ERIC Number: EJ795204
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: 30
Beyond the Call: Preserving Reflection in the Preparation of "Highly Qualified" Teachers
Amobi, Funmi A.
Teacher Education Quarterly, v33 n2 p23-35 Spr 2006
Many teacher education programs are working at a feverish pitch to ensure that their graduates are considered "highly qualified" in light of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, which reduces teacher competency to proof of subject matter knowledge as demonstrated by passing a state test and completing requisite number of courses in the content area. There is nothing wrong in this requirement by itself. The concern is with the further consequences to which it might portend in teacher education programming. Every one agrees that teachers must know what they teach and develop the competency to teach it. However, there is more to high-quality teaching than subject-matter knowledge and possession of "best practices". In the zeal to answer the call of the mandate to prepare highly-qualified teachers as stipulated, teacher education programs in fact, teacher educators may find themselves hard pressed to leave behind a quintessential element that breathes life to high-quality teaching: the engagement of preservice teachers in continual reflection on the interplay of self, subject and students in the fabric of teaching. Teaching is hard work and reflection on teaching is also hard work. When the focus is on subject-matter knowledge, competencies, and tests, there may be an ill-advised tendency to trade one hard work for another. Teacher educators may focus on the tools to survive in the classroom and meet the requirements for the label "highly-qualified teacher" without simultaneously instilling the tools for self-renewing growth and reflective thinking. In this article, the author recommends that teacher educators not back down in their efforts to make novice teachers reflective as well as effective. They must continue to define up the meaning of highly qualified, instead of embracing and working within the parameters of a reductionist rendition of it. They should continue to move neophytes beyond mere competence in practice to excellence in the profession. Their immediate charge is to prepare them to teach; their enduring mission is to empower them to personalize and own the craft of teaching. The NCLB call should not delineate their mission rather, it should be subsumed in it.
Descriptors: Preservice Teacher Education, Preservice Teachers, Teacher Education Programs, Federal Legislation, Beginning Teachers, Teacher Educators, Teacher Competencies, Reflective Teaching, Teaching Methods, Knowledge Base for Teaching
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A