Monday, May 7, 2012

Teacher Education

Question: What does Ron Clark, Disney’s Teacher of the Year, think about teacher education?

Question: “ You have sobering things to say about schools of education: ’One of the biggest challenges facing our education system is that we have college professors all over our country sitting behind desks lecturing their education students on how to be dynamic and engaging teachers. The professors are dull, boring, and doing the exact opposite of what they are asking. Most of them haven’t been in a classroom in years, if not decades.’ Do you envision a better regimen for preparing teacher candidates to enter the profession? What would it entail? What message will you give to the teacher educators in your audience at IRJA Chicago?”

Answer/Quote: “Teacher education needs to be very different. To be a surgeon, for example, you have to spend serious time in actual surgeries, observing  and then assisting. It should be the same with [college education] teachers. They should spend more time out in schools than in college lecture halls.

“My advice to teacher educators is to do better at feeding the expectation of excellence. Show your students that teaching can be dynamic, fun, and passionate. You set the tone. Be the example. Get your students engaged, happy, and excited about the role they’ve chosen to pursue.” P. 17.

Comment: The advice about teacher educators being a model for how to teach with their teacher education students reminds me of a paper I once wrote for a teacher educator. I urged him not to talk about individualizing instruction, but to demonstrate ways in which it can be done with his own teacher education students. His response? “It’s hard.” RayS.

Title:  “Annual Convention: Ron Clark, ‘America’s Educator,’ Tapped for Featured Keynote at Second General Session.” Interview by Ron Clark. Reading Today (April/May 2012), 16-17.

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