Teacher education is broken, writes Natalie Wexler in Forbes. “There’s a wide gulf between what cognitive scientists have found about how children learn and what teachers—and their supervisors—have been led to believe.” By high school, “teachers are expected to magically compensate for years of misguided teaching and the gaps in knowledge and skills that result.”
She suggests that Aspiring Teachers read a new book by the National Council on Teacher Quality, Teach Plus and teacher Dan Brown, Start Here to Become a Teacher, which will steer them to the best preparation programs.
There are many weak teacher-ed programs, the authors write. Sixty-two percent of alumni say they weren’t prepared “to cope with classroom reality.” Even the strong programs have weaknesses.
Twelve entire states are missing from the book’s list of “top undergraduate programs,” because none there met the bar—and the ratings don’t include any graduate programs, which the authors say don’t allow enough time for the necessary coursework. Even several elementary programs the book lists as “outstanding” get grades of D for the way they train teachers to teach reading—which would seem like a make-or-break criterion.
. . . The ratings of elementary programs also don’t take into account whether they cover elementary-level content other than math and reading—like social studies and science. Nor do they consider whether programs cover teaching writing, which very few do.
Wexler also recommends The Truth About Teaching: An Evidence-Informed Guide for New Teachers by Greg Ashman, who teaches math in Australia and blogs at Filling the pail.
Schools of education believe “that teacher is best who teaches least,” he writes. Ashman cites evidence for the efficacy of explicit teaching.
Teacher-training programs also propound the virtues of things like putting students into small groups, giving them lots of choices, and coming up with “engaging” activities. Ashman describes studies showing that small groups often waste time because they’re usually trying to work without a teacher’s guidance; that students sometimes make choices that are counterproductive, partly because there are choices they’re unaware of, and partly because low-ability students gravitate towards activities that lack the structure they need; and that engaging activities may not actually be teaching students anything.
Wexler suggests that aspiring teachers “choose one of the programs that are highly rated in Start Here—but supplement it with a thorough reading of The Truth About Teaching.”
This post first appeared on Joanne Jacobs — Thinking And Linking By Joanne Jacobs, please read the originial post: here