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What Teachers Have To Say About Teacher Education

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The professional courses exposed me to many philosophies, which were valuable, but I was totally unprepared for the impact of teaching itself.”

The greatest weakness of the courses offered in teacher education programs, according to the survey responses is that they are so enamored of theory they are of no practical use. “Get rid of all those theory courses and replace them with subject-specific grade-specific strategy/methodology courses supported by the goals and objectives courses,” was the comment of a 1984 graduate, one that was echoed by a large number of other teachers. In fact, descriptions of typical courses in teacher education programs include phrases such as: “the shabbiest psychobabble imaginable”; “an abject waste of time”; “watered down courses: ‘Pretend you are 10 and try this activity’”; “repetitive make-work and focus on minutia”; “mind-numbing lectures on how to run a classroom given by people who had never been in a K-8 classroom”; “courses are not academically rigorous and tend to have excess busy work”; and “simplistic, make-work, seat-time methods courses.” Testimony to the irrelevance of many of the courses in teacher education programs came in this comment: “I have been extensively involved in teacher preparation for the last five years. Most current practices, in my opinion, stress things that do not directly prepare teachers for life in the classroom.”

Rigden, D. W.  (1996, Fall). What teachers have to say about teacher education.  Perspective, Council for Basic Education, 8(1).