« 'Remediation Tax' Caused by Unearned Diplomas | Main | A Closer Look at Private School Tuition »

Courses Are No Substitute for Classroom Experience

When the New York State Board of Regents made it easier to become licensed to teach in the state's public schools, criticism was aimed primarily at the fewer number of courses required ("The right way to open up the teaching field," New York Post, Sep. 17).  But special criticism was devoted to allowing candidates to use videos of their student teaching in lieu of subject matter credits.

I'm not an apologist for education schools.  So many courses offered have little, if any, application to classroom reality.  But I'm also against assuming that subject matter expertise alone is enough for effectiveness.  If that were not so, then professors who hold doctorates in their subject fields would automatically be successful in front of K-12 classrooms.  That's not the case.  Pedagogy has its place.  Otherwise, professors would all be star performers.

What I suggest is auditioning.  It works extremely well in the performing arts.  No matter how many credits a performer has, he/she still has to demonstrate suitability for the part under consideration.  Why can't the same process be used in opening up the teaching field?  Let a panel of trained evaluators observe a candidate for a license teach a real class.  I maintain that such a policy would have far more predictive value than obsession with the number of credits. I realize that classes vary enormously.  As a result, the success of an auditioning candidate before one class is no assurance of success in front of another class.  But the same thing can be said about candidates who amass credits the traditional way.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner's Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments