Goodlad's Teacher-Education Study Urges College 'Centers of Pedagogy'
Colleges and universities should create separate "centers of pedagogy" dedicated to teacher education, with the same amount of autonomy and authority now reserved for law and medical schools, according to a book scheduled to be released this month.
The book, Teachers for Our Nation's Schools, by the noted educational researcher John I. Goodlad, is based on one of the most comprehensive studies of teacher education ever conducted in the United States.
The proposed centers, which could stand apart from existing schools and colleges of education, would have their own budgets and faculty. They would also have the authority to design their own curricula, develop their own reward structures, control the use of field settings in collaboration with school districts, and limit student admissions.
The creation of such centers, Mr. Goodlad argues, is needed to overcome the "secondary to peripheral" status that characterizes teacher education in most universities.
His in-depth study of 29 representative public and private institutions in eight6states portrays teacher education as one of the nation's most "neglected enterprises."
"Excellent teachers do not in themselves ensure excellent schools," Mr. Goodlad warns in a preface to the book. "But it is folly to assume that schools can be exemplary when their stewards are ill-prepared."
The programs he studied were characterized by low status, lack of a clear mission, disjointed and poorly developed curricula, and a mechanistic, uninspired view of teaching.
"A great deal of commitment, energy, creativity, and support will be required to revitalize" them, writes Mr. Goodlad, who is director of the Center for Educational Renewal at the University of Washington.
The five-year study, which was funded by the Exxon Education Foundation, is the first comprehensive analysis of teacher education since James B. Conant's book, The Education of American Teachers, in 1963.
The new book and two related volumes, The Moral Dimensions of Teaching, which describes the role of educators in a democracy, and Places Where Teachers Are Taught, a history of teacher education in the United States, are available from Jossey-Bass Publishers.
To call attention to the report's recommendations, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Education Commission of the States, and the University of Washington's Center for Educational Renewal plan to hold a forum in Washington, D.C., next month for 75 top leaders in education and public policy.
Over the next year, six pilot sites will be chosen where higher-education institutions and schools will begin working together on Mr. Goodlad's reform agenda, with the help of $25,000 planning grants.
The ECS will also award $5,000 grants to about 25 states this fall to permit policymakers and educators to examine the implications of Mr. Goodlad's work.
The university scholar has suggested that at least 10 years will be required to carry out his reform agenda. But he notes that a window of opportunity is now available, given the high turnover rate among university faculty members. On some campuses, 30 to 40 percent of the professoriate is expected to retire in the next few years.
According to the book, most teacher-training programs suffer from "chronic prestige deprivation."
Those outside of teacher education view such programs and the faculty connected with them, it states, "to be of lower status than the arts and sciences, most other campus units, and the professors connected with them."
Even deans of education at the schools studied typically "identified something other than teacher education as their top priority for the future," Mr. Goodlad writes, and delegated the running of their teacher-education programs to someone else.
Faculty members almost universally viewed research as dominating the tenure-granting process, with minimal rewards for teaching or for providing services to schools or to the community.
Moreover, a disturbingly high turnover rate among the top leaders in higher education contributed to a lack of sustained attention to reform.
The average tenure for university presidents was 8 years; for education deans, 6.6; for arts and sciences deans, 5.3; and for academic vice presidents and provosts, 4.7.
Within the 29 institutions, responsibility for teacher education was scattered across colleges and departments, with no one in charge of developing a coherent whole.
Taught To 'Fit In'
The teacher-education programs themselves, Mr. Goodlad discovered, were driven by a technocratic view of "what works" in teaching, rather than by an image of professional educators as thoughtful, reflective practitioners.
As a result, nearly half the students interviewed said their basic beliefs and values about education had not changed from the beginning to the end of their programs, except, perhaps, to become less idealistic and more practical.
"The aspiring teachers we studied were not being socialized, critically enculturated, or in any other way commonly educated for and introduced to teaching as a profession," Mr. Goodlad laments. "But students were, by almost everyone's admission, learning a good deal about how to go it alone in a classroom with a group of children or youths."
"Our data" he states elsewhere in the book, "are disappointingly replete with examples of faculty members who told students encountering discrepancies between what they were being taught and what the district required of them simply to conform--to do what they believed right only when ultimately in charge of their own classrooms."
The results, he asserts, are prospective teachers trained not to change the status quo, but to maintain it; not to improve schools, but to "fit in."
"Very clearly, teachers are being turned out who have no vision of themselves as stewards of the schools," Mr. Goodlad added in an interview, "at the very time that policymakers and grassroots reformers are claiming that teachers ought to be empowered to run the schools."
As in his previous landmark study, A Place Called School, Mr. Goodlad argues that the reform of schools and of teacher education must go hand in hand.
"Those two things have to be absolutely, fundamentally linked," he contends.
Match Entrants to Resources
The research team's recommendations are based on 19 "postulates," or conditions, that they view as necessary to create exemplary teacher-education programs. (See excerpt, page 14.)
Higher-education institutions that are unwilling to support these conditions and provide the necessary resources, the researchers maintain, should get out of the teacher-education business.
The linchpin of Mr. Goodlad's reform agenda is the creation of a "center of pedagogy," with its own faculty, drawn from the school of education, the college of arts and sciences, and the public schools.
This faculty, according to the University of Washington researcher, should have total control over selecting students and monitoring their progress.
In particular, he recommends that selection criteria reflect the moral and ethical demands of teaching, as well as academic qualifications.
In addition, he advocates that recruiters go into community colleges and high schools to attract more minority candidates.
According to Mr. Goodlad, the centers should admit only the number of students they could educate with the facilities available, including appropriate field experiences.
Most students would be expected to make a decision about teaching by the end of the sophomore year.
At that point, after completing two years of a prescribed pre-education curriculum, they would enter a three-year teacher-preparation program through which they would progress as a "cohort" group.
Students who applied later than the sophomore year would still have to complete the full range of program studies, field experiences, and internships.
That vision stands in sharp contrast to current practice at most of the institutions in the study, where students entered and progressed through teacher-education programs haphazardly.
In the regional private universities, Mr. Goodlad found, nearly 27 percent of the teacher-education students had taken five or more education courses before being formally admitted to the program.
There was also no attempt to see that students stayed together throughout the program or that they were socialized as a group.
"The prevailing pattern for student teachers, a group that could benefit from the sharing of experiences, was to be very much on their own," Mr. Goodlad reports.
Such findings are particularly disturbing, he notes, when set beside the current, widespread belief that teachers must work cooperatively to revitalize their schools.
Create 'Practice' Schools
To prepare teachers to lead the charge for school renewal, Mr. Goodlad advocates a yearlong induction into school practice as part of a five-year program.
At least half of that time would be spent by groups of students working together in "practice schools," operated jointly by universities and school districts. Such schools would be akin to the teaching hospitals that now exist for future doctors.
"Placements of individuals with individual teachers for experiences in only one or more single classrooms must end," Mr. Goodlad says. "Until we have confidence that the settings for internships in teaching are exemplary, we have no assurance that teachers are being professionally prepared."
His study found that colleges and universities typically influenced but did not control student-teaching placements, which were often based on convenience, rather than on the best experiences for students.
Mr. Goodlad advocates that students have early and frequent access to schools, for both observation and discussion.
In addition to time spent in practice schools, he notes, future teachers should have the opportunity to visit and reflect on schools in "disar special schools of various kinds, and exemplary programs.
Keep Undergraduate Routes
In contrast to previous reformers, Mr. Goodlad does not recommend that the bulk of teacher training be moved to the graduate level.
Instead, he suggests the creation of five-year programs leading to a new bachelor's degree in pedagogy or the creation of two-year post-baccalaureate programs that would culminate in the same degree.
According to Mr. Goodlad, his research made it clear that "any steps to reduce or eliminate the traditional undergraduate routes to teaching could have dire consequences, not only in reducing the supply of teachers but also in cutting out many exceedingly enthusiastic young people for whom teaching is a strongly preferred career choice."
Eighty-five percent of the students surveyed, for example, said teaching had been and was their first career goal. They were anxious to teach as soon as possible and often expressed impatience with college requirements, such as general-education courses, that they saw as loosely connected with that goal.
Curriculum in 'Disarray'
The report is particularly harsh about the quality of general-education and subject-matter majors for prospective teachers.
"Ironically, although strong undergraduate education has been at the forefront of recommendations for improving teacher education," Mr. Goodlad found, "there has been enormous complacency in regard to ensuring it."
In general, students were left on their own to choose arts and sciences courses from within broad general-education requirements.
Even prospective high-school teachers, who had majored in an academic subject, often complained that they were unable to make connections between what they had learned in college and what they were required to teach in schools.
"[G]raduation from a college of general studies with a major in a subject discipline provides no guarantee that the desired knowledge has been obtained," Mr. Goodlad states.
The study also depicts the professional curriculum as being in "disarray," focused on the acquisition of specific skills and techniques.
In particular, Mr. Goodlad notes an erosion of social-foundations courses, focused on the history and philosophy of education, and a proliferation of "methods" courses that often retaught students the same four or five teaching techniques without going into any depth.
There also was no serious attempt to help students grapple with the intellectual or moral demands of teachers in a democracy.
Indeed, the "heavy dominance of lecturing by teacher-education faculty (and the resulting passivity on the part of the students) allows little opportunity for critical, independent thinking to flourish among teachers in training," Mr. Goodlad writes.
Although the author does not recommend a specific set of courses for prospective teachers, he does provide some general guidelines.
For example, he advocates the creation of a pre-education curriculum comparable to that required of prospective medical students. In addition, he urges a much closer melding of field experiences and observations with coursework and discussion. He also advocates the use of "case studies," comparable to those long used in law and business schools, to introduce students to essential ideas and concepts.
Finally, he notes that faculty members should deliberately demonstrate the pedagogical techniques that students will be expected to use in practice.
"Issues pertaining to school and teacher responsibilities in a political democracy, the rights of parents and children, the teacher as professional, the right to learn, and similar topics should be introduced early in preparation programs and revisited throughout," he argues.
While Mr. Goodlad stops short of detailing a teacher-education curriculum, he is adamant that states get out of the business of setting such requirements.
He charges that by mandating course content, a "state rises to its highest level of incompetence" and stifles creativity.
Instead, he challenges policymakers to license teachers but to deregulate the way they are taught.
Policymakers can best ensure the quality of teacher education, he suggests, by requiring all programs to put his postulates in place and by providing necessary resources.
He also challenges states to cease granting emergency and temporary licenses to cope with teacher shortages. Such concessions to quantity over quality, he asserts, pose the greatest risk to the future of quality teacher-education programs.
The educational researcher is most sanguine about the future of teacher education within small liberal-arts colleges, where members of teacher-education faculties at the schools studied said the institutional climate was generally favorable to their endeavors.
At those institutions, Mr. Goodlad found, good teaching is still valued and programs tend to have more coherence.
'As schools and colleges of education expand in size and function," he discovered, "teacher education increasingly loses much of the identity and singleness of attention enjoyed in liberal-arts colleges."
Mr. Goodlad is most pessimistic about the prospects for teacher training within the major public and private universities, where research is the predominant focus.
"A college or university unwilling to put the flag of teacher education high on its masthead should go out or be put out of business," he warns.
In an interview, the author noted that many research universities, such as Harvard and Stanford, run only small teacher-training programs. "I don't think there would be a ripple if these big research universities decided not to do it," he said.
But he stopped short of advocating one particular setting within higher education for teacher preparation. Nor did he advocate removing such training from universities.
"When you look at the alternatives, the alternatives are not very attractive," he said. "The alternative is to turn it over to the tyranny of practice" within existing public schools.
Copies of Teachers for Our Nation's Schools are available for $21.95 each, prepaid, from Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, Calif. 94104; telephone: (415) 433-1767.
Vol. 10, Issue 08