Reformers and Defenders: Changing How Teachers Are Taught

A survey by FDR Group and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute investigated the views of professors in teacher education programs across the country (Link here).

The key finding of the study is the apparent divide among the professoriate, Fordham Institute Research Director Amber Winkler said. “Our hope is not to beat up on education schools,” she said. “It’s more to say, ‘OK, there is a group of professors that are advocating for change and are very vocal about it,’ ” and to encourage those professors they dubbed “reformers.”

Researchers determined that, based on the range of responses and lack of overwhelming agreement, teacher education is in flux.

“One segment — Reformers — is strongly dissatisfied with the status quo; they point to weaknesses in education programs and agitate for change,” the report said. “Another segment — Defenders — sees criticism as without merit and is mostly comfortable with the status quo. A close look at these two groups reveals opposing forces at work in teacher education.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has taken part in any sort of project that required change of any kind.  In my experience there are always Reformers and Defenders, especially when dealing with new attitueds and philosophies.  Moving from the status quo is never comfortable for everyone and how quickly and strongly both sides can buy-in to change is oftentimes the key to success.

In this case, however, one must question just why there is such resistance to better preparing classroom teachers.  Differentiated instruction, learning development theories and the use of technology resources should be at the heart of teacher education programs not changes being resisted.  To ignore modern theories and delivery methods in education only opens the field to scrutiny.

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