Teacher Preparation & Social Foundations of Education
Teacher preparation -- whether through traditional programs within higher education or through "alternative" pathways -- is usually composed of two key components -- academic coursework and field-based experiences such as student-teaching. I refer to the former -- which is usually a combination of subject matter content knowledge, pedagogical preparation, and pedagogical content knowledge -- as the opportunity to learn; the latter I refer to as the opportunity to practice. My academic work focuses on an all-too-often missing component: the opportunity to change.
Namely, teacher preparation offers one of the few opportunities for future teachers to think through the assumptions and implications of their educational experiences and goals and begin to develop, articulate, and implement a more robust model of what engaged teaching and learning would look like. We have all been shaped by an implicit "apprenticeship of observation" that normalizes and routinizes a passivity that privileges shallow learning and undermines our attempts to create exactly the kind of engaging experiences we all claim to want to create in our classrooms. This "opportunity to change" is especially critical given the demographic changes in our society, deep civic divides, and changing societal notions of what it means to be educated.