Student Teaching: The Make or Break of Teacher Prep
The latest in a series of reports on U.S. teacher-prep programs, this study from the National Council on Teacher Quality dives into the murky waters of the “student-teaching” experience. This is widely held to be the single most formative aspect of a preparation program, and often a teacher candidate’s first real foray into the classroom. NCTQ examined the protocols of 134 undergraduate institutions to determine which adhere to student-teaching best practices—and which barely adhere to any practices at all. NCTQ analyzed the length of the student-teaching experience (it should last at least ten weeks, they say); the selection of the cooperating teacher (they should be chosen by the prep program, not the school or district); and the qualifications of cooperating teachers (they should have at least three years of experience, as well as demonstrated classroom effectiveness and mentoring ability). The findings? While all programs articulate basic student-teaching protocols, most fail to ensure the quality of the experience. For example, only 38 percent require that the cooperating teacher possess the qualities of a good mentor, while just 28 percent require that they be effective instructors as designated by schools’ principals. Institutions also neglect to provide guidance and feedback to student-teachers throughout their assignment, reducing the experience to merely a rite of passage—an expensive one at that. And the places that do maintain these requirements on paper rarely enforce them in practice. Ultimately, only 7 percent of institutions boast model programs. The analysis is worth a detailed read—both for its overall findings and for its ratings of individual programs.
Julie Greenberg, Laura Pomerance, and Kate Walsh, “Student Teaching: The Make or Break of Teacher Prep,” (Washington, D.C.: National Council on Teacher Quality, July 2011).
blog comments powered by Disqus