Teacher Preparation

October 14, 2011 at 2:28 am Leave a comment

One aspect of school reform needs to be a reform of teacher preparation programs. A solid teacher preparation program should include the following aspects:

  • General Coursework
  • Education coursework
  • Internship
  • Student teaching
  • Supervised probationary teaching.

In order to create good teachers it is necessary to develop these teachers over period of time. It requires the support of the educational community both within the school and on the University level.

General Coursework:

A successful teacher must be a successful learner. Good teachers are good learners.General Coursework is offered as part of a liberal arts core program. It includes such courses as Composition Writing, History, Sociology, Science, Math, etc. These general studies offer the student, future teacher, an opportunity to develop learning habits that their experience as a learner can be used to help their students.

Educational Coursework:

There are certain courses of study that are useful for students to learn the theoretical aspects of learning and teaching. These courses would include courses that any grade level teacher would be able to use. History and Philosophy of Education, Classroom Principles, Classroom Management, etc. All teachers plan, execute and evaluate a lesson. Part of the coursework needs to be a study of state standards and how to use them in a classroom.

Internship:

What a student is accepted into the college of education, in the internship should become a regular part of the students program. This internship should involve a few hours a day working in a classroom with an experienced teacher. It should involve interaction with students, teachers, staff and extracurricular events. It is important that this be a limited involvement. Hour or two a day should suffice. Internship should be given college credit at should involve various aspects of the school. Internship dealing with students. Internship dealing with learning how to plan. Internship learning classroom management skills. Internship learning to deal with disciplinary problems. Internship dealing with identification of learning disabilities. Internship dealing with extracurricular events.

During this internship phase, students can begin the focus on age levels that they are interested in teaching. These age levels are as follows:

  • Preschool
  • Primary level
  • Intermediate level
  • Upper grade level
  • Early High school level
  • Late high school level

Students join this in turn phase should also have an opportunity to be involved in other levels of education. It is important for the prospective teacher to he have a view of levels below and above their area of interest.

Student Teaching:

Student teaching should be the bridge between college life as an intern and future life as a classroom teacher. During the internship student has that an opportunity to observe and become involved with many of the classroom activities but without the responsibility or consequences that that involvement may have. Student teaching provides a short period of time for the prospective teacher to take command of the classroom and be responsible for all aspects. Cheering this period of time the student teacher “replaces” an experienced teacher. This experience teacher offers regular observation and feedback, advice and assistance where needed. This student teaching time should be at least one entire semester (half of a school year).

Supervise Probationary Teaching:

All schools need to participate in a program to prepare future teachers with the skills and experience teachers have developed over the years. Mentors should work with “rookie” teachers until they feel that this teacher can stand on their own. Unlike student teaching, the teacher is a pay teacher, on staff, and fully responsible for to the students and parents. Probationary certification should be provided for two-year. During this probationary time, the teacher needs all the support the teaching staff and school administration. At the end of this two year, formal observations should lead to a teaching license.

There are basically two major changes in this proposal. First, internships need to be intensified while educational coursework needs to be decreased. Many university teacher preparation programs require students to make classroom observations. Instead of observations it would be of a benefit to get the student involved on a hands-on basis. Putting prospective teachers into the classroom and letting them get involved will prepare students for the expectations of the teacher. Breaking the internship into intensified modules will be able to assist the student in preparing for teaching.

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