To the Editor:
On January 17, Education Week covered a recent report released by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s Clinical Practice Commission (Teacher Beat blog, edweek.org, “Teacher Ed. Group Calls for More High-Quality Student Teaching”). The report, “A Pivot Toward Clinical Practice, Its Lexicon, and the Renewal of Educator Preparation,” addressed the preparation of teacher-candidates but omits the instructional preparation of teacher-educators who teach teacher-candidates. The tenets outlined in this report do not challenge conventional classroom pedagogy of rote instruction and learning. To claim, as the AACTE report does, that conventional pedagogy represents a “science” of professional knowledge is to lose the meaning of the term science. The AACTE tenets do not address the need to replace rote instruction with a core body of knowledge for critical instruction and learning. The most important core principle of educator preparation is to practice subject matter critically based on critical reasoning, reading, and writing processes.
This is not reflected in the AACTE report. No clinical program that remains rooted in rote instructional practice can be the basis of improving systematically teacher education, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement. Nor can it serve as the basis for teacher preparation, assessment, certification, license, and accreditation. The essential problem with educator preparation is the lack of a core body of conceptual, developmental, and procedural knowledge for critical instruction and learning. (For more on this core issue, see my Commentary essay “You’re Teaching Subject Matter Wrong,” published in Education Week on Jan. 2, 2018.)
Victor P. Maiorana
Deer Park, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2018 edition of Education Week as The Critical Need for Critical Instruction