Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Teacher Educators Should Lead Charge for Change

Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Teacher Educators Should Lead Charge for Change

Article excerpt

In our changing times there is at least one constant: Schools need well-trained, qualified business educators who have the knowledge, talent, drive and interpersonal and political skills necessary for survival and success in today's classrooms.

The restructuring of U.S. education requires nothing less than a transformation in the way business teachers are trained. There cannot be good business programs without good business teachers.

Over the past decade, the technological boom and the demands of business and industry have brought about corresponding changes in the classroom. The information highway, multimedia, computer-assisted teaching, visual imaging--all have become as important to aspiring business teachers as the typewriter was for many years.

For a variety of reasons, many school districts have lost confidence in college degrees and teaching credentials. The broad, general and often vague outcomes that a baccalaureate degree represents are not useful to many administrators in making personnel decisions today. The term "college graduate" has come to have many different connotations and its numerous meanings have caused considerable frustration among employers.

Employers today want credentials from new business teachers that accurately communicate that individual's skills and competence in communication, adaptability, self management, academic basics, teamwork, leadership and technology. Those are the skills that business education offers and can continue to provide.

Instructional changes. Business education programs in higher education institutions must reconcile the discrepancies between what school districts need today and what higher education delivers. To begin with, business education programs at the college level must identify and teach more specific competencies that teachers need. The tendency for years has been to teach in general terms. Instructional techniques need to embrace more variety than the timeworn lecture method. Students cannot learn to teach just by sitting in class listening to lectures, memorizing assignments and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning about teaching, write about it, relate it to past experiences, apply it to past experiences and then apply it to their own teaching practices. To produce good teachers, university instructors of business education need to involve their students in the process of learning how to teach.

Assessment. Assessment needs revision to correspond to updated curricula and approaches to teaching. Business teacher educators need to ensure that curriculum and instruction help students develop a variety of ways to show what they've learned about teaching. …

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