Study: Student progress can be tied to teacher education

Black got her initial training at City University and did graduate work in middle school math at Walden University, an online program not included in the study.

Goldhaber’s study ranked City University, a private school, right in the middle of teacher prep programs, with a score closer to the top schools for math—University of Washington, University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran, Seattle Pacific and Western Washington—than to the schools at the bottom of the math list: Northwest University, Antioch University, St. Mary’s University, Seattle University, and the Evergreen State College.

The ranks are different for reading scores, with Walla Walla University at the top with the University of Washington, which is closely followed by Western Washington University, Seattle Pacific, the University of Puget Sound, and Washington State University.

A Bellingham, Wash., English teacher who got his credential from Western had similar issues to Black: too much theory and too little practical advice on how to actually work in the classroom. Todd Hausman said the theories he learned as best practices were completely impractical in the real world, but it took him a few years to figure that out and to have the confidence to abandon those ideas.

Even though their respective schools did well in the study, both Black and Hausman said they would, in retrospect, like to see changes in teacher education programs, including more hands-on training.

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Hausman thinks student teachers should be immersed in a school for at least year.

”You learn more in a week at school than you can learn in an entire academic semester,” he said.

”Classroom management is a hard one to teach,” said Black, a regional Washington teacher of the year last year. ”It is like trying to teach someone how to ride a bike by reading instructions. It is different with each class.”

She said classes also don’t prepare teachers for the stress of the job or for the amount of work they’ll do at home each night.

The dean of the top-ranked University of Washington College of Education found the study results interesting but cautioned against giving too much credit to the rankings.

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