An Interview with George K. Cunningham: Helping or Hindering Potential Teachers? Michael F. Shaughnessy
Senior Columnist EducationNews.org
Eastern New Mexico University
1. George, over the past few years, teacher training has changed from teacher centered to learner centered. Some people indicate that it is more important for the student to be "multiculturally aware and ethnically sensitive" rather than proficient in math or science. Where do you stand and how did this shift come about?
Actually, this is not a recent change, but a problem that has plagued education schools for a long time. David Larrabee has an interesting explanation for the ineffectiveness of education schools. He attributes their problems to the fact that education schools are late comers to the university and college communities. Teacher training started out in normal schools, which were little more than community colleges. When teacher training programs became part of universities, they were looked down upon by the university community. As a result education school professors had, and in many cases still have, an inferiority complex. They realized that if they devoted their efforts to training prospective teachers in the concrete skills needed to make teachers effective in the classroom; they would be written off by fellow professors as mere technicians. This is why they welcomed the abstract ideas of John Dewey. It is also why the conceptual frameworks, which are submitted for NCATE accreditation, are so replete with abstract and abstruse concepts. For example, nearly every conceptual framework rhapsodizes about the importance of teachers being reflective and being critical thinkers. This is intended to show that the training of prospective teachers requires far more that instruction in concrete teaching skills.It also means that prospective teachers never learn some of the most important skills they will need when they become teachers.
2. There seems to be a gross " disconnect " between the " profs " who are training teachers and what parents, principals and the public wants. How did this come about?.............
6. Now, let's define some terms. What do you understand the words "critical pedagogy" to mean. Please give us your definition, rather than having our readership "construct" an understanding of the term themselves.I learned new information about "critical pedagogy."