Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Are Teacher Education Programs Irrelevant?

CJ Westerberg, February 15, 2012 2:48 PM

obsolete.addingmachine.jpg

"The most innovative teachers are drawing on experiences and skill sets they developed outside of education."

While I was just about to re-tweet this blog post about a research study from Scott McLeod, one of my favorite provocateurs in education and technology . . .  I thought twice, especially since I am under the weather and relying on other peep's insight to make up for my cotton-headed brain for the week. 

What I love about this research is how it's about crossing silos - one of things that still often gets lost in education.

It is a good one to ponder and debate.   It is actually a guest post for McLeod's blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, from Seann from gamingmatter.com, which McLeod frames as "self-promotion."  Okay, good to know, yet the questions raised are more the point.  Post is entitled, "Are Teacher Preparation Programs Dangerously Irrelevant?"

Below is an excerpt of the post and research. Do check out the entire post or the follow-up posts, as where you will find me soon.

-C.J.W. 

Were you trained to teach in a teacher education program? What training most equipped you to teach like you do?

The results were striking. Stop for a moment and consider the following numbers from 39 of our award winning teachers.

  • 10% credit their primary training to a traditional four year certification program


  • 21% credit their primary training to a hobby, game, or interest.

 

  • 33% credit their primary training to another job/profession.



  • 36% credit their primary training to another field of study.


  • Only 31% completed a traditional four year certification program.


  • 46% were employed in other fields or left the teaching profession for a time.


  • 67% were trained in other fields of practice before getting a certificate in a 1-2 year program.


  • Only 10%, or 4 of 39, affirmed that their official 'teacher training' was relevant to their current practice. The rest were inspired elsewhere.

There were no patterns on what these other field/professions were other than that they covered the gambit: Medicine, Aviation, Acting, Mortuary Work, Rock-n-Roll, Journalism, etc. etc. Commonly, these teachers felt their training in that field was what actually influenced their teaching.

Ironically, those that are being recognized as excellent teachers, were largely not trained as such. Moreover, they largely went out of their way to make sure the world would know it.

So what does this say to educational leadership?

Do we want more 21st century teachers? The most innovative teachers are drawing on experiences and skill sets they developed outside of education.

Later I'll show results that 21st Century skills are a key part of what they are bringing into the classroom, while traditional education programs still reduce "technology training" to the use of an over-head or interactive whiteboard. The following posts will uplift the sources that positively affect teacher training.

Immediately, a few things... this data would suggest if you want to employ innovative creative teachers, you may want to consider:

1) Interview non-traditional candidates; those with other training, lifelong learners with avid hobby interests, avid readers, and yes, computer gamers. These seem to be better predictors of potential among the sample set.

2) Refine your interview protocol to uncover these interests outside of the profession. What do you do for fun? What other interests do you have? Have you ever worked outside of education? Where?

3) Encourage workshops and training outside of education and validate those experiences with modified accreditation. NASA led summer workshops for teachers that were brought up by three of the candidates - none of them were high school science teachers and two of them went on to get flying licenses.

4) When a teacher leaves to work in another profession, this may not be the end of their teaching career. It may be the beginning of an adventure that will return to teach in coming years and win awards for excellence. Stay in touch with teachers that have left to work elsewhere. Encourage them and keep the door open.

5) We can't assume that teacher training is actually doing so. When the local prep program is redesigning, participate and vocalize what skills today's teachers need. Ask for the things that worked for our nation's 'best'. Demand that professors are modeling new media pedagogical practices, out-of-field training, student teaching for every course, design work, and community building.

More on those in the next post.

Best,

Seann
gamingmatter.com



You will find the full post and follow-up on Scott McLeod's blog - where I will be, too.








blog comments powered by Disqus
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
Follow The Daily Riff on Follow TDR on Twitter

find us on facebook

bill-gates.FT.Financial-Times.jpg

Cool Smart Teen: Changing the conversation about building stuff

SMW, 11.04.2013

Not just building an app to play with . . . but a test for cancer

Read Post | Comments

Riffing good stories

Stanford.design-thinking. innovation.jpg

Video: What is the link between "design-thinking" and creativity?

SMW, 11.03.2013

Creative Confidence: Must-Watch Interview on Charlie Rose

Read Post | Comments
early education.preschool.jpg

How Much Do Early Years Lead to Student Success?

CJ Westerberg, 11.03.2013

"The idea being that wasn't necessarily to create little engineers everywhere, though that would be great for us. The idea was to take advantage of the natural learning process and curiosity that children have at that age . . ." Tamika Lang, Boeing

Read Post | Comments
weekend-reading.jpg

NEW: Weekend Reading

SMW, 11.03.2013

Looking for Intimacy in the Age of Facebook is a higher education course (yes, you heard right). Interestingly, social media may inhibit creativity and innovation

Read Post | Comments
CV.digital.jpg

The New Resume

SMW, 10.31.2013

A picture is worth a thousand words. A video game-like format is worth . . .

Read Post | Comments
red.blue.abstract.jpg

Noam Chomsky: The Purpose of Education

CJ Westerberg, 10.31.2013

"Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own. . . "

Read Post | Comments
twitter2BigBird.jpg

Noam Chomsky: In the news again, this time about Twitter and High Schoolers

SMW, 10.31.2013

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT, "father of linguistics", political commentator.  From bio: "Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today":               ...

Read Post | Comments
CIMG0353.jpg

Choke: Test-taking - - - a different way to look at test-prep?

CJ Westerberg, 10.28.2013

"Most students will not find a steady diet of test-prep drills and worksheets to be particularly meaningful, and accordingly, they will not put forth optimal learning effort."

Read Post | Comments
beehive.bee.jpg

Does your school have a beehive?

CJ Westerberg, 10.27.2013

"If we want children to be inventors, we have to give them opportunities to invent." - 5:00 mark, Mission Hill video

Read Post | Comments