Issues Old and New

  • Christopher J. Lucas


Practically everyone writing on the topic of teacher preparation nowadays acknowledges some degree of discontent with existing training programs on all sides. It has always been open season on teacher education; and today, as in the past, detractors are free with criticism. David F. Labaree of Michigan State University comments: “Everyone seems to have something bad to say about the way we prepare our teachers. If you believe what you read and what you hear, a lot of what is wrong with American education these days can be traced to the failings of teachers and to shortcomings in the processes by which we train them for their tasks. We are told that students are not learning, that productivity is not growing, that economic competitiveness is declining—all to some extent because teachers don’t know how to teach.”1


Teacher Education Student Teacher Prospective Teacher Grade Point Average Teacher Education Program 
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  1. 1.
    David F. Labaree, “An Unlovely Legacy: The Disabling Impact of the Market on American Teacher Education,” Phi Delta Kappan 75 (April 1994): 591. See also Kenneth R. Howey and Nancy L. Zimpher, “The Current Debate on Teacher Preparation,” Journal of Teacher Education 37 (September–October 1986): 41–49.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See David F. Labaree, The Making of an American High School: The Credentials Market and the Central High School of Philadelphia, 1838–1939 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988); and Labaree, “From Comprehensive High School to Community College: Politics, Markets, and the Evolution of Educational Opportunity,” in Ronald G. Corwin, ed., Research in Sociology of Education and Socialization, vol. 9 (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1990), pp. 203–240.Google Scholar
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    See Merle Borrowman, “Liberal Education and the Professional Preparation of Teachers,” in Borrowman, ed., Teacher Education in America: A Documentary History (New York: Teachers College Press, 1965), p. 1. References to the liberal arts tradition within the context of teacher education appear throughout Borrowman, The Liberal and Technical in Teacher Education: A Historical Survey of American Thought (New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1956); in Lawrence A. Cremin, “The Heritage of American Teacher Education,” Journal of Teacher Education 4 (June 1953): 163–164; in G. Clifford and J. Guthrie, Ed School: A Brief for Professional Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988); and in Bruce Kimball, Orators and Philosophers (New York: Teachers College Press, 1986). The discussion is adapted after the treatment supplied in Sharon Feiman-Nemser, “Teacher Preparation: Structural and Conceptual Alternatives,” in W. Robert Houston, Martin Haberman, and John Sikula, eds., Handbook of Research on Teacher Education (New York: Macmillan, 1990), p. 214.Google Scholar
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    Labaree, “An Unlovely Legacy,” p. 595. See also Paul Woodring, New Directions in Teacher Education (New York: Fund for the Advancement of Education, 1957), passim; and Walter Doyle, “Themes in Teacher Education Research,” in Houston, Haberman, and Sikula, eds., pp. 5–6. Note also Labaree, “The Trouble with Ed Schools,” Educational Foundations 10 (Summer 1996), pp. 27–45.Google Scholar
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    See Lawrence A. Cremin, The Education of the Educating Professions (19th Charles W. Hunt Lecture) (Washington, D.C.: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 1978). The point is registered in Feiman-Nemser, p. 216.Google Scholar
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    Figures cited are drawn from surveys reported in Mary M. Kluender, “Teacher Education Programs in the 1980s: Some Selected Characteristics,” Journal of Teacher Education 35 (July–August 1984): 34–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Quoted in Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis, “General Education: Rethinking the Assumptions,” Change 13 (September 1981): 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Jerry Gaff, “Reconstituting General Education: Lessons from Project GEM,” Change 13 (September 1981): 53. See also Gaff, “General Education for a Contemporary Context,” in New Models for General Education, Current Issues in Higher Education No. 4 (Washington, D.C.: American Association for Higher Education, 1980), pp. 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Murray, p. 20. “We could not find any evidence,” one group of educational researchers has noted, “that would provide support for the idea that a broad liberal arts education promotes the development of the values, analytical skills, love of learning, or other personal and intellectual characteristics one might reasonably attribute to teachers who care about their students and understand what it takes to facilitate learning.” They add, however, “The absence of evidence that greater emphasis on the liberal arts in the education of prospective teacher would result in greater teacher effectiveness does not, of course, prove that such changes are undesirable.” See Carolyn M. Evertson, Willis D. Hawley, and Marilyn Zlotnik, “Making a Difference in Educational Quality Through Teacher Education,” Journal of Teacher Education 36 (May–June 1985): 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    N. L. Gage, “What Do We Know About Teaching Effectiveness?” Phi Delta Kappan 66 (October 1984): 92. See also Hawley, pp. 256–257. For a fuller discussion of relevant research findings, consult Patrick Ferguson and Sid T. Womack, “The Impact of Subject Matter and Education Coursework on Teaching Performance,” Journal of Teacher Education 44 (January–February 1993): 55–70.Google Scholar
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    Richard D. Hansgen, “Can Education Become a Science?” Phi Delta Kappan 12 (May 1991): 694.Google Scholar
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    Donald Warren, “Learning from Experience: History and Teacher Education,” Educational Researcher 14 (December 1985): 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Lanier and Little, pp. 552, 558. See also Jane A. Stallings, “Implications from the Research on Teaching for Teacher Preparation,” in R. L. Egbert and Mary M. Kluender, eds., Using Research to Improve Teacher Education (Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education, U.S. Department of Education, 1984), pp. 127–145; Pamela L. Grossman, “Learning to Teach Without Teacher Preparation,” Teachers College Record 91 (Winter 1989): 191–208; Manuel J. Justiz, “Improving Teacher Education Through Research,” Journal of Teacher Education 35 (July–August 1984): 3; Ralph W. Tyler, “What We’ve Learned From Past Studies of Teacher Education,” Phi Delta Kappan 66 (June 1985): 682–684; and Kathryn F. Cochran et al., “Pedagogical Content Knowing: An Integrative Model for Teacher Preparation,” Journal of Teacher Education 44 (September–October 1993): 263–272.Google Scholar
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    Lois Thies-Sprinthall and Norman A. Sprinthall, “Preservice Teachers as Adult Learners: A New Framework for Teacher Education,” in Martin Haberman and Julie M. Backus, eds., Advances in Teacher Education, Vol. 3 (Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, 1987), pp. 37–38Google Scholar
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    Jere Brophy and Thomas L. Good, “Teacher Behavior and Student Achievement,” in Wittrock, p. 370. See also Thomas L. Good, “Building the Knowledge Base of Teaching,” in David D. Dill et al., eds., What Teachers Need to Know: The Knowledge, Skills and Values Essential to Good Teaching (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990), pp. 17–74.Google Scholar
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    David C. Berliner, “Making the Right Changes in Preservice Teacher Education,” Phi Delta Kappan 66 (October 1984): 94, 96. Note also the discussions in Jeffrey Gorrell et al., “Using Lasswell’s Decision Seminars to Assure Appropriate Knowledge Base in Teacher Education Programs,” Journal of Teacher Education 44 (May–June 1993): 183–189; James D. Greenberg, “The Case for Teacher Education: Open and Shut,” Journal of Teacher Education 34 (July–August 1983): 2–5; Carol Strawderman and Pamela Lindsey, “Keeping Up with the Times: Reform in Teacher Education,” Journal of Teacher Education 46 (March–April 1995): 95–100; Helen Harrington, “Teaching and Knowing,” Journal of Teacher Education 45 (May–June 1994) 190–198; and Linda Tafel and Judith Christensen, “Teacher Education in the 1990’s: Looking Ahead While Learning from the Past,” Action in Teacher Education 10 (Fall 1988): 1–6.Google Scholar
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    Lanier and Little, p. 552. See also contributors’ analyses in Frank B. Murray, The Teacher Educator’s Handbook, Building a Knowledge Base for the Preparation of Teachers (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996), Parts One and Three.Google Scholar
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    Illustrative studies, none of them recent, include John Beery, Professional Preparation and Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers (Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami, ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 052–156, 1960); J. Bledsoe et al., Comparison Between Selected Characteristics and Performance of Provisionally and Professionally Certified Beginning Teachers in Georgia (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia, ERIC Documentation Center No. ED 015–553, 1967); Patrick O. Copley, A Study of the Effect of Professional Education Courses on Beginning Teachers (Springfield, Mo: Southwest Missouri State University, ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 098–147, 1975); and Patricia D. Murphy, Teaching Strategies Exhibited by First-Year Teachers (Fargo, N.D.: North Dakota State University, ERIC Documentation Service No. ED 1068–452, 1972).Google Scholar
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    Kathy Carter and Walter Doyle, “Preconceptions in Learning to Teach,” Educational Forum 59 (Winter 1995): 186–195. Illustrations of a phenomenological approach to teaching and to teacher education include F. M. Connelly and D. J. Clandinin, “Personal Practical Knowledge and the Modes of Knowing: Relevance for Teaching and Learning,” in E. Eisner, ed., Learning and Teaching the Ways of Knowing, Eighty-fourth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. 174–198; J. G. Knowles, “Models for Understanding Preservice and Beginning Teachers’ Biographies: Illustrations from Case Studies,” in I. F. Goodson, ed., Studying Teachers’ Lives (New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 1992); and A. R. McAninch, Teacher Thinking and the Case Method (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1993).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Helpful discussions are given in Peter McDermott et al., “The Influence of Classroom Practica Experiences on Student Teachers’ Thoughts About Teaching,” Journal of Teacher Education 46 (May–June 1995): 184–191; Edward J. Meade, Jr., “Reshaping the Clinical Phase of Teacher Preparation,” Phi Delta Kappan 72 (May 1991): 666–669; and Sue Johnston, “Experience Is the Best Teacher; Or Is It? An Analysis of the Role of Experience in Learning,” Journal of Teacher Education 45 (May–June 1994): 199–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    The point is adapted and expanded from an argument originally presented in Landon E. Beyer and Kenneth M. Zeichner, “Teacher Training and Educational Foundations: A Plea for Discontent,” Journal of Teacher Education 33 (May–June 1982): 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Joseph L. DeVitis and Peter A. Sola, eds., Building Bridges for Educational Reform (Ames, Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 1989), p. 13.Google Scholar
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    See Robert Howsam et al., Educating a Profession (Washington, D.C.: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 1976), p. i; Amitai Etzioni, ed., The Semi-Professions and Their Organization: Teachers, Nurses, Social Workers (New York: Free Press, 1969); Thomas Popkewitz, A Political Sociology of Educational Reform: Power/Knowledge in Teaching, Teacher Education, and Research (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1991); Paul Mattingly, “Workplace Autonomy and the Reforming of Teacher Education,” in Thomas Popkewitz, ed., Critical Studies in Teacher Education: Its Folklore, Theory and Practice (London: Falmer Press, 1987), pp. 36–56; Mary McCaslin and Thomas Good, “Compliant Cognition: The Misallliance of Management and Instructional Goals in Current School Reform,” Educational Researcher 21 (1992): 4–17; and Thomas Popkewitz, “Professionalization in Teaching and Teacher Education: Some Notes On Its History, Ideology, and Potential,” Teaching and Teacher Education 10 (January 1994): 1–14.Google Scholar
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© Christopher J. Lucas 1999

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