Ian G-S started an interesting discussion of what would you do with the money if we closed all the schools?. Some interesting responses, yet so far no great call to shift all the money to other uses, digital or no.

What, then, about schools of Education? If you could redirect the tuition, capital, and funding for these Institutions, what would you do? That is, if some mad terrorist organization instantly obliterated the top 150 schools of Education, or some other bizarre calamity happened which left all other university functions running but the Ed schools, and left you a happy administrator of the insurance payments, what would you do? Would you rebuild them all as is? New buildings with a few mods?

Would you staff them with the remaining Doctors of Education? Do something radically different?

For a quick look at the money, the Harvard Graduate School of Education fields 1000 students at $55,128 per year. That's $55 million in just masters and doctorates in one year, from one school. (OSU instructs many more). Is what they are learning changing education? Improving kids lives fast enough? Would you do it differently, for grads or undergrads? What and how would you now want new teachers to learn?

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What an interesting question. What if we replaced schools of education with an intense appreniceship?

I picture a short (maybe a few weeks) introduction to teaching basics, then give them a year-long practicum with lots of examples of high-quality teaching, then a year-long student teaching experience in one or two classrooms, then another two years of teaching a slightly lightened load while continuing to take evening classes and being regularly observed by a mentor/professor.

I know it's easy to knock schools of ed, but as I think back I was taught a lot of things that just didn't connect with the experience I had up to that point - it was more my fault than theirs, and I think that's true for a lot of pre-service teachers. For example, we did have teaching on literacy levels and how to differentiate, but as a pre-service teacher I had little concept of what a normal student was like, much less a gifted or special need student. So I read the textbooks and took the tests but never internalized it or saw it in action.

Guided experience as the core of the program could be the best use of money, and could produce the most effective teachers. Something learned "just in time," we know, is retained more than something learned 2 or 3 years in advance of using it. In such a system, the money for schools of ed could be redirected to pay the mentors/professors and the students themselves as they took on the job of teacher - why should people have to borrow money to pay for tertiary education if they go into public service anyway?
I think this is another case of "we know what works, why don't we do it" - there is tons of research that supports longer internships, and more hands on, like Jeremy envisions. But instead we see ed schools cutting student teaching back and reducing the length of time. Why?

This is an interesting article from the Coalition of Essential Schools about teacher preparation, with some case study and some really interesting sidebars about how to assess how well teacher preparation is going.

Teacher Education in Essential Schools: The University-School Partn...

What I'd really like to see too is more Seymour Sarason, but he writes books and articles that are mostly behind closed journal database gates. So no good links there. But The Case for Change: Rethinking the Preparation of Educators is a really great book. He's a genius! Amazon has him.
Oooh! I already want to fork this debate! :-)

Jeremy's answer of "more hands on" is common in many professions. So is the idea that you get more out of college if you've already been in the work force--in the profession or no. (I know engineers who feel so, and MBA school is completely designed around this idea). I'm sure there's lots of fruitful discussion down this path.

Let me add another direction: What would you do within the 4 year institution? If you had 1000 freshmen education students, the above catastrophe occurred, and you had to otherwise educate them on the same campus, using the all the other faculty and resources available? To what classes would you send them?

I'll start by nominating Acting!
"So is the idea that you get more out of college if you've already been in the work force--in the profession"

Well, that's part of it. Teaching is more like sales than engineering. Does someone go to school for 4 years to become a salesman, only getting to actually try to sell something for the last semester out of 8? I mean, it's ridiculous, really. It's just adding insult to injury that pre-service teachers obtain masters' degrees, when they haven't yet experienced the profession, much less mastered it.

Nobody loves (or leaves) teaching because of Bloom's taxonomy, or because of diversity awareness, or the 38 other classes you take during four years of undergrad playtime. It seems to me that teacher preparation should focus on preparing professionals for the real world of education they will soon face - sink or swim. If schools of education can't (or won't) do that, then we should use the money elsewhere.

"What would you do within the 4 year institution? If you had 1000 freshmen education students, the above catastrophe occurred, and you had to otherwise educate them on the same campus, using the all the other faculty and resources available? To what classes would you send them?"

It's hard to answer this without feeling like it's settling for less than the best by putting on the false constraint of separating the students from the real world. If that constraint is necessary to the exercise, then I would say skip education classes altogether and go for things that make you a more developed human being: languages, literature, logic, oratory, and so on.
>> It's just adding insult to injury that pre-service teachers obtain masters' degrees, when they haven't yet experienced the profession, much less mastered it.

Oh, indeed! In fact, studies show that unless your MA is in math or something, it doesn't matter when you take it, MA's (statistically) won't help:

" The evidence is conclusive that master’s degrees do not make teachers more effective. In fact, ... Some studies have even shown that master’s degrees have a slightly negative impact on student achievement" -- Increasing the Odds: How Good Policies can Yield Better Teachers, p2.

>> Nobody loves (or leaves) teaching because of Bloom's taxonomy, or because of diversity awareness, or the 38 other classes you take...
True, too! But then, not many engineers truly love a good Eigenvalue, Fourier Transform, or Lagrange equation. Yet, you never know when you might need to talk to someone who does; and later may not be the time to learn.

>>Teaching is more like sales than engineering.
This is a great insight / comparison. I'd totally agree that professors of education tend to have what I call "Physics envy". That is, they want to take a profession that is 10,000 years old and try to remake it just so they have many complicated words to wave about. I have a friend who ended up selling electron microscopes. Did he need all of his education? You bet! Was the education mostly (or even partly) theory of sales? Of course not!

>> then I would say skip education classes altogether and go for things that make you a more developed human >> being: languages, literature, logic, oratory, and so on.
Languages, literature, logic, oratory, accounting, chemistry, history, economics wouldn't make one a better teacher?

> If that constraint is necessary to the exercise
Not at all!! I was trying to get alternate discussion paths started.
Great question!

I would require every adult at age 25 (not earlier) to vote for "The teacher who most inspired me". The top 5% of teachers from this vote would
1. have their salary doubled
2. be relieved of all non-teaching responsibilities (including managerial ones)
3. be assigned 2 interns to sit at their feet and find out how to really teach.
In my scenario, I would ensure that your goals were better aligned with those of the whole system, so you saw your interns as having the same right to learn as your (other) students. How is the system structured now, so you defend your current students so loyally (very laudable, btw)? I would want to fit your mentees' development into the same framework.

Take your point about the benefits of formal teaching of education, but as the hypothetical mastermind of this change, I would be sore afraid of backsliding to the familiar comforts of the old system. Rather than take that risk, I would teach the formal component entirely via the best Web 2.0 distance learning systems I could find (Moodle? or is there something more appropriate?), with the mentors tied right in, and regular formal assessments via Yacapaca of course.
I love it!
Nice scenario of total calamity ;-). The first thing to ask would be "what are you trying to achieve with the redesign".

I do development work. An excellent book I have come across is Web Redesign 2.0, Workflow that works.

They propose a survey, to give to the client (pdf).

Current Site
1.Do you feel your current site promotes a favorable user experience? Why or why not?
2.What specific areas of your current site do you feel are successful? Why are they successful?
3.What shortcomings exist with the current site, and what three things would you change on the site today if you could?
4.Have you conducted usability tests or gathered visitor feedback for your current site? If so, how long ago? Please include any reports or findings.
5.How important is it to maintain your current look and feel, logo, and branding?

Reasons for Redesign
1.What are the main reasons you are redesigning your site (new business model, outdated site, expanded services, different audience)?
2.What are your primary online business objectives with the site redesign? What are your secondary objectives? (Examples include increased sales, marketing/branding awareness, and fewer customer service calls.) Please discuss both long- and short-term goals.
3.What is the main business problem you hope to solve with the site redesign? How will you measure the success of the solution?
4.What existing strategy (both on- and offline) is in place to meet the new business objectives?

Audience/Desired Action
1.Describe a typical site visitor. How often are they online, and what do they generally use the web for? Give basic demographics: age, occupation, income level, purchasing habits. (Use as much detail as possible in profiling your target user. Profile more than one type if appropriate.)
2.What is the primary “action” the site visitor should take when coming to your site (make a purchase, become a member, search for information)?
3.What are the key reasons why the target audience chooses your company’s products and/or services (cost, service, value)?
4.How many people (as far as you can tell) access your site on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? How do you measure usage? Do you forecast usage to increase after the site launch and by how much?

... and it continues

What would be your questions (i.e., what are the critical issues to consider when considering a complete redesign)? What would be your answers?

The point of this comment is that you cannot content yourself with a partial answer that seem to do better in a given area. You need the new structure to work, as a whole. An implementation is only as good as the weakest part is.
Check this out in tne NY Times: Rethinking How to Teach the New Teachers

"...Reach Institute for School Leadership, a group based in Napa, Calif., has started an innovative program, designed by and for teachers, that has the potential to transform those first stressful years in the classroom. Reach’s newly accredited, two-year teacher credentialing program has a goal of attracting a new generation of committed teachers, mentors and school administrators — and keeping them for a lifetime.

In traditional credentialing programs, student teachers spend most of their time taking education courses and seminars. The time they spend in a classroom teaching students is relatively brief — often just two weeks.

The Reach program flips this traditional model on its ear.

Instead of spending most of their time learning about being a teacher, Reach’s students start the program at the front of the classroom from the very first day, with a teacher mentor by their side."
Ha! So much for our attempts to be radical and ahead of the curve.
Hmmm, color me quizzical.

Poking around the project website, I'm not finding exactly what their requirements are, or what they teach, other than that grads will pass muster by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. (Since I'm not up on that august body, its hard for me to evaluate this).

What it does look like, though, is that they totally skip the real problem: Teachers with solid real-world content-matter expertise.

Students ever will respect, admire, listen to, and learn from a person who knows their stuff (OK, most days ;-) ) . Yes, it helps to know a bit about human psychology, and how to stay out of hot water. But the core of that teacher-student relationship is that the person teaching has something of real value to pass on; they have a passion for sharing it; they can put that thing in a context that makes sense for the learner.

How do you get that?

High Tech High is another CA credentialing authority (they also teach kids), and it happens I heard from the CEO last month. When asked about their highly successful teachers, he doesn't credit HTH's training and mentoring programs.

Instead, Rosenstock points to the topical expertise and passion the teachers brought in when HTH hired them. The examples he uses are at the extremes: a professional mathematician, a muralist, and a FT mother / literacy volunteer. Most of their candidates, though, are experienced outside education; in fact most are in their early thirties.

Sure, that model is hard to scale up, we have to take many teachers younger than that. But the one thing to take from his remarks and their hiring requirements: they are most interested in what candidates learned outside the Ed school. Some of that may come from a broad-based traditional arts and sciences college education. Some may come from being a shift manager at Einstein Bagles, or a design professional ,or an assistant land surveyor, or a medical technician. Some might likely come from interacting with students through coaching, mentoring, volunteer leadership.

This ed school vs. mentoring/practical experience seems a false dichotomy.

You can see Larry's remarks here; >FF> to hour 2:27.

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