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working it out re: teacher prep

June 29, 2011

a personal theory:

Teacher prep isn’t the problem, well it’s not 100% of the problem (obvious eh).

Novice/new teachers aka years 1-3ish in communities of practice with oldtimers (in Lavean and Wenger terms) aka “mentor” teachers and colleagues generate (or at least perpetuate) the problem.

Preservice teachers transition into student teachers with their own beliefs and aspirations, and given a tool belt (toy box [in my own terms]) of tools to do their work in schools with students. They meet students, who certainly know “good” from “bad” teachers, but they are also met with constraints within the institution of schooling.

Something happens between the high-hopes and aspirations of student teachers -> novice teachers. Could it be the oldtimers aka veteran teachers? Their school? THE INSTITUTION? Burn out?

I’m not sold yet on any specific answer. But, as I read blog posts of preservice teachers in section one and section two of my Learning Theories course, I’m befuddled by the chasm that apparently exists not between theory and practice, but between aspirations and reality.

How could so many, basically 100% of them, want to be “good teachers” who focus on: being student-centered, attending to students’ emotional and cognitive needs/abilitites, and wanting to create learning scenarios that encourage critical thinking go astray i.e. perpetuate the current system?

Maybe the problem does not reside within teacher prep or the newest generation of folks pursuing teaching. Maybe it exists within those who are already there … those who reside there and meet our candidates with open arms …  but closed minds.

Before you go and criticize the younger generation, just remember who raised them.  Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Contemplating and hopeful about them and us (you and me).

GNA, a non-certified, non-credentialed, somewhat-degreed educator

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 18, 2011 8:55 pm

    Indeed. And their own expertise is inevitably threatened when they’re asked to contemplate deep change (which is what we need). Something akin to the Kruger-Dunning effect is at work here. Or maybe it’s just plain hypocrisy.

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