Turning ed on its head down under: not a bad idea

This news makes me admire again the brave and rational people of New Zealand. 

Imagine if the USA did something so radical, disruptive, and… sensible to reform its schools through producing better teachers as this article shows is being done in New Zealand

What wackiness are they perpetrating? Why, actually involving practicing teachers in process of screening prospective teachers in ed schools. Couldn’t we improve the teaching corps’ overall quality and raise the “profession’s” stature in the minds of the public if we did so in the USA?  Arne Duncan, are you listening? 
If we were to actually use the expertise of teachers to improve the quality of teachers, it would unseat the pedagogical authority of EdDs and Ph.D at schools of education, state boards, and departments of teacher preparedness; they might have to re-examine cherished theories, such as the one that supposes that anyone, anyone can be trained into an effective teacher. They would be so angry. 
So what? What the Kiwis are doing turns what we do here on its head, and it makes perfect sense to me. How radical does this sound?
The Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) has welcomed new requirements for student teacher programmes, including more involvement of teachers in teacher education.

Teachers will be involved in the selection of new candidates for initial teacher education programmes leading to registration. Teachers will also be included on panels to approve teacher education courses.

Medical doctors sit in review of aspiring doctors, as practicing barristers check out would-be lawyers, and CPAs screen younger accountants. Why wouldn’t teachers want a similar control over their ranks, instead of relying wholly on ed schools, who never see a prospective student teacher they don’t like?


photo courtesy search.creativecommons.org

2 responses to “Turning ed on its head down under: not a bad idea”

  1. Nowadays, schools of education seem to operate as money making businesses with the mighty dollar the top priority. I especially see this in grad school programs, seeming to just pump students out, unprepared. I wanted to share a NPR piece from the spring that details a Boston program that uses the medical model to train educators:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125854975


  2. Yikes! You said it, Liz. It's what they call “a racket,” these education school/factories, operating little better than the “diploma mill” for profit colleges so much in the news lately.Thanks for the link to the Boston “Residency program” piece. It suggests the success in preparing new teachers comes from the strong collegiality, with its “pep-rally-like meetings… an opportunity for people to share war stories, encourage each other and vent. Some complain about tests and what a waste of time they are. Others complain about difficult parents and how hard it is to figure out whether their students are really learning or not.” This is where PLCs and faculty improvement could really start growing–in such unstructured, informal collaborative periods. What if we had 10% more time for that sort of real PD? What problems couldn't we start to tackle?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: