Saturday, December 09, 2006

Teacher Education

Sharon Naylor of the Illinois State University wrote a review of Linda Darling-Hammond's new book called Powerful Teacher Education: Lesson From Exemplary Programs. You can find the review at: A great site I might add.

Both the review and the book are worth reading. I will extract a bit here:

"In her introduction, Darling-Hammond quotes former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, who argued in 2002 that "burdensome requirements" for education course-work that make up "the bulk of current teacher certification regimes" should be removed from teacher certification standards (p. 6). Later in the book, she points out that alternative and emergency certifications are being encouraged even though the market does not demand such measures."

"Darling-Hammond identifies colleges that are known to produce highly successful teachers and examines what they do that sets them apart. She systematically refutes what she identifies as two widespread and pernicious myths: the notion that "good teachers are born and not made" and that "good teacher education programs are virtually nonexistent and perhaps even impossible to construct" (p ix)."

"Although each of the seven programs is unique, among the common elements Darling-Hammond identifies are 1) coherence based on a common, clear vision of good teaching... 2) a strong core curriculumÂ… 3) extensive, connected clinical experiences that are carefully chosen 4) an inquiry approach that connects theory and practice 5) school- university partnerships that develop common knowledge and shared beliefs among school- and university-based faculty, and 6) assessment based on professional standards that evaluates teaching through demonstrations of critical skills and abilities using performance assessments and portfolios (p. 276-277)."

Amazing....putting 'good teaching' at the core of a teacher education program and then assessing based on demonstration of those 'critical skills and abilities' seems so obvious. What a idea!

But we don't do it. You'll have to read Darling-Hammond's book to find her opinions about why this doesn't happen