with our mouths shut!
#5: Provide ongoing entry level support of program completers who are new to the workforce…
must address where it is that our responsibility ends for the preparation of our candidates, if it ever does
#6: Raise the profile of teacher education to make it an institutional and a national priority…
must be instrumental in bringing P- 12 and higher education leadership together to engage in action oriented work regarding teacher education, making the preparation of teachers the work of all
must allow ourselves to be changed by engaging others from the professional education community to be involved in our struggle to move forward
as a teacher educator, how are you going to develop the “civic courage” to influence the creation of schools that are truly learning communities?
as a teacher educator, how are you going to help blaze new trails for preparing teachers and expand the settings where teacher preparation takes place?
as a teacher educator, how are you going to help ensure program completers have strong, solid academic preparation appropriate for teaching agricultural literacy to ALL students?
as a teacher educator, how are you going to model dynamic facilitation of learning for ALL children?
as a teacher educator, how are you going to provide ongoing entry level support for your program completers who are new to the workforce?
as a teacher educator, how are you going to be proactive in raising the profile of teacher education to make it an institutional and a national priority?
YOU are the ray of hope for the future of teacher education!
May I challenge you to go forth and make a difference in the lives and the learning of the children of this nation by enthusiastically mobilizing the forces to advance the quality of teacher preparation across this country.
If we continue to think about teacher education as it is, it will remain as it is. If we interrupt our paradigms, and begin to dream about what teacher education could become, it will become what it should or could be.
We must be the movers and the shakers of the village; NOT the keepers of the village!
We must rethink and rearrange the dispositions of the profession to forge ahead to…