1. Science, mathematics, and engineering departments at two-and four-year colleges and universities should assume greater responsibility for offering college-level courses that provide teachers with strong exposure to appropriate content and that model the kinds of pedagogical approaches appropriate for teaching that content.
Postsecondary institutions that educate teachers of science and mathematics should articulate clear connections between their programs and the high standards that national professional organizations have established for beginning and more experienced teachers. These connections could be formulated by the partnership for teacher education to which the postsecondary institutions belong and could then be used to guide the development and improvement of teacher education programs.
Science and mathematics courses for preservice teachers should be rich in appropriate content. Courses should offer fewer topics and allow students to explore the topics presented in greater depth. Content offered in science and mathematics courses for prospective teachers should be presented in ways that teachers can adapt to their own classrooms. In addition, the teaching of effective pedagogy should not be delegated to education courses. College and university faculty in the SME&T disciplines who offer courses for prospective teachers should model effective teaching techniques through their own classroom practices. In partnerships, K-12 classroom teachers who have strong pedagogical knowledge and skills could help their higher education counterparts model such approaches to teaching.
Other organizations have attempted to define preparation for teachers of science and mathematics in terms of subjects to be covered and amount of exposure to various disciplines. For example, a recent report from the Learning First Alliance (1998) recommends specific content knowledge that middle-school specialists in mathematics should acquire. The Alliance also calls for teachers of middle-grades mathematics to be familiar with all of the mathematics taught in grades K-12, with special emphasis on the grade below and the grade above the teacher’s own. The National Science Teachers Association (1998) has prepared similar criteria for teachers of science.
However, as the aforementioned organizations and others also emphasize, well-prepared teachers must have a