Sunday, June 25, 2006

Five Crucial Aspects of a Teacher Education Program

I am sitting in the Winnipeg airport on the way to Montreal for a few days - for a little work and a little R and R. What better way to pass the time than to create another entry to this blog.

Last Thursday we had another meeting of the group in my faculty that want to work on a program renewal effort for our undergraduate teacher education programs. We agreed that we would structure a process for our annual faculty seminar that happens just before the fall semester in late august. We talked about asking members of the faculty to identify 5 crucial items that would characterize a quality teacher education program.

I have been thinking about this since then. I have many ideas about what makes a good teacher education program and in the next few entries to this blog I will try to identify and describe these ideas.

The first and to me the most crucial aspect is a need to have the program integrated and cohesive. An integrated teacher education program, to me, is one where the students enter into a developmental experience - where one course overlaps and builds upon the other courses - where field experiences are used and thought about and directed from all courses - and where students recognize and understand how their knowledge, skills and beliefs are changing and growing.

One dictionary defines cohesive as: "working together as a united whole" I see this characteristic of a quality teacher education program focused on both the students' experiences and the way involved faculty work on the program. Discussion, collaboration, partnerships and a willingness to share and explore, disagree and find common ground should be how individual members of the faculty engage with the program and program renewal