Academic journal article Issues in Teacher Education

Preparing Teachers for a Changing World

Academic journal article Issues in Teacher Education

Preparing Teachers for a Changing World

Article excerpt

Preparing Teachers for a Changing World Edited by Linda Darling-Hammonf and John Bransford San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005

Preparing Teachers for a Changing World is an important contribution to the ongoing work to professionalize teaching through the reform of the teacher preparation curriculum. For several decades, this reform effort has included: (a) the development of standards for teaching and teacher education (Holmes Group, 1986); (b) the building of a research-based knowledge base for novice teachers and teacher education (Imig, 1992); and (c) the conducting of research on the relationship between quality teaching and student learning (National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 1996).

The role of teaching in student learning and how it informs the curriculum of teacher education is at the heart of this book. Edited by Linda Darling-Hammond and John Bransford, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World provides an evidence-based look at the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that characterize the teacher as a professional who is a lifelong learner committed to helping all children succeed. It brings together the research, theoretical foundations, and consensus of practitioners on teacher education into a conceptual framework that lends clarity to the purpose, content, structural elements, and pedagogies of the curriculum of initial teacher education.

The conceptual framework holds that novice teachers must have knowledge of learners and curriculum, as well as an understanding of teaching. It reveals the relationships between how children learn, the pedagogies that support high levels of learning, and the experiences of teacher learning. The framework also serves to organize the book. Chapters Two through Four consider theories of learning, theories and research underlying developmentally appropriate practice, and research relevant to students' languages. Chapter Five explores the teacher's role in curriculum decision making. Chapters Six through Nine address essential domains of practice and include research pertinent to teaching the subject matter and diverse learners, assessing learning, and building effective environments for student learning. Chapter Ten examines teacher development, with an emphasis on building teacher learning through communities of practice. The final chapters examine the design and renewal of the teacher education curriculum.

In each chapter, the authors present conclusions and recommendations for teacher knowledge, skills, and dispositions that characterize the teacher as a professional. This review presents the authors' contributions to the meaning of professionalism and the implications of this meaning for the reform of the initial teacher education curriculum.

The Teacher as a Professional

In Preparing Teachers for a Changing World, the authors present evidence in the context of a framework of teacher knowledge, skills, and dispositions, as well as Shulman's (1998) work on professions to make the case that teaching is a profession. As described by the authors, Shulman (as cited in Bransford, Darling-Hammond, & LePage, 2005) has identified the characteristics that denote professions, including service to society, the development of a scholarly knowledge base, practical action, uncertainty caused by client needs, experience, and membership in a professional community. For the authors, service in teaching is a commitment to lifelong learning, which carries a moral dimension of teaching that includes providing equitable and high quality learning experiences for all children and preparing children for successful participation in a democracy. Within the context of this commitment to serve, the teacher as professional has both content and pedagogical content knowledge bases informed by research and practice.

Knowledge of learners is one domain of teachers' professional knowledge. The book uses research-based evidence, housed in a framework for learning, to develop conclusions about the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of effective teachers. …

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