Why Specialize?

Why specialize in Teacher Education?

On the one hand, what teacher educators do—and fail to do, and might imaginably do—is critically important in raising up new teachers, and in supporting experienced teachers, especially when the concern is for teachers committed to and capable of furthering educational justice in the classroom.

The importance of high quality teacher education, focused on both near and long term professional capabilities and habits of judgment and action, is especially pronounced today, when the demands on teachers are so great, when their work is so widely misconceived and often disdained, and when the very idea of public education is under attack.

On the other hand, the quality of teacher education in the US varies greatly, across and within colleges, universities, and other sites. While some superb work is being accomplished, too much of what is done in our field is ultimately inadequate to the rights and needs of children and young people and of those who teach them. Meanwhile, the contexts (structural, political, economic, socio-cultural, intellectual) in which teacher education is undertaken are changing, often in deeply troubling ways, and likely to continue changing.

Yet, despite the obvious importance of teacher education, notwithstanding its shortcomings (actual and alleged), despite its difficult and changing contexts, the professional education of teacher educators themselves is generally a hit and miss affair. As our own research and that of others shows, for too many novice teacher educators, it is almost an accidental, often lonely, and frequently haphazard process.

The Specialization in Teacher Education, in contrast, aims at the deliberate formation of a professional identity involving deep understanding of the terrain, skilled and judicious practice, habits of disciplined inquiry, and a strong sense of purpose. We are guided by the conviction that the practice and scholarship of teacher education are urgent, challenging, and fascinating.

Thus, the Specialization answers to several compelling needs—and to equally compelling opportunities. 

A little history

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