Academic journal article Education

A Comparison of Teaching Patterns of Student Teachers and Experienced Teachers in Three Distinct Settings: Implications for Preparing Teachers for All Settings

Academic journal article Education

A Comparison of Teaching Patterns of Student Teachers and Experienced Teachers in Three Distinct Settings: Implications for Preparing Teachers for All Settings

Article excerpt

The current political climate is one that demands immediate outcomes in many facets of society, including the training of highly qualified teachers. A central debate in teacher preparation focuses on defining characteristics of highly qualified teachers; this debate is central to the future of many teacher preparation programs. That is, teacher preparation programs must show that highly trained teachers impact K-12 learning more effectively than the host of alternative licensure programs competing to certify today's teachers. In The Right to Learn (Darling-Hamilton, 1997) it is reported that "more than 25% of those hired into teaching each year are not fully prepared and licensed for their jobs "(p. 21). "In places where teachers are poorly trained, students tend to receive a steady diet of worksheets and rote drill guided by superficial texts (p. 272). In addition, "although no state will allow a person to fix plumbing, style hair, practice medicine, or write wills without completing training and passing an examination, more that forty states offer emergency and temporary licenses to teachers who do not meet these basic requirements" (p. 273),

Much of the urgency for demonstrating the effectiveness of teachers prepared by teacher education programs based in departments, schools, and colleges of education in institutions of higher education stems from the communication style of the most recent Secretary of Education of the United States, Mr. Rod Paige. Mr. Paige never supported fully teacher preparation programs on college campuses (Darling-Hammond & Youngs, 2002). Further, concern and urgency for demonstrating the effect of products of teacher preparation programs is exacerbated by Secretary Paige's assertion that alternative licensure programs were just as effective as college-based four or five year teacher preparation programs in producing effective k-12 teachers. Darling-Hammond and Youngs (2002) analyzed the research design referenced in the study cited by Secretary Paige. Specific findings of the articles the former Secretary of Education used in his report indicate that the secretary should have looked more closely at the study's conclusions before using them to support his position that alternate licensure programs produce just as effective teachers as do traditional routes in teacher education programs on college campuses. For example, the secretary emphasized research by Wayne and Youngs (2003) on the effectiveness of recruits in their first year of the "Teach for America" program as evidence that alternative certification programs can prepare beginning teachers as well as college-based teacher education programs. However, the research findings did not support that notion. The researchers found that this non-traditional program produced recruits in their first year who were as effective as teacher education graduates in their first year, but only in schools with large percentages of urban and at-risk students. The findings of Wayne and Youngs suggest that teacher education programs and the alternative certification programs need to find ways to prepare new teachers better for schools with large proportion of students who are identified as "at-risk." In addition, the former Education Secretary's support of alternative routes for teacher licensure is clouded by findings that the effectiveness of teachers is dependent on various characteristics of the teachers and schools as well as the quality of the higher education institutions (Ehrenburg & Brewer, 1994).

The work by Wayne and Youngs (2003) directs consideration to the context of schools in which teachers are placed. While teacher preparation programs have too often attempted to combine the multiple types of school settings with a one-size-fits-all methodology taught to preservice teachers, successful educational practice refutes the one-size-fits-all pedogogical model. It is clear that teachers need to be better prepared to teach in a variety of classroom settings. …

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