What works in teacher education? We don’t really know concludes a report by the American Educational Research Association. After evaluating the research, “there’s little empirical evidence to show that many of the most common practices in the field produce effective teachers,” Education Week summarizes. The AERA panel recommends ways to strengthen the knowledge base.

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  1. BadaBing says:

    I know what doesn’t work. All the crap they have now except for methods classes. If I had my way, the first casualty would be Cultural Diversity, which is the biggest waste of anyone’s time imaginable. Cultural Diversity is political indoctrination and offers no benefit to the teacher in the classroom, and no connection to reality.

  2. I never had to take anything called Cultural Diversity. I did have class for special needs kids (can’t remember what it was called). I wish it had been strategies for teaching kids with learning disabilities, but instead it was a relatively useless class on the fact that disabled students are out there and the IDEA. I also could have really used a class in abnormal psychology and rudimentary counseling (ie. what not to say to the kid writing journals entries about chronic abuse). Instead, I’ve had a very long and expensive exercise in how to repackage the same seven educational theories over and over. Yet, they know I’ll fork out the thousands of $$ because 1) the pay raise that comes with the Master’s level channel change and 2) the state won’t give me my next level certification without the Master’s (or 9 college credits a year forever and ever, but what moron goes for that option). Educational theory is important. I do use it every day. But I only needed to learn it once. The rest has been figuring out how to use it with real live kids to the best effect. Nobody can teach you that in a classroom. It’s just on-the-job survival stuff.

  3. How about this? The school system hires someone with a bachelor’s degree in the content area. The new hire takes a 8 week summer course on educational psychology, methods in the content area, etc. The candidate teacher works for a full year as an apprentice. This is followed by an 8 week summer session. The candidate is now a journeyman teacher. After three years or more of successful teaching, the teacher gains tenure and becomes a master teacher.

    Leaving aside the question of who pays whom for what and creating the necessary incentives to make this work, this is the way people are trained in a complex, multifaceted craft.


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