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Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millenium
after these students have completed introductory courses. Accordingly, college and university faculty must offer courses that engage all students and provide them with an understanding of the processes as well as the content of their own and related disciplines. These courses also should help all students develop the habits of mind, including curiosity and reflection that prove invaluable for teachers throughout their careers. Specific recommendations about the overarching principles of science that such courses could cover are available (NRC, 1999h).
In short, the development of such introductory and lower division courses should become a higher priority for all science, mathematics, engineering, and technology programs in the nation’s two- and four-year colleges and universities. Recommendations about how such courses might be structured have appeared elsewhere (NSF, 1996; McNeal and D’Avanzo, 1997; NRC, 1999h; AMATYC, 1995). The CSMTP agrees fully with those reports that call for SME&T faculty to work much more closely together to improve the coherence and integration of learning in the SME&T disciplines. Teaching and learning centers could help. For example, in coordination with a campus’ teaching and learning center,2 the pre-teaching advisor or advisory committee could engage SME&T faculty in discussions about adopting new approaches in their disciplinary or interdisciplinary introductory and lower division courses.
3. Universities whose primary mission includes education research should set as a priority the development and execution of peer-reviewed research studies that focus on ways to improve teacher education, the art of teaching, and learning for people of all ages. New research that focuses broadly on synthesizing data across studies and linking it to school practice in a wide variety of school settings would be especially helpful to the improvement of teacher education and professional development for both prospective and experienced teachers. The results of this research
Increasing numbers of colleges and universities are establishing teaching and learning centers on their campuses. The University of Kansas maintains a listing of these centers around the world (<http://eagle.cc.ukans.edu/~cte/resources/websites/unitedstates.html>). The goals of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Kansas are to provide opportunities for teaching faculty to discuss students’ learning and ways to enhance it in their classrooms; to support faculty as they implement their ideas for improving students’ learning; to bring research about teaching to the attention of the university community; to encourage involvement in the scholarship of teaching and research on learning; to offer course development assistance at any stage—planning, teaching, evaluating—to foster instructional innovation; and to advocate and recognize teaching excellence.