ERIC Number: ED430924
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr-23
Bigger Isn't Always Better, and Small Can Be Very Beautiful.
Tom, Alan R.
This paper examines the presumption that larger teacher education programs are superior to smaller ones, suggesting that many of the persistent problems of preservice teacher education are rooted in the large, bureaucratic organization so prevalent in current programming. The paper suggests that small program size makes possible the development and implementation of fruitful programming, since it is easier to conduct the sustained conversation needed to create a well-designed program. The paper begins by examining the complexities and contradictions that accompany large programs, which are typically staffed with a faculty representing a wide variety of specializations. This specialization can lead to segmented and fragmented programming. Next, the paper discusses the advantages of small faculties, including a broadened sense of responsibility, more ability to meet as a group, more ability to talk outside of formal meetings, and the ability to take advantage of vertical staffing. Finally, the paper examines how to achieve the advantages of smallness. Two suggested strategies are the multiple models strategy and the program-within-a-program strategy. (Contains 26 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).