International Panel: Bridging Policy and Practice
A Focus on Teacher Preparation

Part II
Mathematics Teacher Preparation:
Cases of In-service Teacher Education
via Collaborative Communities

General Introduction

  1. After the discussion described in Part I, the group concentrated on examining the questions originally presented for the seminar: What kind of subject matter preparation, and how much of it, do prospective teachers need? Are there differences by grade level? Are there differences by subject area?
  2. What kinds of pedagogical preparation, and how much of it, do prospective teachers need? Are there differences by grade level? Are there differences by subject area?
  3. What kind, timing, and amount of clinical training ("student teaching") best equip prospective teachers for classroom practice?
  4. What policies and strategies have been used successfully by universities, school districts, and other organizations to improve and sustain the quality of teacher education?
  5. What are the components and characteristics of high-quality alternative certification programs?

To focus the conversation and to relate it to more closely to the participants' experiences, the group chose to consider in-service teacher education through collaborative communities. These decisions were made for a variety of reasons but primarily because differences across countries in the area of in-service training could be generally grouped and considered by looking at how in-service was provided through collaborative communities. In-service teacher education had a common meaning across the countries, although not practiced in the same manner by all. And while in-service teacher education was deemed necessary by all, variations in culture and practice brought the group to a common understanding that if how the training was provided, by whom, and through what agencies came to be called collaborative communities, then a common ground was established for discussion. A collaborative community generally will mean that teachers are involved in the planning and implementation of in-service.

Even with this understanding, collaborative communities might have slightly different meanings in different countries. To make the interpretation clear, each country presented a "case" for the country. These cases were used to consider similarities and differences in the collaborative communities of each country which led to the organization of the work. The description below begins with a brief discussion of the methodology used in developing the ideas. Second, the material is organized by an overview of In-service Training through Collaborative Communities presented in a chart with different countries listed with the possible commonalities. Third, there are brief case studies from several countries followed by, fourth, general conclusions and implications of the work.

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