Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Getting Our Own House in Order: From Brick Makers to Builders

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Getting Our Own House in Order: From Brick Makers to Builders

Article excerpt

Similar to our predecessors and those before them for the past decade, our editorial team has assumed leadership of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) in times of extreme criticism of educational research and of both preservice and inservice teacher education. Critics from within like Arthur Levine proclaim that "everything is broken" (Levine, 2011), that there is little research into what kind of training produces successful teachers (Levine, 2011), and that schools of education lack both rigor and relevance (Levine, 2006). Headlines from The New York Times proclaim "Training of Teachers is Flawed ..." (Lewin, 20l 1) or "Teacher Training Termed Mediocre" (Medina, 2009). One article features anecdotal evidence in support of an alternative teacher education program while citing an economist who claims "no research he can think of has shown a teacher-training program to boost student achievement. So why invest in training when, as he told me recently, 'you could be throwing your money away'?" (Green, 2010). Educational research, and particularly research in teacher education, clearly is in crisis. The refrains of "no conclusive evidence" and "little research exists ..." are all too common in our handbooks and research reports (see, for example, Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005; Wilson, Floden, & Ferrini-Mundy, 2001).

This criticism influenced our vision for the journal as JTE is in a unique position to shape how teacher education, and more specifically how research in teacher education, is viewed both within and outside the profession. The journal has a well-deserved reputation of publishing quality scholarship in teacher education, with a standing of 18 out of 177 education and education research journals based on impact in the field of education (Thompson Reuters, 2011). Our challenge is to build on this foundation with the ultimate goal of publishing quality research that points the way to excellent teacher education practice and constructive policies. If we make progress in attaining this critical goal, we would also make great strides toward establishing teacher education as a distinct field with knowledge, histories, research methodologies, and practices that are recognized and recognizable. Reaching the goal requires a balance of a range of content and topics; diversity of voices represented by teacher education researchers, practitioners, and policy makers; attention to both preservice and inservice teacher education; and sensitivity to providing an outlet for beginning authors as well as for those who have a long history of publishing in teacher education.

We hope to bring together the three dimensions of teacher education--practice, policy, and research--in challenging and productive ways so that considerations of issues or challenges in teacher education are enriched by careful attention from these multiple frames of reference. Our audience consists largely of teacher education practitioners, researchers, and policy makers in national and international contexts. For teacher education practitioners who do not do research, or for teacher education researchers who do not engage in the practice of teacher education, the connections may sometimes be weak. When teacher education researchers are also practitioners, the connection between research and practice may be strong but may lack a policy perspective. Policy makers, however, may lack a concrete grounding in the everyday realities of practice. We need all three perspectives to address the complex problems facing teacher education today. JTE provides a forum to highlight relationships among all three perspectives.

We are particularly aware of the power of policy as the bridge that links research and practice in teacher education. Although we are separate and independent from our parent organization, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), in our ability to manage the direction and focus of the content of the journal through the use of the double-blind, peer-review process and our selection of themes and special issues, we recognize the power of collaborating with AACTE in matters related to policy. …

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