Teacher preparation programs should be “turned upside down,” with more emphasis on supervised classroom teaching experience than educational theory, a National Council for Accreditation of Education panel recommended this week.
One thing that strikes me about the report is the language that evokes medical training — “clinical” preparation, “residencies,” and “rounds.” Maybe it’s nothing new, but it’s interesting to me, especially since accountability and performance pay discussions so often lead to comparisons of the teaching and medical professions.
Ed Week’s Stephen Sawchuck wrote a detailed piece about the recommendations and what they might mean. Here is an excerpt of his story:
… the report by the NCATE panel, which was set up in January, outlines recommendations for how states, universities, and school districts can work together to improve teacher-candidates’ student-teaching. (See “NCATE Panel Weighing Fieldwork for Student-Teachers,” Jan. 20, 2010.) Among them is the importance of getting districts to take a more active role in the preparation of teachers, by working with training programs to design rich field experiences.
“The whole district has to believe that their future depends on helping us prepare teachers,” said Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York system and the co-chairwoman of the NCATE panel.
Ms. Zimpher underscored that clinical approaches to teacher preparation can include a variety of methods and ideally knit together several, including the residency model; “rounds” in which teacher-candidates are exposed to a number of school settings; and simulations that allow teacher-candidates to practice their skills on virtual students.
But all programs that prepare teachers need to provide such experiences, she said. They should no longer be confined to a “cottage industry” of best practices located in a handful of initiatives.
What do you think of the recommendations? Which of them are already in place in some local programs?
Teachers: How well did your teacher training prepare you for the classroom?