START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
774,200 people care about Education

Putting a Creative Spin on Teacher Training

Putting a Creative Spin on Teacher Training

 

Some radical changes are coming to teacher training in the US.

New York and up to 25 other states are moving toward changing the way they grant licenses to teachers. They plan to  de-emphasize tests and written essays in favor of a more demanding approach that requires teachers-in-training to prove themselves through lesson plans, homework assignments and videotaped instruction sessions.

In other words, they want to make sure that teachers can actually teach, that they have the ability to lead classrooms and handle students of differing abilities and needs, often amid limited resources.

My own training at the University of London, England, did indeed include several videotaped sessions, as well as many weeks of actual teaching, with a lot of monitoring from my instructors. That teaching practice was vastly more useful to me than the lectures on educational philosophy and psychology, given by aging men who probably had never seen the inside of a classroom.

So these changes sound excellent to me.

The New York Times explains:

It is also a reaction to a criticism of some teachers’ colleges, which have been accused of minting diplomas but failing to prepare teachers for the kind of real-world experience where creativity and flexibility can be the keys to success.

The new licensing standards will be required next year in Washington State and have been committed to in Minnesota. New York will impose the new standards starting in 2014 with the estimated 62,000 students expected to graduate with teaching degrees.

Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee are also moving toward mandating the new assessment in the coming years, and about 20 other states are testing it through pilot programs to determine if they will ultimately use it.

“We don’t want to know if you can pass multiple-choice tests,” said Stephanie Wood-Garnett, an assistant commissioner in the New York State Education Department’s office of higher education. “We want to know if you can drive.”

The model for evaluating educators, known as Teacher Performance Assessment, was designed by Stanford University, with input from more than 600 educators, including university professors, across the country.

Here’s how it will work: a teacher’s daily lesson plans, handouts and assignments will be reviewed, in addition to their logs about what works, what does not and why. Videos of student teachers will be scrutinized for moments when critical topics are discussed. Teachers will also be judged on their ability to deepen reasoning and problem-solving skills, to gauge how students are learning and to coax their class to cooperate in tackling learning challenges.

OK, so far so good. It makes sense that passing a written test in no way guarantees that a student can actually teach.

But here comes the problem: the new system will require teachers to electronically submit their work, including the videos, for grading by trained evaluators who have been recruited by the education company Pearson.

Why on earth is a giant for-profit company like Pearson involved in the evaluation of teachers?

Many teachers are up-in-arms about the idea of outsourcing teacher evaluation, as The New York Times reports:

At the University of Massachusetts, 67 of the 68 students in a program for future middle and high school teachers refused to submit two 10-minute videos of themselves teaching, as well as a 40-page take-home test. The students said that evaluators chosen by Pearson were not qualified to judge their abilities, and should not be allowed to do so over their own professors.

Textbook publishers, testing companies and yes, Pearson Education, are already making a fat profit off the backs of educators. Let’s keep Pearson out of the evaluation of teachers.

Related Stories

Should Teacher Standards Be Re-Examined?

Florida Gives Wrong Grades To Hundreds Of Schools

Step Away From The Computers, Says Silicon Valley

Read more: , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: thinkstock

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

40 comments

+ add your own
9:18AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

continued again - and finally. (There should be a character counter for Comments)

and our students rank about 15th in the World. HINT.

8:41AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

My comment was too long = continued:

who could not write their own name. Dis-order was the only order. We had 2 armed plainclothes officers patrolling, but, they could not be everywhere. I had to break up 2 knife fights in my classroom, prevent a student from dumping another student out of a 2nd story window, and detain a former student, a female 2 years older, who had come to school to avenge her brother's embarrassment - with a homemade chain and mace!

Normal in-class disruption by students, many of whom needed medical help, could only be dealt with by a trip to the "Office". Who knows what the "Office" did, but, generally, there was 20 minutes of Teachable Time" before they returned.

I learned to become very inventive as there was zero time for individual help. My "darlings" ended that year reading somewhere in their grade year with a few "stars" reading at the college level. The 2 "newbies" were reading at 5th/6th grade level.

Having lost 3 retirements to corporate "conglomerations", I surely wish I could have stayed in teaching. However, I do not begrudge Teachers, they have earned it.

Classroom teachers are the only people who know enough to change the internals. And, they know. But, Admin & Boards bring in "consultants" ... like Pearson, Spending $GaMillions.

First step however, the 1850s school calendar we STILL use must be brought, at least, into the post-War era, if not the 21st Century.
We have about the 14th shortest school year and our stud

8:23AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

How is it that Teachers have been made the Donkey to have a Tail pinned on??

"All of a sudden", they have become the "boogey" folks of what's wrong with our "Educational" system plus our local and state Budgets, etc.??

Having read numerous Readers' Comments following newspaper articles and editorial/opinion pieces on the "Crisis in Teaching", I am astounded at the level of Hate, Anger and Jealousy focused on Teachers from some elements in the population. If it isn't "mob behavior", it has to be the work of "paid bloggers" engaged to gin up the general mood of Anger in the Country - for Partisan or Profit motives.

Teachers are the best people to teach our young. They have received 3-4 years of Under-Graduate training, with Student Teaching under a mentor teacher. Each year they receive more days of additional in-service training than most professions. And they are showing up daily to do a job that most of us would not or could not do.- deal with our kids for hours and weeks on end.

Plus, most of them figured out that the only way to receive a decent income from teaching is to earn their M.A.T. (Masters).

I have taught several years at the college and "Continuing Ed" levels where teaching is easy.

But, I also taught Jr Hi English in a K-8 in the Heartland for a year many years ago. A year I thought would never end. Average reading level for my 8th grade "darlings" was 4th Grade! with several "off the chart" including 2 "newbies" from the "Ol' South" who coul

7:23PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

good idea! thanks for the info

2:31PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Our educational system is suffering from an almost classic case of multiple personality disorder here...Teachers learn better with other methods than static lessons and their performance is better appraised through methods other than testing...but unfortunately we stick with those old methods in relationship to the children! I am a life-long proponent of the Montessori method of education where those kinds of lessons and appraisals are not used because over 100 years ago Maria Montessori discovered they weren't the most effective ways to educate children. Our children deserve better as do our teachers but let's keep this non-commercial, education should not be measured by any corporate bottom line.

1:54PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Should definitely not be a corporation involved. This is educaation, and we need to stop trying to make it "Big Business."
Otherwise, this isn't a new idea. After completing my 4 years of college, I got my credentials to teach in 1964 with the same training methods, with the exception of the video and electronic postings. Teacher was always in room observing (except for last week) --training was 10 weeks total, and all daily reviews and other conferences with mentor teacher were in person. My grandfather (head of the Department of Education at the University of Florida at the time) actually designed and implemented the first teacher training project in the state of Florida in the early 40's.

1:33PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Making a business out of other's work isn't something new beneath the sun. Stimulating competitivity should be achieved by means of performance. In this respect, every person involved in educational activities should be at close surveillance, based on the results of their work. This means that e.g. a school teacher (or kindergarten teacher), should be rated in accordance to his/her pupils capabilities. Based on this, the teacher will hold a personal teaching portfolio, according to pupil's level of preparation. The surveillance should be continued as to prove that pupil's knowledge level isn't accidental. And the process has to be continued up to University level. Concuding, we'll have to say that every factor in child and pupil's education, will have to bear the school teacher's footprint.

1:32PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Making a business out of other's work isn't something new beneath the sun. Stimulating competitivity should be achieved by means of performance. In this respect, every person involved in educational activities should be at close surveillance, based on the results of their work. This means that e.g. a school teacher (or kindergarten teacher), should be rated in accordance to his/her pupils capabilities. Based on this, the teacher will hold a personal teaching portfolio, according to pupil's level of preparation. The surveillance should be continued as to prove that pupil's knowledge level isn't accidental. And the process has to be continued up to University level. Concuding, we'll have to say that every factor in child and pupil's education, will have to bear the school teacher's footprint.

1:31PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Making a business out of other's work isn't something new beneath the sun. Stimulating competitivity should be achieved by means of performance. In this respect, every person involved in educational activities should be at close surveillance, based on the results of their work. This means that e.g. a school teacher (or kindergarten teacher), should be rated in accordance to his/her pupils capabilities. Based on this, the teacher will hold a personal teaching portfolio, according to pupil's level of preparation. The surveillance should be continued as to prove that pupil's knowledge level isn't accidental. And the process has to be continued up to University level. Concuding, we'll have to say that every factor in child and pupil's education, will have to bear the school teacher's footprint.

1:05PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

UGH! Why? Why create something so great and then ruin it by allowing Big Bussiness to control the whole thing?

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.