The authors proposed that teachers could develop these capacities by learning in and from practice. Teachers would learn how to elicit students’ thinking on an ongoing basis and use what they find out to improve their teaching practice, framing, guiding, and revising tasks and questions. They would approach teaching from a stance of inquiry. Finally, the authors sketched the outlines of professional education that would develop the knowledge and skills teachers require. Such education would focus on learning professional performance, would cultivate the knowledge and skills outlined above, and would be centered in teachers’ professional practice. Teachers’ learning would be supported by colleagues in communities of practice, as they reflected together on samples of student work or videotaped lessons.
Building on this theory of practice-based professional education, Windschitl (2009), Wilson (2011), and others have recommended replacing current disjointed teacher learning opportunities with more integrated continuums of teacher preparation, induction, support, and ongoing professional development. Windschitl (2009) proposed that teacher preparation programs within such a continuum should center on a common core curriculum grounded in a substantial knowledge of child or adolescent development, learning, and subject-specific pedagogy; those programs also should provide future teachers with extended opportunities to practice under the guidance of mentors (student teaching), lasting at least 30 weeks, that reflect the program’s vision of good teaching and that are interwoven with coursework.
Research to date has identified other characteristics of effective teacher preparation programs, including extensive use of case study methods, teacher research, performance assessments, and portfolio examinations that are used to relate teachers’ learning to classroom practice (Darling-Hammond, 1999). Deeper learning and the acquisition of 21st century competencies—for both teachers and their students—might also be supported through induction programs that help new teachers make effective use of study groups, peer learning, managed classroom discussions, and disciplined discourse routines (Monk and King, 1994; Ghousseini, 2009). Wilson (2011) and others have noted that one of the most promising practices for both induction and professional development involves bringing teachers together to analyze samples of student work, such as drawings, explanations, or essays, or to observe videotaped classroom dialogues. Working from principled analyses of how