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Doyle Slater: New Trends in the Preparation of Teachers in United States

In the early and middle 1980s in the United States, several study reports were released, critical of the educational achievement of students completing schooling in the American schools. Citing evidence that students were not performing on examinations at levels comparable to the levels achieved in schools in other countries of the world, the reports called for a review of current educational practices. Government and educational leaders encouraged the careful study of schooling standards, the revision of curriculum, and the research and development of more effective teaching methodology. The reform movement evolved in two parallel directions: the study and change of current schooling practices and the study and change of current practices in the preparation of the teachers. This paper provides a brief history and summary of the recommendations for change and improvement of teacher preparation, grouped in five categories: the careful selection of candidates for programs, improved and more rigorous preparation in academic subjects, intensive and research based preparation in professional studies, increased collaboration and partnerships between public schools and colleges and universities, and more appropriate requirements and consistent standards for licensure and certification. In each category, in addition to the recommendations for change and improvement, past common teacher preparation practices are described, with illustrations provided of some college and university responses being made to the recommendations. Teacher preparation in the United States is the responsibility of institutions and agencies within each state and is influenced by professional groups and complex systems of accreditation across the country. The result is great diversity among programs which precludes a comprehensive summary. As the reform movement in the United States gains momentum, new ideas for improving teacher preparation are being tested and new models developed, with accompanying research. Many additional questions have been generated and the research results of long term effectiveness of revised and new practices in the preparation of teachers is just beginning to be reported in the literature.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 91. Number 1. 31-49. (1991)

English version of the manuscript can be obtained from the author.

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: R. Doyle Slater, Director, Professional Development Center, School of Education, La Grande, Oregon 97850, USA


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia