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Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millenium
teachers, should offer some coursework in science and mathematics that includes in-depth development of basic ideas of the discipline, reasoning, and problem solving rather than just broad surveys of subject matter. Similarly, programs for experienced teachers should build on those teachers’ current content knowledge and help them acquire yet deeper understanding of the subject(s) they teach.
Information technology will permeate and influence virtually every aspect of teaching and learning in the future. Faculty in the content areas and in schools of education together must help teachers learn how to use these tools and how to integrate them into their teaching. Recent reports indicate that teacher education programs are falling far short in providing prospective teachers with such educational opportunities (Becker and Anderson, 1998; Kent and McNergney, 1999; Valdez et al., 1999; Milken Family Foundation, 1999; Means, 2000). Teachers of the future will have to be as cognizant of the capabilities of computers to transform teaching and learning as they are knowledgeable about the primary subject matter they teach (e.g., NRC, 1999a). The national standards and benchmarks for information technology (IT) education released in June 2000 are designed to help teachers use IT to enhance their teaching and their students’ learning and, therefore, should also help teacher educators better organize their efforts to restructure and improve this critically important component of teacher education.
2. Two- and four-year colleges and universities should reexamine and redesign introductory college-level courses in science and mathematics to better accommodate the needs of practicing and future teachers.
Introductory courses should be structured in ways that help all students better understand the role and relationship of the sciences and mathematics to other disciplines, to students’ lives, and to helping students make informed decisions about issues in which science and technology play integral roles.
Most students who do not go on to careers in the sciences do not enroll in courses beyond the introductory level (NSF, 1996; NRC 1999h; AFT, 2000). Moreover, many students either do not know or do not declare their intention to become teachers until later in their college careers (Seymour and Hewitt, 1997). Thus, faculty in the life and physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering who teach lower-division courses in these subjects have a special obligation and responsibility to the education of future teachers. They must understand that any of their students may elect to become teachers and that this decision may not be made until