ERIC Number: EJ917434
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 22
Changing the Epistemology of Teacher Education
Zeichner, Kenneth M.
Teacher Education and Practice, v22 n4 p488-491 Fall 2009
In this article, the author explores one issue that he believes is central to the preparation of teachers to teach in democratic societies: the question of who should prepare teachers to do this important work. Currently, there are basically two general approaches to the preservice education of teachers in the United States despite all the program variations: early entry and college recommending. Even with the advent of early-entry programs in the 1980s, wherein individuals complete much of their preservice preparation while serving as teachers of record, college and university-based teacher education programs that include significant coursework and fieldwork before a candidate becomes a teacher of record continue to be the major source of teachers for public schools. The traditional model of college-recommending teacher education emphasizes academic knowledge for the learning of teacher candidates. Candidates are supposed to learn in their campus courses what and how to teach and then go into schools during their field experiences and apply what they learned. Neither college-recommending nor early-entry programs give much attention to the role of community-based knowledge in teacher preparation. The author believes that neither of these two stances toward a knowledge base for teacher education--that is, an emphasis on academic or practitioner knowledge to the exclusion of serious attention to other knowledge sources--is sufficient for preparing teachers to be successful in public schools. He points out that the preparation of teachers for democratic societies must be based on an epistemology that is in itself democratic and includes a respect for and interaction among practitioner-, academic-, and community-based knowledge. Whether this can take place in newly created spaces within universities, such as centers of pedagogy, or whether new institutional spaces need to be created for teacher education with different knowledge histories remains to be seen.
Descriptors: Preservice Teacher Education, Public Schools, Teacher Education Programs, Field Experience Programs, Epistemology, Teaching Methods, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Knowledge Base for Teaching
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States