Traditional versus Integrated Preservice Teacher Education Curriculum: A Case Study

Article excerpt

Over the past two decades, attention has focused on the issues surrounding educational reform. A significant component of these discussions has centered on the issues of teacher quality and competency, with a continuing interest in teacher preparation (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Goodlad, 1994; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 2003). In 1995, a college of education in a Midwestern state university with a long tradition in teacher education at the undergraduate level concluded that it needed to examine its practices in teacher education. Over the next few years, In collaboration with its partners in arts and sciences and the public schools, the college redesigned its teacher education program to better prepare the next generation of educators.

The college faculty and administration, drawing on the latest research in the field of education (e.g., Anderson & Armbruster, 1990; Berliner, 1986; Beyer, 1988; Harris, 1993; Jennings & Kennedy, 1996; Kagan, 1992; Schon, 1987), developed three design principles for all programs within the college: (a) Programs at every level need to be organized around the problems of practice (e.g., instruction about pedagogical knowledge and practices in contextual specific fashion), (b) programs should provide opportunities for reflection-in-action and reflection-about-action by novices and experts, and (c) candidate evaluations should include assessment of performance in complex situations of practice appropriate to the practitioner's level of training. Moreover, in redesigning the teacher education program, the administrators and faculty members at this college determined that the key goal was to create a standards-based integrated curriculum to enhance students' professional competencies and promote their ability to perform effectively as teachers immediately after graduation.

The college task force took the 10 standards from the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) as a starting point for professional competencies. INTASC was established in 1987 within the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and operates within the framework of reform in education, specifically as related to effective teaching. While the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has played a critical role in the making of a profession and in leading the reform movement, INTASC has developed influential performance-based standards for licensing new teachers (Darling-Hammond, 2001; Roth, 1996). In 1992, the 10 standards, or a designated core of competencies, were developed through the joint efforts of personnel from 17 state education agencies and representatives of the teaching profession.

The 10 initial teacher preparation competencies, developed by INSTASC, included the following:

1. content knowledge and pedagogy,

2. student learning and development,

3. diverse learners and the ability to adapt to diverse learners,

4. instructional strategies,

5. classroom management and motivation,

6. communication techniques,

7. curriculum and planning,

8. assessment,

9. reflective practice, and

10. professional relationships internal and external to the school.

These 10 initial standards were modified and extended to 13 principles and practices to guide the teacher preparation program curriculum. Diversity, inquiry, and technology were added because the administrators and faculty members of the teacher education program agreed that effective educators should be inquiring professionals who value diverse aspects of the pluralistic world and are familiar with the use of new technology for enhancing P-12 student learning. (For the list of 13 competencies, see the Variables section.) A majority of states have adopted the INTASC standards as the foundation for standards utilized for the approval of teacher education institutions and programs (Roth, 1996). …