Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What is the Best Way to Prepare Professional Educators?

The article describes an immersion teaching program in Boston focusing on "what's coming to be called "practice-based" teacher education."  Charter schools, private faith based schools and city school districts that have struggled to find teachers (such as NYC in the 90's) have often used similar programs to fill classrooms.  Sometimes, there is even less support than the Boston program describe in this article. 
The vast differences in teacher preparation are perhaps even greater than might be noticed on quick look and may, in fact, may be most evident as these teachers move on in their disciplines with a focus on teaching with one, specific learned and practiced technique.  As noted in the article, the perspective is that teachers can just be "trained" for their job with a specific skill set rather than become reflective practitioners with diverse skills sets who differentiate to meet the needs of individual student and ever changing academic demands. 

I really wonder if a technician is going to be best able to promote the "deeper learning" and questioning that is the hallmark  of teaching today.   I wonder if you would want your surgeon to have only one learned way to operate on your cancer?  I question if teaching is a field where we want to know what has happened in the past so that we do not repeat mistakes?  Is teaching a skill or is it a profession? 

Without leading the witness, my own perspective is clear.  To prepare our students for the diverse and every changing world in which they will live, we need teachers with sound philosophical foundations who also know multiple ways to approach any new situation.  We need teachers who question and see answers, teachers who seek and find innovative ways to approach behavior and learning.  After many years of teaching, I have watched teachers (and administrators) whose foundations for their profession were built without a theoretical base for what they do.  They usually struggle to accept change and focus on a narrow and limited view of what should be based on what they know! 


1 comment:

Ms. Diller said...

Teaching is undoubtedly as skill that, while it can be taught, is innate. The best educators, in my opinion, are those that never cease to learn-- those that pride themselves on never knowing enough. This is definitely one way to combat the unmoving stance later in our careers. If you keep learning, you keep growing!