Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Deans' Corner: Views on the State of Teacher Education in 2015

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Deans' Corner: Views on the State of Teacher Education in 2015

Article excerpt

As we describe in this issue's editorial, this is the last issue of the Penn State JTE editorial team's tenure. Inspired by a newsletter that Dean David Monk wrote for the College of Education at Penn State [Monk, 2013] in which he reflects on the state of teacher education, we thought it would be interesting to end our tenure with a "conversation" with additional Deans of Education about the state of teacher education today. Three additional deans graciously accepted our invitation to contribute to this Deans' Comer and wrote responses to a set of questions addressed in Monk's original newsletter about teacher education in the U.S. Contributing Deans [in alphabetical order] are Deborah Loewenberg Ball [College of Education, University of Michigan], Pam Grossman [Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania], and Donald E. Heller [College of Education, Michigan State University]. We also included Dean David Monk's responses to those questions as represented in his Connections Dean's Column. These four deans represent a diversity of academic backgrounds and tenures as education deans. For example, Drs. Monk and Heller have situated their major research areas outside of teacher education, (1) while Drs. Ball and Grossman are highly influential researchers in the field of teacher education. (2) Drs. Ball and Monk have served many years as deans of Colleges of Education, whereas Drs. Heller and Grossman are relative "newbies" to their position as dean. Full biographies of each [replicated from respective websites] are located at the end of this article.

What follows are their responses to the following seven questions:

Question 1: What is your view of the overall state of teacher education in the U.S. today?

Question 2: When you think about educating prospective teachers, what "trade-offs" do you think come into play in designing impactful educational experiences?

Question 3: What is your view about the current state of the research base in teacher education? What "big questions" do you think the teacher education research field [still] needs to address?

Question 4: What are your thoughts about the current generation of teacher education students with regard to motivation, risk taking, and productive struggle in learning to teach? In what ways is it similar to or different from past generations of teacher education students?

Question 5: What are your thoughts about the state of teacher education curriculum and accreditation and/or state-level certification standards?

Question 6: What are your thoughts about the intersections of technology and teacher education?

Question 7: What else would you like to comment on with regard to university/college-based teacher education?

We represent their responses in toto; any editing we did was for clarity purposes only. Please note that not all four deans have a response for each question. We hope you find these responses as interesting as we do and that the questions and responses provide content for you and your colleagues to discuss.

Question 1: What is your view of the overall state of teacher education in the U.S. today?

Dean Ball: As teacher educators, we have arguably the most important job for the future of our country: preparing tomorrow's teachers to be safe practitioners, even as beginners. However, there are thousands of teacher preparation programs, and the training and guidance we offer to novice teachers vary greatly across these programs. As a result, the teaching profession lacks a shared codified professional knowledge and a common specific curriculum for preparation for entry-level teaching. Instead, there is an overreliance on conventional academic credentials as the standard content knowledge. The result is a widely shared view of teaching as individual and learned on the job. In other words, there currently exists no common standard of performance for entry to independent practice with [on] young people. …

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