Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leaders Speak Out

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leaders Speak Out

Article excerpt

Q. Teacher preparation at the college level has been criticized for being insufficiently rigorous. What changes, if any, should be made?

ERIC PARKER

Parker is principal of Shiloh High School, Snellville, Ga.

I've worked with and supported many new teachers; most said they felt underprepared in certain areas of their preservice education program. The main components missing from some of our teacher preparation programs are those of cultural competency and proficiency. My perspective from the school level recognizes the critical and ongoing need for these programs to offer courses and experiences that emphasize and provide new and prospective teachers more opportunities and training in diversity with specific strategies and genuine skill development in working with students and families from various cultures, backgrounds, and socioeconomic levels.

If teachers lack awareness or have an inability to connect, communicate, and build positive and effective relationships with various students, then the inevitable struggles and barriers will arise within daily classroom instruction, student performance, and ultimately teacher satisfaction. As a result, student success will continue at a higher rate for some schools. An emphasis on culturally responsive teaching in university education programs and consistent teacher development and training in these areas are critically important and equal to that of teaching the mastery of content standards to better serve and support today's students and communities.

Some university programs have begun to explore and implement longer student teaching experiences and internships to allow for greater opportunities for the extensive and realistic experience of a semester or full year of classroom teaching. As this work and these conversations continue, I look forward to participating in the ongoing improvements and program enhancements for this great and most noble profession. …

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