While there is a growing amount of research that calls for extensive school reform in Canada, I am more interested in research on the effectiveness of current teacher education and the documented inability of universities to arm student teachers with the necessary knowledge and expertise to not only survive but excel in a complex yet interesting and dynamic school setting.
My argument is that due to outdated teacher education programs, new teachers are unprepared for a teaching profession that is becoming increasingly complex. My research question is thus: How can teacher education programs be reformed to better prepare new teachers for a demanding and complicated profession? To shed some light on the issue and to propose some answers, the current statistics on teacher retention in Canada will be introduced. I will then explain why school environments today are considered more complex than ever and illuminate the need for reforms in teacher education to prepare preservice teachers for diverse school contexts and a wide array of responsibilities other than instructor. Subsequently, I will highlight two approaches to teacher education–the technical/rational approach and the inquiry approach–and argue that the former, a linear process of acquiring content knowledge and conveying subject matter in a brief practicum, should be abandoned in favour of the inquiry approach, which allows for greater creativity, malleability, and development on the part of the prospective teacher. Lastly, several studies that explore the benefits of inquiry-oriented preparation programs in teacher education will be presented and the implications for future research will be discussed.
|Keywords:||Teacher Education, Educational Reforms, Change Management|
PhD Candidate (Organizational Studies), Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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