Thursday, July 30, 2009

What subjects should we teach our teachers-to-be!

A few of you sensed I was a bit miffed in my last blog. A student from my college of education who would be doing her student teaching this fall had told me she saw little need to use technology in kindergarten. Oh my. I did a survey and looked at a number of software programs for the pre-school child as well as primary children that would entertain the child as they learned numbers, letters, colors, and things like what is same and what is different. We've done these things in primary classes for years with these activities leading to beginning reading and beginning arithmetic. Some children come to school all ready to start learning--others have to be coaxed along at this age in the learning process.

A child's imagination is unlimited at this age. Most children do not have anything in the way of much experience to block some thinking and dreaming. Let's face it, most of these children are five to seven years old. Hopefully they will have been read to many times before arriving at school. They might have a puppet or a doll to act out scenarios. And hopefully they will have watched Sesame Street on the television--- but even I, an advocate of technology in learning, hopes that the television would have been monitored.

I want our student teachers to be highly intelligent, extremely interested in children's learning, with a pleasing personality and have a well rounded background of classes in education and other majors with both practical and theoretical backgrounds. And I want my students to have a number of experiences during their educational courses to observe and participate in real life k-12 classes in the public schools. I think my university and more specifically my education college does a good job. The College of Education is accredited which means it has been surveyed, review and observed by other professionals and basically have said, "Good work."

So what happen with the young woman who did not want to use technology in her classroom? At the academic level, if one perceives that there is a problem, the task is to first see what is happening in the program. How did this person slip by with this type of thinking? Are there others who emulate her? Is this a one time happening?

The second thing I like to do when looking at an educational problem is to see what others are presently doing with their programs and classes. In olden days I would have had to go to the library and look at university catalogs and find the college of education sections-- but thanks to the Internet and the World Wide Web pages, it is quite easy to use a search engine and bring those pages on my computer here in my home office. What a saving in time.

So I picked two Ivy League colleges that had education programs. I also thought I picked two schools that were about the same size of my university. I picked wrong--both were smaller. I choose not to reveal their names, but be assured they are considered fine universities on the east coast.....Ivy League. One reason for my choice is that in the past I have visited both these institutions. One of them for a time was the leader in the use of computers in the college classes even going so far as providing computers to the local bars and eating houses for their students to use.

But both schools have a limited education program. One school has listed only four faculty in their education department. Apparently elementary and secondary programs are inter twined. But the sad thing for me was that there was only one mention of technology in one program, a course entitled, "From Print to Film: The Reading, Writing and Seeing of Children's Books." Sounds interesting. Unfortunately it isn't to be offered in 2009 or 2010.

But perhaps I am wrong in another way. Maybe they are using technology in the other classes such as Brain Development and Reading. Maybe but I didn't seen it mentioned in the course description. Is it possible that teacher education programs are not teaching technology? I did see several courses on Integration of Minorities in Education. A high five for that one. What I sensed with these two schools that their students would major in another subject such as Psychology or Anthropology or Chemistry and then take some classes in general education specific to grade level. One college required a fifteen week student teaching starting in the fall of their senior year but no mention of observing or doing mini teaching during the program. For that matter neither program mentioned being accredited. Perhaps being an Ivy League school means you do not need to be accredited. I need to study this more.....

Visiting the web pages of these two schools have been interesting and educational. My college of education in my mind looks pretty good as to courses, requirements and a variety of programs to fit different needs. I know that the graduates of my school are normally requested by superintendents for initial placement as our reputation as been successful over the years. Now if I could only sense that our students are getting a good intro to technology in the schools. What do you think? Should I twitter them? Or is it "tweeter". Damn, I've got to go back to school.... R U w/ me?

And if you have a face book or do use twitter, you might want to thank a teacher for helping you in this advance social interaction.... Oh my.

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