. "The Continuum of Teacher Education in Science, Mathematics, and Technology: Problems and Issues." Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millennium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.
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Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millenium
in which they work. For example, the curricular materials that teachers are expected to use are typically either selected by committees with members drawn from diverse constituencies or mandated by the district or state. Most K-12 teachers also do not have work-spaces separate from their students or even access to a telephone within their workspace for work-related communications. Exceptional enterprise or innovation may not be tangibly rewarded due to workplace rules.7 Senior teachers typically are not asked to offer their expertise, insights, and perspectives to help improve teacher education programs for less senior colleagues.
In addition, data from TIMSS (e.g., Stigler and Hiebert, 1997) and evaluation of new approaches to teacher education (e.g., see Chapter 4 and examples in Appendixes D and E, such as UTeach at the University of Texas) indicate that, in addition to providing input to the operations of their schools and districts, teachers also need time and flexibility in their schedules to build a “teaching community” where they can actively and openly discuss content and pedagogy. As discussed by Ball (1997), this teaching community also is a place where teachers can offer constructive criticism and support to help each other improve their teaching.
• Clientele and professional working conditions: U.S. schools and teachers are facing challenges today that were largely unimagined and unanticipated even 30 years ago. The education system in the United States now works with a more diverse student population than ever before. Teachers in both large metropolitan areas and more rural locales must try to educate the children of large and varied populations of immigrants, many of whom arrive at school unable to speak English. Some of these children—as well as their parents—have received little or no formal education even in their first languages before arriving in the United States. In addition, teachers are working with more types of “special needs” students, including those who are physically challenged or developmentally or emotionally delayed, than ever before. Teachers also are working increasingly with some students who come from families that offer them little stability or support at home. For teachers of science and mathematics, this latter problem can be exacerbated by the fact that some parents from all walks of life are not sufficiently familiar or comfort-
Some districts and states are reconsidering their policies about additional financial incentives for teachers. For example, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that, in 1999, 15 state legislatures had proposed or established incentives that encourage and reward teachers’ knowledge and skills (Hirsch, 2000).