In Education Next, Katherine Newman looks at innovative models of teacher training that feature “rigorous selection processes, practical coursework and tremendous field-based support.”
(Boston Teacher Residency) is implementing a model that emphasizes training teachers on-site in actual classrooms with students and lead teachers, similar to the way medical residents grow into effective doctors by working directly with patients under the guidance of veterans. Instead of following a typical list of course and credit-hour requirements, the organization sponsoring the internship or residency-style program tailors coursework to meet the needs of the particular school or type of school in which the teacher will be employed.
Newman also looks at San Diego–based High Tech High (HTH), which trains and certifies its own teachers, and Alliance for Catholic Education’s Teacher Formation program, “the Teach For America of parochial schools.”
Traditional teacher-training programs teach “few skills applicable to real classrooms” writes Newman. But many alternative certification programs, which now prepare one fifth of new teachers, aren’t any better.
Of the alternative certification programs the NCTQ (National Council on Teacher Quality) surveyed for a 2007 report, only one-third require a summer teaching practicum and one-quarter provide weekly mentoring for teachers once the school year starts.
One-quarter take nearly all applicants, says NCTQ.