Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

June 7, 2011

What additions or changes can colleges make to better prepare teacher?

#Edchat 05 – 31 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

This #edchat topic was a very interesting one. There seemed to be many different experiences among the group. The summary has been expertly prepared by Michael Zimmer (@MZimmer557) and he has brought together all the threads into a great digest of all the thoughts. As he explains here our world today is somewhat different from the one many of us trained for. Thank you for a great post Michael. You can find out more about Michael in his bio at the end of the post.

Having missed the passed few #edchats because of other obligations, it appeared that I returned for a thought-provoking discussion about teacher education programs.  My personal experiences were mixed.  I had several good professors and several others who obviously were out of touch with what education was like in the 90’s and now in the 21st Century.  Education is constantly going through various reforms, especially lately, yet little emphasis in those reforms has focused on teacher education programs.  Are they working?  Most educators have heard the statistic that half of the new teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years.  If that is the case, then shouldn’t there be a focus on those that are preparing teachers for the workplace?  If teacher education programs are properly preparing students for the classroom this statistic would not be so staggering.   

    Another issue facing teacher education programs is preparing teachers to teach in the 21st century and prepare teachers to use educational technology.  In my personal experiences in teacher preparation there were two things that were constantly emphasized: My Philosophy of Education and Creating Lesson Plans, which is something over time that has had little impact on my actual teaching.  Beneficial classes would have been how to integrate and use technology with students.  Teacher education programs need to hire professors that are knowledgeable about this technology and how to use it.

    When I look back, it is interesting to me that my teacher education program was about 24-30 hours of course work, but my content area was 3-4 times as much.  If teaching is the primary goal at graduation from college, shouldn’t there be an equal amount of classes.  It is apparent that all that content knowledge won’t help teachers if they don’t get a quality education on how to be a great teacher.  During student teaching we would return to campus and meet with groups of other student teachers.  There was always stuff planned for us.  It would have been more beneficial for us to communicate with each other our experiences. 

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • More in class time with students and teachers.  There needs to be more interaction between college students in teacher education with teachers and students in the schools
  • More classes related to learning how to use technology as an engagement tool.
  • To much focus on methodology and theories and not enough focus on real world teaching
  • More mentoring among teachers and professors
  • More opportunities for teachers to get into the classroom while in the teacher education program
  • Professors need to go back to the classroom so they are not out of the loop on what is going on in the classroom
  • More focus on why they teach the content, not necessarily what they content is
  • Teacher preparation needs to include more about classroom management, dealing with parents, the extras duties that come with the job, special education, and school law
  • More emphasis on what it means to teach in the 21st century

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.
@CTuckerEnglish: I felt really prepared for teaching, but not for teaching in an increasingly digital society.
@davidwees: Every teacher’s college should spend some time talking alternative education systems. (especially in the 21st century)
@maryannesacco: More time with practical in-class experiences with cooperating teacher–PT conferences, lesson planning, teacher pd meetings
@teachersnet: It can’t be repeated too often: pre-teaching programs must include more classroom management training
@stumpteacher: IMO teacher ed programs I have been in and worked with miss the boat. Teaching kids how to teach 30-50 years ago. Not current.
@iteach4change: teacher ed programs need more on tech, special needs, and politics/finance of education; also more on culturally responsive teaching
@davidwees: Teacher education systems should spend time focusing on building people who expect to learn continuously, rather than sporadically
@kegluskin I had many field placements in different grades &urban & suburban environments which helped me feel comfortable in all settings
@cybraryman1 Yes teachers should be prepared for all different types of learners
@ericjuli Teacher Ed programs should teach high school teachers to believe they teach kids first, not content
@Tina_Barr: More mentoring in the classroom as part of the college curriculum could prove effective
@davidwees: If our classrooms are supposed to be student centred, so too should our teacher colleges.
@tomwhitby: teacher prep might improve if cooperating teachers were trained as to what to do w/student teachers.
@ShellTerrell: Teacher Ed programs should have a course designed on effective communication w/ parents, admin, students! Not enough comm in edu
@davidwees: How many teacher colleges invite alumni back to talk about their experiences? Share their ideas?
@MZimmer557: Allow more teachers with Master’s in education and administration to teach the courses…not professors far removed from classroom
@Whtevri4c: Faculty should go back to the classroom for a semester every three years to stay current.
@tomwhitby: College classes can make good teachers. Great teachers are made from their own classes
@davidwees: Idea: 1 year of preparation followed by 1 year of teaching, followed by a summer (at least) back in teacher college.
@txlibraryguy: Tech skills, theory and practice are great, but young teachers need confidence and coping skills or they won’t stay in profession.
 @chrisemdin: Teacher prep is missing metacognitive reflection. Teachers must learn to think about how & why they teach the way they do

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

 As ever, there were some great links shared:

http://davidwees.com/content/apprenticeship-model-teaching

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7587781.html

http://www.gapfillers.co.uk/default.aspx?atk=6684&vrk=6720

http://mbfxc.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/i-am-change /

http://wrightslaw.com /

– @mbfxc:  http://t.co/V1csZ63  #edchat

My name is Michael Zimmer (@MZimmer557) and I am currently a Technology Integration Specialist in a school district in Kentucky.  I will be returning to the classroom next school year to teach Social Studies and am looking forward to using and integrating several of the things I have learned since using Twitter professionally.  I also write the blog: The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness

 

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