next sentence presents the dilemma: "The culture of higher education is such that the requisite changes will occur only if individual professors take the initiative." This passage continues on to mention superficially roles of administrators. But the onus of change is placed on individual faculty members. The roles of policy makers, particularly those who license and credential teachers, are not explicated. Yet both university administrators and state officials play important roles in the preparation and professionalization of teachers.
Jane Butler Kahle's presentation on Standards and teacher preparation, which preceded the final state team planning session, focused participants back on the issues for teacher preparation raised by the Standards and on the scope of involvement by the education community required to bring about change.
Prospective teachers have little, if any, experience with the type of teaching that is espoused in the Standards. In fact, their experience is described in the Standards in the following way: "Undergraduate science courses typically communicate science as a body of facts and rules to be memorized, rather than a way of knowing about the natural world. Even the science laboratories in most colleges fail to present science as inquiry. Moreover, teacher preparation courses and in-service activities frequently emphasize technical skills."
Furthermore, science teacher educators, the majority of whom are over 50 years of age, have little if any, experience with the type of teaching espoused in the Standards. Yet they are supposed to encourage their student teachers to teach according to the Standards. Last, and perhaps of lingering concern in this country, elementary teachers continue to have little experience with any kind of science. In 1993, only two out of three elementary teachers had at least one college course in the biological, physical, and earth sciences. Therefore, I want to take a minute to explore with you the dichotomy between what the Standards say should be taught and what teachers can teach.
First of all, the Standards say we must have high expectations for all students. Second, the Standards call for a focus on in-depth learning of a limited number of powerful concepts, with an emphasis on reasoning and problem solving rather than on memorizing facts, terminology, and algorithms. Third, teachers are to integrate the nature and processes of science and mathematics inquiry with a knowledge of science and mathematical concepts and principles. Fourth, teachers are to engage students in meaningful activities that enable them to construct and apply their knowledge of key science and math concepts. Fifth, teachers are to teach in a way that reflects sound principles from research on how students learn, including using cooperative learning and questioning techniques that promote interaction and deeper understanding. And finally, sixth on my list, teaching is to incorporate appropriate and ongoing use of calculators, computers, and other technologies in science and mathematics.