Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) has released a new policy brief titled Transforming Teaching: What University Presidents and Deans of Colleges of Education Need to Know about Modernizing the K-12 Educator Workforce. It is a call-to-action to higher education to play a role in bringing the teaching profession into the 21st century.
Transforming K-12 education systems to meet the new economic, civic, and cultural demands of our global society requires a modern teacher workforce. Specifically, it requires a teacher workforce with the knowledge, skills, and systems of support to be successful in student-centered, competency-based, and diverse learning environments. Higher education is an essential actor in the work of transforming teaching and learning because universities and colleges of education have unparalleled power to modernize the educator workforce.
Around the globe, the nations whose students excel are the nations that invest continually in the quality and sustainability of their educator workforce. While this is not the job of higher education alone, the quality of the educator workforce begins with the quality of its preparation and is sustained by opportunities for ongoing learning and advancement, both of which higher education can provide.
Specifically, institutes of higher education can:
- Diversify the new educator workforce
- Modernize teacher preparation
- Promote continuous professional learning and development
Advocates for innovation in K-12 education are coming to recognize that, as Einstein said, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” In other words, we need a fundamental reimagination of school to achieve fundamentally different outcomes. The same is true in higher education: methods of preparing teachers that fit the demands of the 19th and 20th centuries no longer fit the demands of the 21st century. Dramatic change is needed.
While the path of change is complex, it is also achievable, as evidenced by the many organizations, institutions, and states that are already making positive strides forward. Innovation is a complex but vital priority for any leader looking to advance educational excellence and evolve their own institutions at pace with a changing global society.