I want to talk about teacher training. This is a big issue, and what with the sudden discovery that teachers are the single most important factor (besides the students themselves) determining a school’s effectiveness (shocking, really), there’s a good deal of hullabaloo about it—but compared the knotty problems I usually address in this blog, this one looks pretty straightforward to me.
Discussions of how to improve teacher training tend to center around what we teach teachers. The pedagogical theories on which we train our teachers, critics argue, are wrong headed. Structural problems within graduate departments of education are blamed for the production of invalid theories of learning and the promulgation of ineffective teaching practices. For once I’ll take a stand: I don’t think that’s true. The problem has more to do with how we teach teachers than with what we teach them.