A perennial issue was on the minds of many teacher-educators who gathered here for the annual conference of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education: revamping the image of teacher education programs.
In a session titled “Confronting Myths About Teacher Education,” some of the country’s leading deans of education revealed their strategies for responding to critics.
Mary E. Diez, the chairwoman of the department of education at Alverno College in Milwaukee, discussed the perception that education school faculty members are not in touch with K-12 schools. “How do we respond? Describe it, put it out there, and let them see what we’re doing,” she said.
Frank B. Murray, the dean of the college of education at the University of Delaware in Newark and the executive director of the Holmes Partnership, a network focused on revitalizing teacher education, said that he addresses the presumption that the ''best and the brightest’’ are not in teacher education by showing statistics that prove otherwise.
And Gary R. Galluzzo, the education dean at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, said that he promotes the work of his college through a weekly public-radio spot in which he discusses education issues. With that audience, he said, he can reach “critical constituencies,” including people who might disparage the college’s work.
In a parallel effort, members of InformED, an association of information officers for colleges of education, attended the Feb. 26-March 1 conference and discussed plans to write a book on the value of public-information officers.
In an appearance before the conferees, Bob Chase, the president of the 2.2 million-member National Education Association, challenged teacher-educators to renew their vision just as he had challenged his own members weeks earlier. (“Seeking ‘Reinvention’ of NEA, Chase Calls for Shift in Priorities,” Feb. 12, 1997.)
Mr. Chase cited last fall’s report by the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future and its discussion of flaws in many teacher preparation programs.
He called on education schools to create programs “rich in classroom experience,” which would be five years long if necessary; effective professional-development schools; and multiple pathways for individuals to become teachers.
While his remarks were generally well received, some participants grumbled about references he made to stereotypes of teacher education.
In a later session, Arthur E. Wise, the president of the Washington-based National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, urged those who complained about the remarks to take action."What we all must do is get the word out,” Mr. Wise said. “Every one of us has a burden to help others see that things are not the way they were.”