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Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millenium
increasingly responsible for improving teaching and learning in these disciplines, many current and prospective elementary school teachers continue to dislike and eschew teaching them. Given the current situation, it is difficult not to conclude that improvement in teacher preparation programs would help. For example, in a seminal report, the National Center for Improving Science Education (Raizen and Michelsohn, 1994) reported that one characteristic of effective elementary preservice teacher preparation is close professional collaboration among science faculty, education faculty, and experienced elementary school teachers. Raizen and Michelson went on to recommend at least informal collaboration between individuals and institutions on issues such as distribution requirements for students in teacher education programs.
On the basis of that report and subsequent recommendations from many other organizations, (e.g., NRC, 1996a, 1999h; NSF, 1996; ACE, 1999), it seems clear that joint planning of courses in pedagogy or science course content by science, mathematics, and engineering faculty, education faculty in these disciplines, and local classroom teachers should occur regularly. Even more desirable would be programs that integrate science content courses, methods courses, and field experiences. Such programs also could include some form of collaborative research in which university faculty and classroom teachers investigate a problem focused on improving student learning or increasing the impact of a new curriculum.
Raizen and Michelsohn (1994) mentioned Professional Development Schools as the type of setting where such collaborative program planning, implementation, and research could take place. In PDS settings, experienced elementary school teachers can be both active and coequal partners with university faculty and work with student teachers. In this kind of environment, elementary school teachers can contribute greatly to a more well-rounded teacher education program.
The kinds of data discussed in this chapter and throughout this report make clear that teacher education, recruitment, and professional development in the United States must develop new ways of doing business. The education and policy communities need to reach consensus about systems for teacher education and recruitment that, like the medical school model, can be adopted nationally and adapted by states and localities to guide and support new teachers through their first crucial years on the job. The various stakeholders in teacher education also must find better ways to provide experienced teachers with meaningful, intellectually engaging