One of the most important questions I ask my teacher preparation candidates to consider is “Who benefits?”
There is so much in education that has become convoluted in terms of benefits. Who does does testing benefit? Students? Teacher? Testing companies? Do students really benefit when teachers look like they are learning or when they are actually learning? Is it more important for a class to look well behaved when students walk down the hall, to move down the hall quickly so that learning can start in the classroom sooner or, is walking in the hall time better spent participating in active learning, even if it looks disorderly?
This is the type of thinking I hope to produce in my teacher preparation course.
When I look at an opportunity like the Teaching & Learning Conference and I ask, “Who benefits?” It is easy for me to see how teacher candidates would benefit from attending the conference. Here is a short list:
- Teacher candidates can build networks with professionals up and down the educational endeavor from policy to classroom;
- Teacher candidates become introduced to the most salient issues in education from a participant instead of historical point of view
- From Bill Gates supporting teacher leadership to the counter narratives of Jose Vilson and Pedro Noguera teacher candidates realize that there are a myriad of views on education and they need to make their own decisions about what they believe
- Teacher candidates get to see accomplished teachers leading the profession from the classroom:
Possibly most important, teacher candidates have the opportunity that there are thousands of people out there who care just as much about making a difference for kids as they do! I have put together a session called, “Making the Standards Real in Early Childhood” in which I hope to introduce folks to what it looks like to be a student in my classroom. I did this by giving my 3 year-old students my camera and helping them to record me teaching them. Here is a sample:
There are still opportunities to attend the conference for free.