Be Prepared: The ASCD Forum Discusses Educator Preparation Programs
The ASCD Forum is in its fourth week of discussion of the question, “How do we define and measure teacher and principal effectiveness?”
To address such a complex question, we decided to break it up into themes over the twelve-week period of the ASCD Forum, and the current theme is educator preparation: “What is the role and responsibility of educator preparation programs to foster and sustain effectiveness?”
Educators have begun to make their voices heard. For example, 2012 Emerging Leader and Regional Science Coordinator Fred Ende has five suggestions for improving teacher preparation:
- Prepare educators to be specialists, instead of generalists.
- Provide clarity around the certification process.
- Connect K–12 educators with postsecondary educators to share curricula and methodology.
- Get parents and students involved in teacher education classes.
- Start recruiting teachers at the high school level.
You can read Fred’s full post Keepin’ It Real: Preparation Pathways that ‘Work’ on ASCD Edge®.
Suzann Girtz, 2011 Emerging Leader and Assistant Professor at Gonzaga University’s School of Education, asked her undergraduate teacher candidates what they think is most effective in preparing them for the classroom. Overwhelmingly, these aspiring teachers want hands-on experience in a supportive environment:
“The most important thing to me is experience. Getting out into the classroom and getting that real experience.” —Tom D’Aboy
“We can all sit in a classroom and be taught about appropriate teaching methods, assessment tools, differentiation, etc. but the real learning comes from the classroom.”—Anna Demaranis
“Theories of learning are forgettable until you actually apply and experience them.” —Clara Shands
Suzann’s students had other valuable suggestions as well:
On student engagement: “Teacher preparation programs are responsible for providing aspiring teachers with the most advanced ways promote interest and determination in young minds.” —Taylor Peterson
On emphasizing reflection: “Teacher candidates need to know how to reflect on their own work and methods.” —Ellen Chirhart
On meeting students where they are: “Educator preparation programs help us recognize how to meet everyone’s needs, and not just the majority’s needs.” —Gene Dawydiak
Be sure to check out Suzann’s full post on ASCD EDge.
Fred, Suzann, and the Gonzaga undergraduate teacher candidates have shared their thoughts…
But what do you think?
What does an ideal teacher preparation program look like? What about a principal preparation program? ASCD wants to involve educators all over the world in this discussion, whether it’s through comments in the ASCD Forum group, #ASCDForum tweets on Twitter, or the face-to-face session at Annual Conference.
Meg Simpson is an ASCD project manager in Constituent Services.