Following are excerpts from the text “Tomorrow’s Teachers: A Report of the Holmes Group, " which the consortium of education deans released April 7. The excerpts include a working draft of the standards and goals for members of the group, which appeared as an appendix to the main report. Final standards will be developed by members of the group.
Copies of the report, “Tomorrow’s Teachers,” may be ordered from the Holmes Group Inc., 501 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, Mich. 48824-1034. Single copies are $6.50 prepaid.
[T]he members of the Holmes Group and their institutions are committed to a broad strategy for reform of teacher education. We recognize that powerful forces are working against major reform. One of these forces, ironically, is the dramatic increase in demand for teachers that will occur over the next several years. If states and localities follow past practice in responding to this demand, by offering temporary certification to unqualified teachers and by allowing certified teachers to teach outside their field of competence, then efforts to reform teacher education will be substantially undermined.
Another force working against major reform of teacher education is, unfortunately, the education-reform movement itself. A number of recent proposals for education reform have suggested that attracting high-quality teachers is a key component of education reform-a principle that we endorse. Reformers have recommended other principles with which we concur: attention to subject-matter competence, differentiated career opportunities, clinical experience, and the like. But none of the reform proposals has addressed the central issue in the improvement of teaching-the professional stature of teachers. Until this is addressed, we will continue to attempt educational reform by telling teachers what to do, rather than empowering them to do what is necessary.
Reform advocates have never fully appreciated the fact that the problems of teacher education mirror society’s failure to treat teaching as a profession. If the rewards, career patterns, working conditions, and professional responsibilities of teachers indicate a second-class occupation, then candidates for teaching and teacher education will tend to follow those expectations. Teacher education cannot be improved in isolation from the profession itself. The Holmes Group is committed not just to the improvement of teacher education but to the construction of a genuine profession of teaching.
Furthermore, policy changes recommended by many reform advocates are only the first stage of lasting reform. Past attempts at large-scale reform show that changes imposed from above, without the concurrence and collaboration of those who must implement them, have limited and unpredictable effects. Changes in the structure and content of teacher education depend, over the long term, on strong linkages among policy-makers, scholars, and practitioners. The Holmes Group is committed to carrying the reform of teacher education into the classroom by establishing strong linkages with schools; into the central office and boardroom by working with local school system.s; and into the state legislative chamber by working for changes in the policies that shape the teaching profession.
At the same time, we recognize that there will be many mistakes, false starts, and unanticipated problems with our proposed agenda. We also recognize that solutions which work in one setting may require adaptation to work in another setting. We foresee that we will learn much about the strength and limits of our proposed agenda in the years ahead. Hence, the Holmes Group is committed to exploring a range of alternatives around several common themes and to sharing the wisdom of experience among ourselves and with others. As we become more confident of solutions to the problems of constructing a teaching profession, we commit ourselves as institutions of teacher education to establish accreditation standards that reflect our five major goals.
To Make the Education of Teachers Intellectually Sound
Competent teaching is a compound of three elements: subject matter knowledge, systematic knowledge of teaching, and reflective practical experience. The established professions have, over time, developed a body of specialized knowledge, codified and transmitted through professional education and clinical practice. Their claim to professional status rests on this. For the occupation of teaching, a defensible claim for such special knowledge has emerged only recently. Efforts to reform the preparation of teachers and the profession of teaching must begin, therefore, with the serious work of articulating the knowledge base of the profession and developing the means by which it can be imparted. The Holmes Group recognizes the central importance of a strong liberal-arts education in the preparation of teachers. Of all professions, teaching should be grounded on a strong core of knowledge because teaching is about the development and transmission of knowledge. With this in mind, the Holmes Group commits itself to phase out the undergraduate education major in member institutions and to develop in its place a graduate professional program in teacher education.
At the same time, the Holmes Group agrees with recent criticisms of the lack of coherence and the lack of focus on enduring questions in undergraduate education. The disciplinary and departmental structure of universities is a symptom of limited faculty involvement and leadership in important issues that extend beyond the boundaries of the academic major. This structure presents major problems for the development of broadly educated people, whether they intend to be teachers or not. In addition, the structure does not encourage university faculty in the academic disciplines or intending teachers to explore systematically the special challenges of teaching academic subjects.
Reform of teacher education must be coupled to changes in undergraduate education. The Holmes Group is aware of the complexities this relationship presents. Members of the group will work with the chief academic officers and departmental colleagues in their institutions to develop strong and intellectually defensible courses in the core subjects, and to interest disciplines and departments in linking subject matter knowledge to teaching.
Providing prospective teachers with strong subject-matter knowledge does not equip them with the understanding or skill necessary to teach that knowledge to someone else. The Holmes Group recognizes serious problems with the way teacher preparation is currently structured. Prospective high-school teachers focus on disciplinary courses and general liberal studies, leaving little room for systematic understanding of how to develop their knowledge and transform it for use by others. Prospective elementary teachers spend substantially more time on pedagogy, but do so at the expense of subject-matter knowledge. Members of the Holmes Group commit themselves to a thorough reassessment of the pedagogical curriculum and to the development of a strong, coherent program of professional education in this area.
Clinical experience is the final element of the intellectual foundation of teaching. Despite the fact that clinical experience is almost universally praised by teachers, it presents some of the most serious problems with existing teacher education. The clinical component of teacher education must be integrated more systematically with research on professional practice, with the reconstruction of the pedagogical curriculum, and with the development of the profession. The Holmes Group is committed to developing clinical experience in a number of settings and to focusing clinical experience on the systematic development of practice, not simply on exposing prospective teachers to experienced teachers.
To Recognize Differences in Knowledge, Skill, andCommitment Among Teachers
Improved teacher education must be accompanied by changes in the structure of the profession. Raising standards of admission, increasing educational requirements, and increasing expectations of knowledge and mastery for teachers will encourage competent applicants only if the rewards of teaching and opportunities for professional advancement are commensurate with the educational requirements. Hence, a differentiated structure is a prerequisite for the construction of a profession of teaching.
The Holmes Group commits itself to the development of a differentiated structure at three levels: the Career Professional Teacher, who would be capable of assuming responsibility not only within the classroom but also at the school level; the Professional Teacher, who would be prepared as a fully autonomous professional in the classroom; and the Instructor, who would be prepared to deliver instruction under the supervision of a Career Professional Teacher. The Holmes Group also commits itself to make the changes in graduate education necessary to prepare professional teachers for this differentiated structure to use its influence to change state and local policy.
To Create Relevant and Defensible Standards of EntryTo the Profession of Teaching
The hallmark of a profession is its responsibility for the quality and competence of its members. This responsibility is twofold: responsibility to the members of the profession for the human and financial investments they have made in their preparation must not be devalued; and responsibility to the public at large that the knowledge and skill of the profession are present in its members. The Holmes Group commits itself to develop and administer a series of Professional Teacher Examinations that provide a responsible basis for decisions on entry to the profession. Because of the limitations of standardized testing in predicting the future performance of teachers, the Holmes Group commits itself to require students to demonstrate mastery of important knowledge and skill through multiple evaluations across multiple domains of competence:
- Students admitted to teacher education will be required to demonstrate a basic mastery of writing and speaking.
- Prior to a clinical internship, students will be expected to pass an examination demonstrating their mastery of the subject they will teach, their skill in lesson planning, and their instructional delivery.
- During their work in classrooms, prospective teachers will be required to observe and evaluate a variety of teaching styles, including their own, and to present evidence of analytic skill in this area as part of their professional portfolio for advancement.
These examinations will provide a basis for evaluation not only of prospective teachers but also of the professional schools themselves.
The Holmes Group also recognizes its responsibility to help create a profession representative of the larger society. The most difficult problem in this regard is minority representation. Minority undergraduate enrollments and minority entry to teaching have been declining at the very time when the proportion of minority children in schools has been increasing. Unless this problem is addressed, we may soon have a teacher force composed overwhelmingly of people from majority backgrounds teaching students who are primarily from low-income and minority backgrounds. Holmes Group institutions commit themselves to significantly increasing the number of minorities in their teacher-education programs. We will achieve this objective by increased recruitment at the pre-college level; endorsing loan-forgiveness programs for minority students entering teaching; developing programs to increase retention of minority students enrolled in teacher-education programs; and assuring that evaluations of professional competence minimize the influence of handicapping conditions, poverty, race, and ethnicity on entry to the profession.
To Connect Schools of Education With Schools
The improvement and professionalization of teaching depends ultimately on providing teachers with opportunities to contribute to the development of knowledge in their profession, to form collegial relationships beyond their immediate working environment, and to grow intellectually as they mature professionally. The improvement of teacher education depends on the continuing development of systematic knowledge and reflective practice. These two imperatives lead Holmes Group institutions to commit themselves to establish Professional Development Schools, and working partnerships among university faculty, practicing teachers, and administrators that are designed around the systematic improvement of practice.
These Professional Development Schools, analogous to teaching hospitals in the medical profession, will bring practicing teachers and administrators together with university faculty in partnerships based on the following principles:
- reciprocity, or mutual exchange and benefit between research and practice;
- experimentation, or willingness to try new forms of practice and structure;
- systematic inquiry, or the requirement that new ideas be subject to careful study and validation; and
- student diversity, or commitment to the development of teaching strategies for a broad range of children with different backgrounds, abilities, and learning styles.
These schools will serve as settings for teaching professionals to test different instructional arrangements, for novice teachers and researchers to work under the guidance of gifted practitioners, for the exchange of professional knowledge between university faculty and practitioners, and for the development of new structures designed around the demand of a new profession.
To Make Schools Better Places For Practicing Teachers To Work And Learn
The construction of a profession, through the improvement of professional education, the development of a differentiated structure for professional opportunity, the creation of standards for entry, and the creation of settings for mutual exchange between research and practice, will have profound effects on the competence and aspirations of new teachers. The existing structure of schools, the current working conditions of teachers, and the current division of authority between administrators and teachers are all seriously out of step with the requirements of the new profession. If the construction of a genuine profession of teaching is to succeed, schools will have to change.
The Holmes Group is committed to changing the structure and working conditions within schools to make them compatible with the requirements of a new profession. Member institutions will work toward this end by developing exemplary models for new divisions of authority among teachers and administrators in Professional Development Schools, and by working within their institutions to make the professional education of administrators compatible with the requirements of the profession of teaching.
APPENDIX E--Working Drafts Of Goals for Holmes Group Standards
- To change the preparation patterns and occupational structures of teaching so that highly competent people see it as a worthy investment either for a brief period of national service or for the long term as a professional career.
- To change the entrance standards for teaching so that only college graduates with established records of strong academic ability and successful records of apprenticeship with selected teachers and professors are allowed to teach in our schools.
- To change the selection process for teaching so that talented college graduates with very modest preparation in education can work for one to five years as instructors; i.e., provided they have sound technical training in the basics on pedagogy and quality guidance and oversight from professional teachers throughout the school year. (NOTE: Such an approach could be modeled after our nation’s already successful Peace Corps and ROTC programs.)
- To change the selection process and role expectations for those who would pursue teaching as a career so that only those with outstanding qualifications would fill the ranks of professional career teachers; i.e., those persons willing and able to do the following:
- successfully pursue an in-depth course of study for professional preparation;
- pass rigorous examinations that evidence mastery of the required knowledge and skill;
- demonstrate four consecutive years of teaching that is evaluated regularly and judged consistently to be of truly outstanding quality, and commitment; and
- assume responsibility for helping schools be more effective through professional work with adults as well as with children.
- To then change the reward structure for professional career teachers so that the extrinsic, as well as the intrinsic returns for the work are comparable to that of other respected professions.
- To change the working relationships, roles, and responsibilities within and between schools and universities so that their collaborative endeavors can assure the public of well-educated teachers for America’s children.
The Institutional Environment For Teacher Education
- The university honors its commitment to the nation’s elementary and secondary schools though multiple investments in teachers and teaching.
The commitment on the part of the institution of higher education to improved effectiveness in the “lower schools” is made visible in many ways. Included among these is support for recognizing excellence in teaching, both at the university and in the schools; scholarships for helping needy talented students and assuring cultural diversity among those pursuing teaching careers; the design and conduct of serious research and development aimed at the improvement of teaching and learning in the nation’s schools; and multiple arrangements enabling teachers to participate readily in the continued learning opportunities available through the university.
Referred to here as Professional Development Schools, such sites are needed if prospective and practicing professionals to are experience excellence in teaching and schooling. Here the contemporary problems associated with the teaching workplace and narrowly conceived teacher roles are remedied. Instead, working conditions are created that allow for the demonstration and evaluation of the very best in teaching practice. Unlike the laboratory schools of old, these are “real world” schools and as often as possible include pupils from disadvantaged homes. Cooperatively established and maintained with selected school districts, such sites become integral parts of the university’s ''learning community” in teacher education. A significant portion of the initial and continuing education of professional teaching personnel takes place here since these sites provide an appropriate environment for clinical instruction and professional socialization of teaching candidates and interns.
Research-intensive universities employ faculty whose academic preparation assures disciplinary strength in the study of educational phenomena. In addition, they employ a set of teacher-education faculty that includes persons with a range of relevant disciplinary expertise, cultural background, and subject-matter specialization necessary to understand and improve the highly complex areas of teaching and teacher education. Overspecialization that inevitably leads to program fragmentation and overgeneralization that tends to encourage superficial study are consciously avoided. Instead, there is a valuing of collaboration among faculty with different disciplinary expertise that encourages coherent programs of professional preparation.
The faculty and students at research-intensive universities are encouraged and supported for their propensity to question, to analyze, and to share emerging insights with others. The institution thus provides its teacher-education faculty and students with the time, support, and high expectations required for excellence in scholarly inquiry and productivity. Systematic study of phenomena relating to formal education is commonplace, as is the regular exchange of new understandings with other professionals seeking to advance the art and science of teaching.
A sense of community among the students pursuing careers in teaching is accorded through reasonably sized cohorts that enter and pursue coordinated programs of study. These classes have faculty mentors and advisors who remain with them throughout their initial preparation, helping develop personal and professional commitments to the occupation. Such advisors or mentors also facilitate program oversight and attention to the formal occasions designed to celebrate excellence in professional study and practice.
The oversight and governance provisions for teacher education within a college, school, or department are comparable in concept and implementation to those of other post-baccalaureate professional schools. This assumes that the teacher-education faculty, as well as the characteristics and qualities of the training program itself, undergo regular critical review by academic and clinical faculty from peer institutions. The process and results of these evaluations are made public and shared widely.
Making the suggested reforms proposed here a reality calls for joint planning, shared expertise, and collaborative inquiry among the participants at research-intensive institutions, and among the collective set of such institutions across the country. To this end, intra- and inter-institutional working groups collaborate in the development of the following: (a) one or more experimental programs for career professionals; (b) curriculum materials, including a case literature to illustrate and illuminate principles of good teaching; (c) a set of examinations and assessment procedures used to evaluate candidates as they move through the stages of career development; (d) a set of inquires related to teaching and teacher education which could be replicated across the various states and regions of the country; and (e) procedures for gathering appropriate demographic information related to teaching and formal education.
Faculty in Teacher Education
- The faculty responsible for preparing teachers are themselves competent and committed teachers.
The teacher-education faculty refers here to both university-based faculty and school-based faculty. Allowing for notable exceptions, the teaching practices of these faculty emulate sound principles of pedagogy. They are evaluated by peers at least every two years for the presence of such qualities and this evaluation affects decisions regarding salary, promotion, and professional development. In addition, these faculty provide most of the formal instruction and clinical supervision required in the professional-studies component of the program. Others, such as graduate students and part-time instructors who teach in the program are only permitted to do so after a successful internship with a member of the professional faculty, and only when regularly supervised and evaluated for their teaching performance.
Practicing school teachers are selected as clinical faculty on the basis, of an exemplary record of teaching practice and attainment of professional career status in teacher education. Ordinarily, part of the professional assignment for clinical faculty is given to teaching pupils in school, while the remainder is given to work with academic faculty and students in teacher education. The school-based faculty would typically be referred to as clinical faculty, while the university faculty would be referred to as academic faculty. The clinical faculty would have special university appointments and be reimbursed for their professional contribution to the training program.
The scholarly productivity of the academic faculty in teacher education contributes to the codification of effective practice and to better understanding of aspects of education that have promise for improving teaching and learning in schools. Each academic faculty member’s scholarship is evaluated by peers in education and in disciplines associated with their scholarship. The evaluation affects departmental decisions regarding salary, promotion, and professional development.
To be outstanding in both professional teaching and scholarly productivity is neither easy nor common. Scholarship requires contemplative idea exchange, disciplined study, and reflective writing for an abstract audience. Teaching requires interactive people-exchange, thoughtful lessons, and sharing understandings directly with concrete groups of learners. A combination of talent in both areas is worthy of recognition. Thus, the designation “Fellow in Teacher Education” is created to celebrate excellence in scholarship and teaching among teacher-education faculty nationally and the status of “Fellow” would be recommended for a majority of the teacher-education faculty in research-intensive universities.
Students in Teacher Education
- The students matriculating through the various phases of study required for career professionals are academically talented and committed to teaching.
Students recruited for teacher-education programs possess superior intellectual talent and appear capable of exerting educational leadership in their schools and communities. They are committed to continued learning and teacher accountability for deep understanding and knowledge of their pupils, subject specializations, profession, and society. Students admitted to teacher-education candidacy evidence proficiency in oral and written forms of communication, with those who fail tests in either area accepted only provisionally until they remedy the deficiency. Students who rank in the lowest quartile of the college population nationally are denied admission into teacher-education programs for career professionals.
The preparation of minority students as career teachers is an important commitment, especially as the population of school children in the United States becomes increasingly diverse both ethnically and racially. Recruitment and retention programs are established to help meet the need for teachers who represent diversity in racial and ethnic background; specifically, the goal is to significantly increase the percentage of minority students in teacher education each year for the next 10 years.
At three points--prior to status as an intern, novice, and career teacher--students must pass required components of a Professional Teacher Examination (PTE). Developed by faculty from institutions participating in the Holmes Group consortium (liberal arts, subject-area specialists, and professional educators), in cooperation with a major testing firm and practicing professionals, this examination measures achievement of knowledge and skills emphasized in the preparation program.
During the induction year, students are required to successfully complete a half-time teaching internship. Concomitantly, they continue their academic study and work towards completion of the master’s degree in teaching. As a necessary part of successful master’s study in teaching, the intern teachers must be judged by the academic and clinical faculty as exemplifying both the qualities and ethical character befitting a career teacher, and the teaching performance appropriate for a novice teacher.
CURRICULUM in Teacher Education
- The curriculum for prospective career teachers does not permit a major in education during the baccalaureate years-instead, undergraduates pursue more serious general/liberal study and a standard academic subject normally taught in schools.
Three major components in general-liberal study for prospective career teachers are recommended. These include studies of basic cultural knowledge, knowledge regarding knowledge itself, and knowledge about people. Studies of cultural knowledge include not only social, linguistic, and literary conventions, but the political, historical, scientific, and technical areas that foster “cultural literacy.” Career teachers would be among the more culturally literate members of society and as such, have sufficient background knowledge to comprehend the newspapers, magazines, and books addressed to the most literate segment of our nation’s population. Career teachers would also be articulate about the sources of knowledge, how it changes over time, the multiple views that abound within disciplines, and how knowledge is evaluated and tested. They would distinguish between findings and explanations for findings, and possess the capacity for critical thinking and self-directed learning. Career teachers also acquire knowledge and experience important for professionals who work with people in complex social settings. Such knowledge would enable them to understand how social organizations function and how they influence people. They would come to describe and analyze issues of professional ethics, and the challenges and opportunities present in a society which has within it many groups that vary in culture and ethnic background. Finally, the prospective career teacher’s major in an academic subject would increase understanding and appreciation for subject-matter depth and mastery. The major could include study of the history of the subject, competing theories in the field, its epistemology and primary modes of inquiry.
In their pedagogical study, prospective career teachers acquire special knowledge enabling them to think with depth and flexibility about the enduring problems encountered in teaching. Such problems concern (1) our society’s multiple, often conflicting expectations for schools and teachers; (2) the challenges of teaching diverse individuals in group contexts; (3) the need to select appropriate content in the face of multiple goals, changing knowledge, and finite instructional time; (4) the complexity of motivating students to learn while evaluating their progress; and (5) the responsibility of sustaining professional growth and commitment over the course of a career. Beyond knowledge of such problems and how they are illuminated by theory, students also develop the ability to identify conceptual principles of pedagogy and illustrations of their operation in actual practice. Eventually, they develop the ability to make their own situationally appropriate decisions and take action in regard to such problems-and to study their consequences. Supervised by clinical faculty, interns teach children half of their time, and participate in teaching clinics, engage in action research, and study curriculum. The intent is to prepare teachers who can learn from teaching, not merely survive it.
One or two courses in a subject (such as mathematics or science) are no longer judged adequate for the autonomy and responsibility expected of career teachers. Thus, by planfully combining baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate studies, elementary career teachers would successfully complete area studies in each of the five basic fields taught in elementary schools: language and literature, mathematics, science, social science, and the arts. The exact nature of these “area concentrations” is yet to be spelled out, but it is envisioned that each will be roughly equivalent in time commitment to a minor field of study. The student’s undergraduate major, naturally, would take the place of one of the required concentrations.
During post-baccalaureate study and prior to being recommended for career teacher status, secondary teachers would be required to successfully complete the equivalent of an advanced specialist degree. At a minimum, such work would comprise at least one-third graduate study in the area of the teacher’s major. Secondary teachers would also successfully complete a cognate area of study equivalent to a minor, but would be encouraged to continue work in this second area until it reaches the equivalent of a second major.
All career teachers should be qualified to effectively teach students with special needs in regular classrooms.
Those who would specialize in the teaching of special populations would be expected to obtain additional knowledge and understanding, however, rather than less. Special-education consultants or teachers of special populations (e.g., children with learning disabilities, bilingual, gifted, or emotional impairments) would need to obtain the added competence as part of advanced graduate work. Thus, teachers would qualify for autonomous work with special populations only after achieving career-teacher status and advanced specialized study in areas relevant to the education of such populations.
Up to now, outstanding teachers had to leave teaching if they wished to participate more extensively in the work of professional education Now, professional career teachers build on their strong knowledge and competence in teaching youngsters and combine it with additional knowledge pertinent to this expanded educational role. Thus, advanced study to prepare career teachers as specialists in (1) curriculum development, (2) research and evaluation, (3) teacher education, (4) work with special populations, (5) school policy and management, or (6) particular subject fields would be made available by research-intensive universities--as would assistance in working with schools to create roles for teachers that combine outstanding teaching of children with outstanding work with adults in education. Successful completion of such advanced study would carry recognition as a Professional Career Teacher, and could lead to a second advanced degree (e.g., an educational specialist degree or the doctorate in education).
1 Candidates for fellowship status are full-time faculty who submit evidence to a national board attesting to their ability to meet established criteria. A Committee of Review consisting of leading educators (yet to be established) judges which of the applicants merit the status of Fellow.
Copyright c 1986 by the Holmes Group Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.