Myths About Ready2Teach Intiative Cleared Up

Jul 27, 2011 by

Recently, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) announced a redesign of all education programs within its six universities and 13 community colleges called “Ready2Teach.” The TBR is initiating change in the process of preparing new teachers for public school classrooms.

Although as a private college, Maryvill



is not governed by the TBR, our goal in the teacher education program is to equip our teacher licensure students with research-based knowledge and skills that will facilitate the learning for all children. My concern about the June 13 Associated Press story about Ready2Teach that ran in the News Sentinel, and across the state, was the inaccuracies about how we currently prepare new public school teachers.

The writer of this piece is Dr. Terry Simpson, a professor of secondary education, director of teacher education and chair of the Division of Education at Maryville College. He goes on to clear up some misconceptions people may have about Ready2Teach.

Education majors spend most of their time in college listening to lectures about teaching methods or education theory – Tennessee colleges and universities have not offered an “education major” since 1992. New teachers must have a major in their initial teaching field, meet general education requirements and take few professional development (education) courses. A student at Maryville College studying to become a high school math teacher takes 13 math courses, two physics courses and only four education courses prior to student teaching.

Teacher licensed students are only in the classroom the last half of their senior year – This is not true at any college or university in Tennessee. At Maryville College, our teacher licensure students are in public school classrooms beginning in the sophomore year. Responsibilities increase during the junior year. In the first semester of the senior year, teacher licensure students are in public school classrooms weekly, preparing for the transition to the second semester, when they teach every day, all day.

Future teachers need an entire year of student teaching to be adequately prepared for their first teaching job – Research has never supported the assertion that an entire year of student teaching is more beneficial than one semester. First, it likely will add unnecessary expense to students who will be enrolled in college beyond four years, hurting especially those non-traditional students who are working and raising families.

The traditional liberal arts approach to teacher education is outdated – While a strong knowledge base in one subject area is a minimal expectation of teachers, we are doing future teachers a disservice if we push them to concentrate on only one discipline and not reap the benefits of a liberal arts curriculum. Schools in rural and urban areas often ask teachers to teach outside their licensure field, and teachers with liberal arts backgrounds can teach effectively across disciplines.

Read the full story here.

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