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Topic: PART IV: To Touch the Future
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,035
Registered: 12/3/04
PART IV: To Touch the Future
Posted: Dec 16, 1999 10:32 AM
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***************************************************************
Note: This is PART IV of To Touch the Future. You should have received
PARTS I, II, III earlier.
Reminder: The full report can be downloaded from http://www.acenet.edu/
***************************************************************

FINDINGS (continued)

NUMBER 3: Strong and effective teacher education programs share common
characteristics.

The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (1997) stated that
the most important features for ensuring high-quality outcomes for teacher
education, regardless of the length of the program, are: (a) a common
vision of good teaching that is apparent in all coursework and clinical
expe-rience; (b) well-defined standards of practice and performance that
guide and measure courses and clinical work; (c) a rigorous core
curriculum; (d) extensive use of problem-based
methods, including case studies, research on teaching issues, performance
assessments, and portfolio evaluation; and (e) strong relationships with
reform-minded local schools that support the development of common
knowledge and shared beliefs among school and university faculty.

A review commissioned by this Task Force (Scannell, 1999) found that other
characteristics of successful programs include: (a) arts and sciences
faculty and education faculty have developed an effective way to combine
their contributions; (b) the program is supported by the central
administration of the institution and by school leaders in the community;
(c) applicants seeking to become teachers are admitted through a
thoughtfully designed process of matriculation; (d) graduates of teacher
education programs are carefully guided into and supported in a community
of teachers
and learners, not just cut adrift after graduation; (e) program
elements-especially subject matter learning and clinical training-are
tightly articulated, with practice coupled to theory; and (f) program
quality and outcomes are carefully, independently, and continuously
assessed.

There are multiple educational routes to a teaching career today. The
four-year undergraduate degree continues to be the most common, but some
campuses now require a fifth year to add teacher preparation to a liberal
arts major. However, states increasingly are mandating a master's degree
for teachers, which requires a year or two of study beyond the
baccalaureate. At the same time, there also are a growing number of
nontraditional programs of varying length that are targeted at specific
populations such as paraprofessionals, career changers, or adults
reentering the job market.

We are aware of many of the attributes shared by programs that prepare
high-quality teachers. However, we need more experimentation and innovation
in crafting programs for the education of teachers. Above all, we need
reliable evaluation of the links between program design and performance of
grad-uates in the classroom. Indeed, we need to know much more. Still, one
conclusion is clear: Teachers require more and better preparation than ever
before.

In 1992-93, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) inventoried
the college entrance examination scores and college transcripts of more
than 10,000 college graduates nationwide whose career progress is being
followed for 12 years. An analysis of these data indicates that students who
became secondary school teachers had academic records com-parable to the
group as a whole. Those who became elementary school teachers, however,
enrolled in more remedial classes in college than other students, scored
less well on standardized aptitude tests, and took less challenging courses
(Henke et al., 1996). The Educational Testing Service found a similar
pattern of lower test scores among elementary school teachers when it
compared the SAT scores of all college grad-uates
to the scores of those passing the state licensure subject assessments test
called Praxis II (Educational Testing Service, 1999a). The 1992 National
Adult Literacy Survey, however, showed that literacy skills of teachers
were indistinguishable from those of other college-educated adults
(Educational
Testing Service, 1999b).

The research data reveal that entrance requirements for prospective
elementary school teachers are generally lower than for other future
teachers. Recent international test results showed, however, that American
fourth graders performed better than their peers in other nations in
mathemat-ics
and science, while American secondary school students demonstrated
substantial deficiencies in relation to their peers from other countries
(NCES, 1999c). How or whether the achievement scores of students in the
earlier grades relate to the academic performance of the students' teachers
is unclear. It would be useful to have evidence on the importance of
attributes such as motivation, dedication, and a passion for children and
learning as we assess the qualities that teachers need in the primary
grades. However, it is clear that colleges and universities need to
intensify their efforts to
recruit into the teaching profession the ablest of America's college
students and to set high standards for admission into teacher education
programs.
---------------------
Sidebar: Colleges and universities need to intensify their efforts to
recruit into the teaching profession the ablest of America's college
students and to set high standards for admission into teacher education
programs.
---------------------
PART V will arrive very soon.
***********************************************************

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618) 453-4244
Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)
(618) 457-8903 (home)
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu

mailto://jbecker@siu.edu





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