SYSTEMIC APPROACHES TO IMPROVING TEACHER EDUCATION

Institutions of Higher Education: One Key

In Tomorrow’s Schools of Education, the Holmes Group (1995) charged that “education students for too long have been learning too little of the right things in the wrong places at the wrong time.” Their report challenged colleges of education to raise their standards and to make important changes in their curriculum, faculty, location of their work, and in their student body. Similarly, the Holmes Group exhorted, “The Universities that develop education knowledge, influence education policy, and prepare teachers and other leaders for our nation’s schools and education schools must overcome ‘business as usual’ to meet the challenge of these truly unusual times in education. The indisputable link between the quality of elementary and secondary schools and the quality of the education schools must be acknowledged—and we must respond.”

Other high-level reports have echoed the conclusions of this and the other Holmes Group reports (1986, 1990). In 1996, an advisory committee to the National Science Foundation recommended that to improve the preparation of teachers and principals, schools of education should (1) build bridges to other departments, (2) look for ways to reinforce and integrate learning, rather than maintaining artificial barriers between courses in content and pedagogy, and (3) develop partnerships and collaborations with colleagues in education, in the K-12 sector, and in the business world (NSF, 1996). In 1999, the American Council on Education

While school reform alone cannot eliminate all the causes of educational failure in our society, a more responsive educational system is a vital step in breaking the cycle of failure that entraps too many of our students and teachers. Schools and universities must be willing to reexamine everything: the way they utilize personnel, space, money, time, research, and technology. They must creatively build different kinds of schools and preparation programs that bridge the gap between what is learned and what people need to understand and be able to do in order to be productive in the future.

Richardson, 1994, page 1



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