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Issues Old and New

  • Christopher J. Lucas

Abstract

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

Keywords

Teacher Education Student Teacher Prospective Teacher Grade Point Average Teacher Education Program 
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Notes

  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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    Arthur G. Powell, The Uncertain Profession: Harvard and the Search for Educational Authority (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980), p. 159.CrossRefGoogle 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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    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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    Refer to the findings and discussions reported in Robert A. Roth, “The Status of the Profession: Selected Characteristics and Criticisms of Teacher Education and Teaching,” Teacher Educator 19 (Autumn 1983): 3; and in Kluender, p. 34. But note also Office of Educational Research and Improvement, The Condition of Education 1995 (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See W. Timothy Weaver, “In Search of Quality: The Need for Talent in Teaching,” Phi Delta Kappan 61 (September 1979): 29–32, 46; and the profile given in Weaver, “The Talent Pool in Teacher Education,” Journal of Teacher Education 32 (May–June 1981): 53–55. Consult also Weaver, The Tragedy of the Commons: The Effects of Supply and Demand on the Education Talent Pool (Washington, D.C.: ERIC Document Reproduction Service, No. ED 204–261, 1981); and Weaver, America’s Teacher Quality Problem: Alternatives for Reform (New York: Praeger, 1983).Google Scholar
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    Willis D. Hawley, “United States,” in Howard B. Leavitt, ed., Issues and Problems in Teacher Education, An International Handbook (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992), p. 253.Google Scholar
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    Office of Educational Research and Improvement, The Pocket Condition of Education 1995 (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 1995), p. 14.Google Scholar
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    The point is taken from Judith E. Lanier and Judith W. Little, “Research on Teacher Education,” in Merlin C. Wittrock, ed., Handbook of Research on Teaching, 3rd ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1986), p. 539.Google 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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    Quoted by Martin Kaplan, “The Wrong Solution to the Right Problem,” in James W. Hall, ed., In Opposition to Core Curriculum, Alternative Models for Undergraduate Education (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982), p. 187.Google Scholar
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    William D. Schaefer, Education Without Compromise, From Chaos to Coherence in Higher Education (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990), pp. xii, 23–25, 123–124Google 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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    James B. Conant, The Education of American Teachers (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963), p. 106.Google 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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    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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    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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© Christopher J. Lucas 1999

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  • Christopher J. Lucas

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