Academic journal article Education

The Teacher Education Alliance (TEA): A Model Teacher Preparation Program for the Twenty-First Century

Academic journal article Education

The Teacher Education Alliance (TEA): A Model Teacher Preparation Program for the Twenty-First Century

Article excerpt

As relevant reform recommendations flowed from The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Goodlad Consortium, the Holmes Group, the Carnegie Forum, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, an experimental teacher preparation program was being envisioned by a large urban school district, a local community college, and a state university. The Teacher Education Alliance (TEA) was developed to prepare pre-service teachers for the 21st century by restructuring teacher preparation curriculum, providing exemplary teaching models, utilizing shared resources, and emphasizing curriculum themes (technology, diversity, and the integration of content knowledge and varied teaching strategies).

One of the major postulates to come out of the teacher education reform movement was the importance of school-university partnerships. The Carnegie Report emphasized the importance of a link between a clinical school and university faculty (Darling-Hammond, 1996). Goodlad (1990) advocated the need for higher education involvement in schools and considered serious faculty engagement as the first step. In 1990 a report released by the Florida Education Standards Commission included the recommendation that "a strong collaboration between the colleges of education, colleges of arts and sciences, community colleges, private institutions, the Florida Department of Education, and school districts is essential" (Ishler, Edens, & Berry, 1996, p. 371-372). Burstein, Kretschmer, Smith, and Godoski (1999) suggested "developing a collaborative culture among school and university partners," "establishing cross-institutional positions and school-university committees that govern and guide the collaborative," and "developing differentiated roles and responsibilities for collaborative participants with program decisions made collaboratively" (p. 117). Continued research on the relationship between school-university partnerships and students' learning is recommended (Lawrence & Dubetz, 2001; Lenski, Grisham, Brink, Mahurt, Jampole, Cohen, Mitchell, & Zeek, 2001).

The curriculum themes of technology, diversity, and the integration of content knowledge and varied teaching strategies are also supported in the literature. Imig and Switzer (1996) reminded educators of the impact of rapid development of information technologies on teacher education and "... instruction through technology and instruction in the use of technology are becoming important components of programs that prepare teachers" (p. 221). Wiggins and Folio (1999) emphasized that students need to be prepared to teach in culturally diverse settings through teacher preparation programs that infuse multicultural education throughout the total program including multiple approaches, readings, projects, learning in multicultural settings, and immersed field experiences with cooperating teachers who have a thorough knowledge of multiculrural education. Shanker (1996) admonished teacher education for" presenting knowledge in a piecemeal and disconnected manner. Theory is unrelated to practice; content knowledge is disconnected from teaching methods; instructional practices are unrelated to learning and development" (p. 221). This opinion is also advocated by the National Commission for Excellence in Teacher Education (cited in Burnstein, Kretschmer, Smith, & Gudoski, 1999): "Teacher preparation programs often fail to link theory with practice, leave content area knowledge disconnected from methods, and do a poor job of relating instructional practices to learning and development" (p. 109). Darling-Hammond (1996) encouraged the teaching of skills in using a range of teaching strategies including technologies and effectiveness in working with students from diverse backgrounds. After exploring current and proposed elementary curriculum, Ishler, Edens and Berry (1996) set forth five, interrelated conditions and conceptions of elementary education curriculum that should influence teacher education. …

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