Teacher Educators Signing on to 'Movement'To Implement Goodlad's Proposals for Reform

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

At the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's annual meeting earlier this year, several of John I. Goodlad's colleagues hosted a forum to explain how institutions could become "pilot settings" to explore the noted educator's ideas for reforming the preparation of teachers.

The two-hour meeting drew so many participants that the forum overflowed its assigned room and was forced to move to a larger meeting space.

Since then, the interest in Mr. Goodlad's concepts--contained in his newest book, Teachers For Our Nation's Schools--has continued unabated.

The book sold slightly less than 10,000 copies in its first 5 months in print, according to Jossey-Bass Publishers, pushing it into its second printing and making it the second most successful education book ever published by the company.

And Mr. Goodlad's Center for Educational Renewal at the University of Washington, which will select and work with the pilot sites, has received more than 260 inquiries about the project from institutions across the country--or about one-fifth of all of the schools that train teachers.

In an age in which educators are deluged with reports calling for all manner of change, what is it about Mr. Goodlad's philosophy that has struck a nerve with teacher educators? And why have they responded in such numbers, when for years6policymakers and politicians have bemoaned teacher preparation as one of education's most moribund enterprises?

Several deans suggest in recent interviews that the sheer weight of Mr. Goodlad's research findings, which document disjointed teacher-education programs with an uninspired view of teaching, gave his recommendations an immediacy and authenticity that other teacher-education reform proposals have lacked.

The portrait Mr. Goodlad painted from his study of 29 representative public and private institutions in eight states, teacher educators say, exposed a situation that many had intuitively felt.

"Goodlad says teacher education must reform and this is why, and that's the first time it's ever been said that directly," says Barbara Gottesman, director of the South Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and School Leadership.

"With the five-year study, there can't be any quarrel," she continues. "It's sort of like, reform or else."

South Carolina educators have been particularly receptive to Mr. Goodlad's initiative. The Center for the Advancement of Teaching has put together a consortium of five widely differing schools that it is proposing become a single pilot site to work on Mr. Goodlad's postulates for reform.

When the state legislature created the center, more than a year ago, it did so with the specific intention of linking school reform with teacher-education institutions, Ms. Gottesman notes--an orientation that mirrors Mr. Goodlad's.

The state legislature has committed to providing $100,000 in matching money to the colleges in the consortium, she adds, while the governor, the state superintendent of education, the chairman of the state board of education, and the chairman of the higher-education commission have all lent their support to the center's application.

One reason institutions are joining what Ms. Gottesman calls "the Goodlad movement" is that the 19 postulates, or conditions, that Mr. Goodlad lays out as essential for first-rate programs provide an immediate, comprehensive framework for action, educators say.

Mr. Goodlad calls on colleges and universities to create separate "centers of pedagogy" dedicated to teacher education, with separate budgets and facultiesrawn from the school of education, the college of arts and sciences, and surrounding public schools.

Centers of pedagogy would operate very differently from the haphazard approach common to the education schools visited by the researchers. Mr. Goodlad advocates that the centers specify an appropriate "pre-education curriculum," select and monitor their students with an eye toward the moral and ethical responsibilities of teaching, and admit only the number of students that could be placed in appropriate field experiences.

Groups of teacher-education students would spend their internships in special public schools, with a commitment to educating teachers, operated jointly by theel10luniversity and local school districts.

"What made the difference with Goodlad is that he has very quickly and widely published these postulates, which are specific," says Marilyn C. Kameen, assistant dean for teacher education at the University of Texas at Austin.

In contrast, Ms. Kameen says, the work of the Holmes Group, a consortium of 96 research universities working to improve their teacher-education programs, seemed somewhat "nebulous" until the group issued a report on creating professional-development schools last year.

Ms. Kameen says Mr. Goodlad's proposals also have been "very popular" in Texas, where the state legislature has imposed limits on the number of education courses students may take, because "he does support teacher education so much."

Mr. Goodlad's emphasis on working with all types of teacher-training institutions also has won him high marks from teacher educators who have perceived previous reform efforts as elitist or exclusionary.

"Goodlad's book is aimed at all of America," says Irving G. Hendrick, dean of the school of education at the University of California at Riverside. "He has put his hand out and said, if an institution wants to join this group, he's not going to worry about what its stated mission is, as long as it is willing to commit, to produce the resources, and to move according to the plan he's outlined."

The unexpected response to his book has prompted Mr. Goodlad and his colleagues to alter their plans for the follow-up work, known as the Agenda for Teacher Education in a Democracy project.

The project takes its name from the central premise of Mr. Goodlad's book--that preparing teachers who enculturate the nation's children into a political democracy must be viewed by institutions as "a major responsibility to society."

The moral reasoning that undergirds Mr. Goodlad's arguments for strengthening teacher-education programs appeals to many teacher educators, who say they have been disturbed by the economic-oriented philosophies that have driven much of education reform.

By placing the preparation of teachers into a moral context, they note, Mr. Goodlad also has validated the efforts of faculty members who have spent their careers preparing teachers.

"We're in the nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts business of educating teachers," says Walter P. Oldendorf, associate dean and chair of programs in education at Western Montana College of the University of Montana, which has applied to become a pilot site.

"Goodlad has emphasized something that many educators think is true, and that is that teaching and teacher education is a moral concern, it involves moral imperatives," Mr. Oldendorf says. "In recent decades, there has been a huge emphasis on technology and teaching as educational techniques, and the moral emphasis has been downplayed or disregarded."

Mr. Goodlad said the positive response to his discussion of the moral nature of teaching has come as "a very pleasant surprise" to him and to members of his research team.

A companion to the teacher-preparation book, The Moral Dimensions of Teaching, also is now in its second printing.

Originally, Mr. Goodlad says, he had not intended to select from formal applications. He had planned to simply invite institutions where conditions seemed ripe for reform to join the project, which already has pilot sites at the University of Washington and the University of Wyoming.

"Events outran that," Mr. Goodlad says. "We said, 'If all these people want to be in it and don't need persuading, let's go with it."'

The inquiries and applications that flowed into the Center for Educational Renewal to meet the April 15 deadline also prompted Mr. Goodlad to create a second, June 30 deadline for institutions that were not able to meet the first cutoff. The final announcement of the pilot sites, which are expected to include a wide range of institutional types, will be made in July.

To accommodate the institutions that expressed interest in collaborating with the project, Mr. Goodlad is considering creating a formal network of participating institutions. Affiliates of the network would gather several times a year for conferences and share information through a newsletter.

In addition, the Center for Educational Renewal plans to create four working committees to examine issues underlying the improvement of teacher education: the reward structure in higher education; minority teacher recruitment and selection; the appropriate "pre-education" curriculum; and the development of "partner schools," or schools in which students would learn their craft.

Teacher educators said they appreciate the opportunity to work directly with a scholar of Mr. Goodlad's caliber in doing the hard work of refashioning their programs.

"Before, scholarly pieces were written or critiques were made, but to have someone with scholarly credentials get their feet dirty with practitioners is unprecedented," says Gene E. Hall, dean of the college of education at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley.

"What John is doing is making it high status to once again admit that you have teacher education."

Vol. 10, Issue 34

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories