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Teacher Unpreparation

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Recently several discussions, articles I have read, experiences I have had and also videos I have seen, have give me reason to believe that colleges are not preparing teachers to teach the youth of the 21st century in the realms of cultural sensitivity and technology (to name only two areas).

The link below will show a video that is in American Sign Language. I used to teach deaf students, so it strikes a chord with me. It describes how one program from Southern Mississippi was lauded as a great program for deaf education. However, after looking at the courses offered, it became clear that they view deafness as a pathology and ignored the cultural components that make up deaf culture. What does this say about our teacher prep programs when they ignore such a rich culture and language that is viable in the 21st century? After all, this is a language that has been shown in numerous research studies to help young children with verbal and nonverbal skills.

Another example is that many colleges and universities do not even require teachers to take one technology course as part of their degree. New teachers come to the classroom with the knowledge of Facebook but have no idea on how to apply Web 2.0, specifically, social networking to the classroom! We are coming across teacher after teacher that do not know how to take the skills that they may know and apply them to their pedagogy. Teacher prep programs should require the application of skills and not only the knowledge of them.

So look at the clip below and answer the question that Sean Connery asks.

James Yap


Deaf Ed. Example
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/LeaderTalk/upload/2009/05/jamesyap/elliottness.flv


2 Comments

I suspect one reason for not learning or being required to learn to use these tools during their preparation is that the colleges are populated by instructors who don't know how to use them either.

I know many, many classroom teachers (some are quite young) who haven't a clue about Web 2.0 tools simply because there are no pd offerings in it, they aren't exposed to it, no one is modeling it for them, etc. They can't depend on a PLN to help them find it because to have a PLN pretty much depends on using web 2.0. It is vicious cycle.

We need teachers who understand mathematics and the sciences while drawing from a rich database of experiences.

Those experiences should not be measured or limited by web browsers, Facebook or social sites. No teacher should be forced to tweet or join yahoo groups.

Education is not about grooming mouse clickers, file managers or technocratic gotchas. Interactives, media and wireless gadgets can add a fun, resourceful dimension to learning but it should not be the foundation. Vast knowledge, experience and insight must be the bedrock under our nation's schools.

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