How do we effect change in our schools if our Teacher Education programs just keep doing more of the same? We talk about changing the learning environments of our schools, but where is the paradigm changing in our Teacher Education institutions? A new set of standards (INTASC) are being released to guide teacher education programs, but will it make difference?
Teachers tend to teach the way they were taught. Learning experiences will have a greater effect on a teacher's teaching style than all the textbooks in the world. We can't fully appreciate a different learning experience unless we personally experience that experience. New teachers won't teach differently in their classrooms unless they have learned in a different manner and found it to be a positive experience. In short, we won't see change in our schools until we change how we prepare new teachers.
Last week I attended the School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) conference in Des Moines as a representative of our Iowa Technology and Education Connection (ITEC) organization. I spoke with scores of administrators who told me that they are in the process of exploring and/or implementing a 1-to-1 computer learning environment. When I asked them how they were going to change their curriculum and pedagogical strategies so that the technology-enriched environment would actually make a change in how their students learned, most of them chuckled and said "We're still trying to figure that out."
Technology doesn't make the difference. It provides the opportunities for education to be different. It is truly the teaching/learning strategies that make the difference. But if we haven't defined the teachers' knowledge, skills and attitudes that are needed to successfully support a different technology-enriched learning environment, how can we provide a preservice teaching program to address these needs?
A Teacher Education program needs to identify what skills and tools need to be mastered to effectively work in a 1-to-1 learning environment and then they need to teach/use those methods in the classes they teach. It's as simple as that.
I made a drastic change in the way I taught my Emerging Instructional Technology course this summer. I have spoken on it at ISTE '10, but haven't blogged on it yet. It changed the way I plan to teach all of my courses and such an insight into how learning can be different is something that all teacher education professors should acquire.
This posting is part of the ongoing self-inquiry I am going through to become a better teacher. You might remember my first posting, How Do I Move to an Inquiry-Based Form of Teaching/Learning?
What are your ideas about this? Do you know a source for finding/identifying the necessary knowledge/skills/attitudes/tools for optimizing a technology-rich learning environment?
What do you think?