Will Changes in Teacher Licensing Affect Preservice Preparation in Physical Education?
Definitely. Anytime there is a change in what is required to prepare future teachers, it will affect the number of credit hours, the faculty teaching the courses, the types of courses that are offered in a PETE curriculum, and most importantly, the PETE students. Professionals in teacher education are constantly challenged to accommodate changing standards for accreditation, for teacher certification, for beginning teachers, and for content. In addition, some states have placed a maximum on the number of hours in a degree program, which constrains the curriculum even more. Add to that the fact that PETE programs must still work with other departments on campus to include their courses in the program (health, education, psychology, etc.). There are also pressures from the liberal arts (or general education) portion of the overall university curriculum--that portion of a university curriculum that provides a well-rounded education and literally makes a university a "university." On the other hand, there may be a positive benefit to these changes in teacher licensing--they often result in PETE faculty taking a good, hard look at their curricula to see if prudent changes need to be made in the best interests of the students.
A good example of changes in teacher licensing can be found here in Pennsylvania. Recently, a mandate from the governor and the legislature requires all teacher education students to have a 3.0 GPA to enter teacher certification and to maintain that 3.0 GPA until they graduate. I am certainly not against setting high standards, nor for keeping the "status quo" in education. However, it may be that straight "A" students do not necessarily become the best teachers. This new mandate means that many good, enthusiastic teacher education candidates in Pennsylvania will not be able to become teachers in a profession that is already experiencing a teacher shortage. It continues to amaze me that the people who write these laws and mandates for teacher licensing think that because they "went to school once" they have now become "experts" in education. It also continues to amaze me that we, as educators, let them continue to have that mindset.
Kathryn L. Davis, assistant department chair for teacher education, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA 16057
Yes! The field of physical education has been changing dramatically, with preservice teachers learning everything from the basics to new ways to get the entire community involved in physical education. I have been substitute teaching for two years now, and I can say that school and physical education are not what they used to be. Many advancements have been made, and thankfully more and more new classes are being added to ensure mastery in a variety of areas in the field. No longer can physical educators just have their students play games, do activities, or perform fitness tests without knowing why. It isn't enough for students going into sports medicine to know about the care and prevention of injuries. They must also know how to carefully plan a rehabilitation program for an athlete with a specific injury. It seems as though changes in teacher licensing should include more mastery of knowledge about real-life classroom situations and how to deal with them. This is by far the most important learning tool fo r new teachers. With these kinds of positive changes taking place in preservice education, teachers are going to be more ready than ever to go out and survive their first year and the many years that follow.
Jessica Hennen, graduate student, Winona State University, Winona, MN 55987
This whole topic is confusing, complex, and convoluted. …