What are some guiding principles we should consider to enhance Oxy’s teacher education program?
Several diverse groups have posited their criteria for effective teacher education programs. Some of the key ones are summarized below:
Three critical components of effective teacher education programs include:
1) Tight coherence and integration among courses and between course work and clinical work in schools
2) Extensive and intensely supervised clinical work integrated with course work using pedagogies that link theory and practice
3) Closer, proactive relationships with schools that serve diverse learners effectively and develop and model good teaching.
(from Constructing 21st Century Teaching by Linda Darling-Hammond)
10 Design Principles for Clinically Based Preparation
1) Student learning is the focus.
2) Clinical preparation is integrated throughout every facet of teacher education in a dynamic way.
3) A candidate’s progress and the elements of a preparation program are continuously judged on the basis of data.
4) Programs prepare teachers who are expert in content and how to teach it and are also innovators, collaborators, and problem solvers.
5) Candidates learn in an interactive professional community.
6) Clinical educators and coaches are rigorously selected and prepared and drawn from both higher education and the P-12 sector.
7) Specific sites are designated and funded to support embedded clinical preparation.
8) Technology applications foster high-impact preparation.
9) A powerful R&D agenda and systematic gathering and use of data supports continuous improvement in teacher preparation.
10) Strategic partnerships are imperative for powerful clinical preparation.
(from Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers. A Report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning, downloaded from http://www.ncate.org)
Components that were traditionally part of the Occidental credential program continue to be of primary importance:
1)Highly selective program
2) Providing a rigorous academic background
3) Close communication between faculty, students, schools, teachers, including on-going feedback
4) Individual attention
5) Connections with the community, including a community service component
6) A strong link betwen educational theory and practical classroom applications
7) Extensive fieldwork experience. Linda Darling-Hammond in Powerful Teacher Education (p. 100) states that “A growing body of research confirms this belief, finding that teachers-intraining who participate in fieldwork either before or alongside coursework are better able to understand theory, apply concepts they are learning in their coursework, and support student learning.”
8) Institutional support. “It is reasonable to expect that colleges and universities will take on the task of educating future teachers most seriously- or not at all. This seriousness will be revealed in, for example, a president’s expressions of commitment in addresses to alumni and friends of the institution, the careful selection of applicants, the equitable allocation of resources, the institution’s clear delegation of authority to those responsible for preparation programs, forthright s pecifications and provisions of curricula, the development of exemplary field sites, appropriate recognition of site coordinators and master teachers in the schools, and much more.” (Goodlad, p. 45)
“Programs for the education of educators must enjoy parity with other campus programs as a legitimate college or university and commitment and field of study and service, worthy of rewards for faculty geared to the nature of the field.” (Goodlad, p. 55)
9) Cohort groups/professional learning communities
(From ALOED focus group discussions)
Many of the programs we looked at reflected the experience that Occidental educators shared throughout the decades. Some of these important attributes are listed below:
1) Emphasis on the quality of relationships with education instructors, outstanding supervising teachers, and diverse learners to ensure that all candidates receive excellent instruction, supervised, guided practice and coaching, and assistance with the credential and employment process. This supports the idea that what makes a difference in the quality of the program is the quality of the people involved, not specialized course offerings that are difficult to implement on a small campus with limited resources.
2) All Education courses include fieldwork
3) Close, personalized fieldwork supervision and feedback
4) Small class sizes