Another dot in the blogosphere?

If I could reshape teacher education 1

Posted on: February 26, 2014

This is Part 1 of a list of experiences that I think preservice teachers (PSTs) should have.

The first core experience is Understanding Today’s Learner. This is not an excuse to rehash educational psychology, but to embed it and update it in today’s context.

For example, there is no point just rehashing social constructivism as a descriptive model of how people learn if there are no authentic examples to try out in class both as learners and as teachers. This theory should also be linked to and updated with social connectivism which takes into account how technology like social media enables nodes of learners to connect.

Another experience would be Preparing Learners for Their Future (Not Your Present or Past). This might be a combination of TPCK and learner management.

PSTs would learn how to integrate (not just use) ICT in academic subjects. They would also learn to facilitate more than they actually deliver content.

The ultimate aim of this experience would be to focus on the learner and learning, not the teacher and teaching. PSTs might face the hard fact that learners can learn without teachers. Teachers then learn how to reinvent themselves so that they are important to learners.

Yet another experience would be Teaching Our Learners to Be. This is discipline specific, but does not focus solely on academic content. The goal is to nurture learners who think creatively, critically, and independently in any field.

To get there a Science teacher might focus less on delivering content but on presenting problems and issues that a scientist would face. Doing this would require the learning of content, but it is not the content that comes first. The content is a means to a more meaningful end: Scientific thinking.

In that example, teachers learn how to get students to be scientists instead of learning about science.

Still another course would be Homework is Not a Given. This would be a flipped experience so that PSTs question the logic, purpose, and nature of homework. They would discover how irrelevant homework can be and how to leverage on it as a pin-point strategy instead of a blanket one.

What I have suggested so far might seem like courses, but they are not. A PST keeps an e-portfolio like a travel journal to document his or her experience. There is no right or wrong way to maintain the diary as long as the teacher can provide evidence of the attitude (values), aptitude (knowledge) and “act-itude” (skills).

More thoughts on reshaping teacher education tomorrow.

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