Reading “Train Teachers Like Doctors” (June 22 Forum) left me with mixed emotions. The process of ensuring quality teaching goes far beyond prospective educators scoring in the top third of the national range on SAT, ACT or GRE tests.
The multiple woes that afflict the public school systems in this country will not be solved by “making it harder to become a teacher.”
Knowledge, expertise and confidence in a chosen subject area are key factors in teaching. However, varying the presentation of that knowledge to students with different learning styles without lowering expectations; developing approaches to learning that keep all students engaged; assessing student understanding with opportunities for re-teaching; and recognizing that all students are capable of academic success (aspects of the “art” of teaching that aren’t measured by tests) are tantamount to those factors.
By making it harder to be accepted into their programs, Finnish teacher colleges purport to not only produce future teachers who are qualified and driven to do a good job, but also send a national message that education is important. Teacher training programs in our country involving teaching “real” students accompanied by valuable feedback from veteran teachers are not new.
Adding courses within these programs that focus on the art of teaching might make teacher training significantly more relevant and increase the level of effective presentation of subject knowledge and expertise.
Testing can’t measure a future educator’s sincere belief that all children can achieve — which should be our nation’s most important message of education.
The writer is a retired curriculum administrator for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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