Competency-Based Teacher Preparation

RealClearEducationIn a recent article in Real Clear Education, Patrick Riccard reflects on the potential for teacher preparation programs to implement a competency-based approach. Excerpts from the article appear below:

Demonstrating knowledge and ability should be the key criterion for teachers’ preparation, placement, development, and advancement.

Teacher preparation must begin to shift from a “time served” model to competency-based one. It means more time spent demonstrating skills in a K-12 classroom than sitting in a lecture hall. It means recognizing that the prospective teacher takes priority over the process, appreciating what an educator is bringing to the process and then building personalized approaches to complete preparation. And it means continually acquiring competencies well after the initial licensure is completed.

Imagine it at its best, as part of a 21st Century teacher preparation program. Ideally, CBE for teachers does these things:

Establishes a set of outcomes one  must attain in order to graduate, rooted in what excellent beginning teachers must know and be able to do;

Constructs meaningful assessment tools designed to determine candidate competencies at the outset, to gauge candidate progress, and to shape each candidate’s course of study; and

Provides a problem-based, individualized, adaptive curriculum tied to these competencies.

A competency-based approach to teacher education can achieve many of the goals sought by those looking to strengthen the prospective teacher pipeline, improve teacher education in general, and improve our collective ability to retain successful teachers.

We need to take a good, hard look at where teacher education can and should go in the 21st Century. We need to look at how teacher education can serve as a model for transforming higher education in general. And we need to do everything we can to ensure all teachers are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the classroom.

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