Friday, October 1, 2010

Teacher Educators: the source of the problem

Great new study from Fordham; "Cracks in the Ivory Tower" which surveyed our university teacher educators to get their opinion on the state of education and teaching.  Nor surprising - they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Conclusion:  good teachers become good teachers in spite of their training.

From the executive summary:
  • Teacher educators show only modest concern for real-world challenges such as managing classrooms and student discipline, implementing differentiated instruction, and working with state standards—even though K–12 teachers often say these are among the most difficult elements of teaching.
  • They are far more likely to believe that the proper role of teacher is to be a “facilitator of learning” (84 percent) not a “conveyor of knowledge” (11 percent).
  • Only 24 percent believe it is absolutely essential to produce “teachers who understand how to work with the state’s standards, tests, and accountability systems.”
  • Just 39 percent find it absolutely essential “to create teachers who are trained to address the challenges of high-needs students in urban districts.”
  • Just 37 percent say it is absolutely essential to focus on developing “teachers who maintain discipline and order in the classroom.
And the bid ARRRRRRRGH
The vast majority of education professors (83 percent) believe it is absolutely essential for public school teachers to teach 21st century skills, but just 36 percent say the same about teaching math facts, and 44 percent about teaching phonics in the younger grades

I get tired of useless studies of abstractedness that never amount to anything.  But in the realm of identifying the problem in K-12 education - this study is HUGE.  Take a read and thanks Fordham.