Teacher education in the classroom

Instead of a semester of student teaching, University of South Dakota education majors are working in elementary classrooms for a year under a pilot program, reports the Argus Leader.

“I can’t emphasize how wonderful this experience has been,” said Cassie Zomer, a 22-year-old teaching candidate from Brandon working in the third-grade classroom of teacher Julie Sehr at Harvey Dunn. “Everything that you never learn in a college classroom, you learn here. And the collaborating … is huge.”

. . .  these education majors started in August before the students even began to show up.They helped to set up the classrooms. They greeted children when they walked through the door. They have intervened with the behavior problems, developed and taught lessons and communicated with parents from the start.

A foundation grant pays for an experienced teacher to mentor the teaching interns.

The university hopes to expand the program to include aspiring middle and high school teachers.

Via The Quick and the Ed.

Easy (but expensive) A’s in ed school

“Julia Harvey” spent two years and $80,000 to get a master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) at a well-regarded education school. Expectations were low, she writes in Education Next.

She needed only one basic course in linguistics and one in English grammar for her TESOL master’s. Almost all her classmates struggled to pass, leading her to wonder about admission requirements.

A class in adolescent development was useful, but the program offered no course in child development, despite the fact that my certification would be for grades K–12. It seemed that they were skimming over the important topics while bogging me down with courses in “theory and practice,” which did little to make me feel prepared to begin teaching on my own.

In her first semester of student teaching, the supervising teacher provided useful feedback, but the university supervisor was “minimally helpful.”  She worked with a different supervising teacher in the second semester and received no feedback.

Her final project “earned me the last of a full transcript of easy As, with a friendly note on the cover and not a single comment or suggestion for how the unit could have been improved.”

 

Student teaching done wrong — and right

Student teachers don’t work with excellent classroom instructors in many cases, concludes a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, which analyzed and rated 134 colleges and universities. Almost 75 percent of education programs don’t require the student teacher’s mentor to be an effective classroom instructor.

Programs are “begging” for student-teacher placements and can’t afford to be choosy, the report finds. In part, that’s because programs admit too many students, says NCTQ President Kate Walsh.

 “Right now, far too many institutions accept anyone and everyone, including many who have no intention of ever teaching.  Some students enter the program because it has the reputation for being the easiest program on campus to complete, while others discover that teaching is not for them, yet they have to student teach in order to graduate.  The teaching profession needs much higher standards.”

Schools of education, often considered “cash cows” for their universities, turn out more than twice as many graduates as schools hire, NCTQ estimates. The surplus is greatest for would-be elementary teachers. The report suggests requiring a fallback major so students who leave the teaching track can graduate on schedule.

In addition, working with a student teacher should be a more attractive proposition for exemplary classroom teachers, the report suggests, calling for “monetary incentives, prestige for being selected and assurance that the student teacher is qualified for the experience.”

NCTQ did find 10 model programs: Key Ingredients for Strong Student Teaching offers suggestions.

NCTQ’s analysis is controversial, writes Inside Higher Ed.  Most schools of education aren’t happy about the methodology NCTQ developed for U.S. News & World Report‘s upcoming teacher-education program rankings.