Can teachers be like doctors?

The teaching profession is in the early stages of a massive overhaul, and many advocates are looking to the medical profession for a model of how to improve the quality and respect for teachers.

It’s been just over a century since the Flexner Report revolutionized and dramatically improved the training of doctors. Here is a Wikipedia summary of its legacy:

A physician receives at least six, and preferably eight, years of post-secondary formal instruction, nearly always in a university setting;
Medical training adheres closely to the scientific method and is thoroughly grounded in human physiology and biochemistry. Medical research adheres fully to the protocols of scientific research;
Average physician quality has increased significantly;
No medical school can be created without the permission of the state government. Likewise, the size of existing medical schools is subject to state regulation;
Each state branch of the American Medical Association has oversight over the conventional medical schools located within the state;
Medicine in the USA and Canada becomes a highly paid and well-respected profession.

Teaching could certainly use such an upgrade. Indeed, in the past two years the teaching profession has been handed several would-be Flexner Reports. Will any of them break through? Over my next several posts I will examine the recommendations and feasibility of three aspiring Flexners:

From the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE): Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student     Learning
From NEA: Transforming Teaching: Connecting Professional Responsibility with Student Learning
From the U.S. Department of Education: The RESPECT Project: Envisioning a Teaching Profession for the 21st Century

I’ll also examine key similarities and differences between the medical and teaching professions, including ideas about how one can learn from the others.

Do you think modern medicine provides a useful model for revamping the teaching profession? Comments are most welcome.

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