Teacher Preparation

Lessons for Education Schools

By Stephen Sawchuk — January 07, 2010 1 min read
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This week’s edition of Education Week has a really interesting Commentary about improving education schools. The authors, Robert Maranto, Gary Ritter and Arthur Levine outline five “lessons learned” for education schools gleaned from the transformation of business schools after the 1950s into highly rigorous institutions.

We’re already seeing a lot of interest in upgrading the quality of student-teaching or “clinical fieldwork,” as it’s now being called. This Commentary talks a bit about the other key part of the education degree, coursework. It suggests reorganizing coursework around “rigorous academic disciplines with well- established quality,” such as psychology, biology, statistics, and content knowledge in the K-12 disciplines. To do so would probably mean greater linkages with other departments in the academy, essentially making the “education” degree something of an interdisciplinary one.

It seems logical to assume that it’ll be necessary to upgrading both coursework and clinical fieldwork in order to improve the quality of teacher preparation. One of the things that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said teachers have told him during his listening and learning tour is that what they learned in their ed schools has no relevance to the classroom.

So how would you redo ed school coursework and student-teaching to create explicit linkages between what’s being taught in class and what’s practiced in the field?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.