Teacher training programs don’t teach how to teach

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In order to obtain a teaching certificate, future teachers in the public system or most private systems must complete a series of compulsory courses from the Department of Education at their colleges or universities. These courses, in turn, are, for the most part, prescribed by the State Department of Public Instruction.

Daniel Buck recounts his experience with education departments while pursuing a master’s degree in this field at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then recounts a study of teacher education programs at all public universities in Badger State.

He found that everything of the state’s 14 teacher education programs require courses in race theory, gender studies, LGBTQ issues, and Marxist “critical pedagogy.” There are also what he calls “kitschy activities,” like watching movies, doing expressive arts and crafts, and sharing personal feelings. But there are hardly any courses on how to teach.

His article, Schools of education have long been mediocre. Now they are also awakeis published in the Wall Street Journal, which is behind a paywall, but here is the opening:

I studied for a Masters in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. My schedule was crazy. We have created Black Lives Matter friendship bracelets. We passed around a popsicle stick to designate who should talk to the trick as the teachers forced us to discuss the traumas in our lives. We read poems through the “lenses” of Marxism and Critical Race Theory with a view to preparing our students to do the same. Our final projects were acrostic poems or ironic rap videos.

At the time, I thought my experience was unique. Surely, I thought, other teacher preparation programs focusing on human cognition, behavior management, child psychology, and other practical aspects of education. Alas, my program was soft compared to what current graduates have to go through.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has saw again courses required for 14 future teacher programs in Badger State. These programs produce approximately 80% of all state education graduates each year. What they found was shocking. Worldview construction and ideological manipulation take precedence over teacher preparation.

In the curricula, there is a notable lack of academic literature or classroom teaching manuals. Instead, Hollywood movies like “Freedom Writers,” popular books like Jonathan Kozol’s “Letters to a Young Teacher,” and propaganda like “Anti-Racist Baby” abound. Instead of academic essays, graduate students write personal poems or collect photographs. These kitsch activities infantilize what should be a rigorous pursuit of professional competence.

Buck cites another study which found that only 22% of schools of education teach the “science of reading”, i.e. teaching reading through phonics, as we mentioned in our blog.

The report to which he refers, a study of the curricula of all compulsory studies in public universities in the state, is entitled From top: The impact of college indoctrination on K-12 education. These represent 80% of teachers in the state. Who apparently get little help preparing for what they’re going to have to do in real classrooms. Some find it out for themselves and do well. But almost 10% quit after just one yearand nearly 50% quit within five years.

Comments Buck,

Students are the obvious losers. But teachers are also suffering. It’s almost a rite of passage that every teacher has to go through hell in their first year. This is partly a function of getting used to the job, but it also reflects how ill-prepared they are by their training to stand in front of a class full of students.

Of course, there are many good teachers, despite how they were trained, teachers who do not indoctrinate or corrupt their students, but rather teach them the knowledge and skills they need. They deserve our honor and our support. I learned to greatly appreciate the teachers I got to know in our classical schools. And some colleges and universities — I’m thinking of Hillsdale, Patrick Henry College, and other Christian colleges — have teacher training programs that do what they’re supposed to do. But there’s a reason we have an education crisis today, and it’s starting in universities.

TH: Jackie Veith

Photo via pxhere, CC0, public domain

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