Cutting edge scientists in departments of physics and biology now reject the empiricism that was all the rage as teachers colleges transformed into regional state universities.
My thesis is that we must return to the teachers college tradition if we expect to thrive.
Yes, we have distanced ourselves from our teachers college roots, but should we be proud of this fact?
Major histories of higher education pay almost no attention to the teachers college tradition (Rudolph, 1990; Thelin, 2004), yet these institutions were essential to educating the majority of college students in the 20th century.
We can learn from the teachers college tradition that teacher education is the most important task of any university.
A second lesson we can learn from the teachers college tradition has to deal with curriculum.
I attended a teachers college prior to its transition (like most of the others) to a regional state university and, as such, we boasted a campus school serving area and faculty children in grades K-8 and taught by outstanding, fully certified teachers who also held college faculty status.
To my mind the greatest strength in attending a teachers college was that we were all on the same page; and this lack of a common vision may be the most insidious problem with teacher education at universities today.
As an elementary major who had already committed to teaching by attending a teachers college and clawed his way into the junior high and high school years by going above and beyond expectations, I was appalled by the state of secondary teacher certification at the non-teachers college institutions I came in contact with; where secondary teachers were typically drawn from the ranks of those who were drummed out of other majors ("My GPA is too low for the Chemistry department.
perhaps we did our best work--produced the best practitioners--under the teachers college system" Where are our best teachers?
Let's bring back the Teachers College, and let's do it now!
"Harris Teachers College
and Stowe Teachers College
: Growth and Development 1891-1993." Master's thesis, Iowa State University.