I Innovative Ideas and Practices in Teacher Learning and Teacher Preparation

Innovation in Teacher Education: Cutting Edge? Or on the Cutting Room Floor?

A. Lin Goodwin

In the U.S., teachers and the university-based programs that prepare them, have been relentlessly criticized. “Blistering media commentaries” about teacher education (Cochran-Smith 2006, p. xxxii) have been further fueled by U.S. students’ middling performance on international tests such as PISA and TIMSS in comparison to top performing peer nations, causing policy makers to argue ever more vociferously that teacher education requires a “sea change... revolutionary change, not evolutionary tinkering” (Duncan 2009). Increasing calls for the “dramatic overhaul of how teachers are prepared” such that teacher preparation will be turned “upside-down” (NCATE 2010, p. 2), have spurred energetic reform, change, and innovation in the profession. While the impact of these changes and reforms has not yet been fully measured or realized, the education field is certainly undergoing a period of revision, reflection, and even renewal, and is exploring an interesting array of practices in an effort to be relevant and responsive.

While the public scapegoating of university-based teacher preparation, so ubiquitous in the U.S., is far from an international phenomenon, it is fair to say that there seems to be global consensus that teacher preparation—along with curriculum, schools, and teaching—needs to be different in the rapidly evolving world of the 21st century. This chapter will identify some examples of innovative practices —related to particular aspects of teacher development and learning—that seem to have captured the imagination of educators and/or policy makers, in the U.S. (and even in many places in the world). Two of these innovations have been selected for more in depth definition and description. Each of these ideas is connected to a particular facet of teacher education, specifically: field placements/student teaching, and teachers’ role. The description of each practice will be accompanied by a brief discussion of possible benefits and problems since no practice is ever optimal or perfect, framed by questions of context—what are the conditions that might affect

A.L. Goodwin (H)

Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017 3

X. Zhu et al. (eds.), Quality of Teacher Education and Learning,

New Frontiers of Educational Research,

DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-3549-4_1

the efficacy or implementation of the innovation? The paper will then go on to ponder innovations that we might need in response to problematic areas or concerns in teacher education. The chapter will conclude with some thoughts about where we might go next, and argue for why we must relearn some of what we have apparently forgotten or discarded on the cutting room floor, in our rush to be “cutting edge.”

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >