Galoot wrote:Mr. Henry, my alternative is one we have already discussed--a teacher training program that produces excellent teachers. The Finnish model seems quite good. I agree completely that you ought not to teach physics (my subject, as an example) without the equivalent of at least a B.S. in the subject--not a B.S. in science education, but a 4 year degree in the actual subject.
Sounds like we agree on this.
Galoot wrote: But additional coursework IS needed for learning best practices in education. Many on the right think that you should just be able to walk into any high school classroom, with a B.S. degree in the subject, and be a great teacher. It can happen, but there is a lot to learn about teaching.
We agree on this too. My wife was a history major in the regular history program of the U of PR. She also took 3-4 courses in educational practices and then did practice teaching to get her certificate. She teaches PR and US history as well as civics, social studies and other related courses. Not all at once but at one time or another over the past 40+ years.
I think something like this, which is sort of like how the Finns do, is what we need in the US.
On the other hand, look at university professors. Also instructors are technical schools teaching trades and skills. For example a welder training program. How many of these have any educational training at all? The first college class I taught was "Basic Refrigeration". I was given the book and a suggested syllabus and asked to develop a course. At the time I was about halfway to an associate degree. I was hired because of my subject knowledge rather than my pedagogical knowledge. Ditto my 22 years teaching in graduate school.
My son and daughter in HS had a great English teacher named Mr White. I believe he had not education training at all.
I agree that there should be some training in classroom management, teaching techniques and so on but I wonder how critical it is?
Galoot wrote:I will add in here that I do think that there are many ideas that are considered gospel at Ed programs, that are simply unproven, such as the idea of "multiple intelligences".
One of the problem with teacher education is that what you refer to as "best practices" seem, in so many cases to be little more than fads. These change from year to year and many (most?) seem to be completely unproven.
I suspect we probably agree more than disagree in this area as well.
Galoot wrote:Mr. Henry, you seem to think that we have to evaluate teachers every year. Why? Are college professors who teach also evaluated on their teaching
I've taught in 4 different universities since 1974 and my experience was that I was evaluated in every course I taught. This included student evaluations, reviews of my syllabi, tests and other class materials, review of grading profiles and so on. My directors sat in on the occasional class to see my teaching style.
I was an adjunct so my pay was by scale rather than performance. (One school paid on the basis of how many students signed up for my class. Ugh) Had my performance not been satisfactory, I would have been counseled. Had it continued to be unsatisfactory, I would not have been asked to teach again.
I like the idea of the Finns hiring only the best people. I think that is a great start. No matter how good the hiring process, there will always be some unsatisfactory people who slip through. Hopefully not many but no system is perfect.
There will also be teachers who were satisfactory when hired but 5 years out, for whatever reason, no longer are.
It is not enough to rely on the system at the beginning to prevent all future problems. You need to have a way of identifying these problems and dealing with them.
Every other employee in the US has their performance evaluated regularly. Usually at least yearly. Why should teachers be any different?
I see no better alternative, for all its problems, than testing.