Teacher Education Programs Don’t Teach How to Teach

To obtain a teaching certificate, aspiring teachers from public or more private systems must take a series of courses required by the Department of Education at their college or university. Such courses, in turn, are, for the most part, prescribed by the state Department of Education.

Daniel Buck recounts his experience with the Departments of Education while pursuing a Masters in that subject from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then tells of a study of teacher training programs at all public universities in Badger State.

He found it everything of the 14 teacher-training programs in the state require courses in race theory, gender studies, LGBTQ issues, and Marxist-infused “critical pedagogy”. There are also what he calls “kitsch activities” such as watching movies, making expressive arts and crafts, and sharing personal feelings. But there are hardly any courses on how to teach.

His article, Schools of Education have long been mediocre. Now They’re Woke Too, is published in the Wall Street Journal, which sits behind a paywall, but here’s the opening:

I studied for a masters in education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. My schedule was crazy. We made the Black Lives Matter friendship bracelets. We passed a popsicle stick to designate who had to speak as the professors forced us to discuss the traumas of our lives. We read poetry through the “lenses” of Marxism and critical race theory in preparation for our students to do the same. Our final projects were acrostic poems or ironic rap videos.

At the time, I thought my experience was unique. Surely, I thought, other teacher preparation programs have focused on human cognition, behavior management, child psychology, and other educational practices. Unfortunately, my schedule has been mild compared to what current graduates have to go through.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty reviewed the required courses for 14 prospective teacher programs in Badger State. These programs produce approximately 80% of all teaching graduates in the state each year. What they found was shocking. Worldview construction and ideological manipulation take precedence over teacher preparation.

Academic literature or classroom instruction manuals are markedly lacking in curricula. Instead, Hollywood films like “Freedom Writers”, popular books like Jonathan Kozol’s “Letters to a Young Teacher” and propaganda like “Anti-Racist Baby” abound. In place of academic essays, graduate students write personal poems or collect photographs. These kitsch activities infantilize what should be a rigorous pursuit of professional competence.

Buck cites another study that found that only 22% of schools of education teach “the science of reading,” which is the teaching of reading through phonetics, as we wrote on the blog.

The report to which he refers, a study of the curricula of all education required in state public universities, is titled From the Top: The Impact of College-Level Indottrination on K-12 Education. These account for 80% of the state’s teachers. Who, apparently, are getting little help preparing for what they will have to do in real classrooms. Some understand this for themselves and behave well. But nearly 10% quit after just one year and nearly 50% within five years.

Buck comments,

Students are the obvious losers. But teachers also suffer. It’s almost a rite of passage that every teacher has to go through hell their first year. In part this is a function of getting used to work, but it is also a reflection of how unprepared they are from their training to stand in front of a classroom full of students.

To be sure, there are many good teachers out there, despite how they may have been trained, teachers who don’t indoctrinate or corrupt their students, but rather teach them the knowledge and skills they need to know. They deserve our honor and support. I have come to appreciate very much the teachers I have met in our classical schools. And some colleges and universities – I think Hillsdale, Patrick Henry College, and other Christian colleges – have teacher training programs that do what they’re supposed to do. But there is a reason why we have an education crisis today, and it starts in universities.

HT: Jackie Veith

Photo via pxhere, CC0, public domain

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