As a student teacher supervisor working out of two colleges, I just had to include this excerpt from a piece by Peter Greene, a veteran high school teacher in Pennsylvania who also happens to author the Curmudgucation blog. In it he tackles tech-based teacher prep programs that rely on videos and sets of standard behaviors viewed from afar to “educate” our student teachers.

“Teachers have to be educated by other teachers. That is why student teaching works–daily constant supervision and feedback by a master teacher who knows what she’s doing. That experience is best when it rests on a foundation of subject matter, child development, and pedagogical knowledge. It also works best when the student teacher is helped to find her own teacher voice; co-operating teachers who try to mold mini-me’s is not helpful.

The computer era has led to the resurrection of CBE because computing capacities promise the capability of an enormously complicated Choose Your Own Adventure individualized approach to learning–but that capacity is still not enough for any sort of learning that goes beyond fairly simple, tightly focused tasks. Sure–creating a CBE teacher prep program would be super easy–all you have to do is write out a response for every possible combination of teacher, students, and content in the world. And then link it all together in a tagged and sequenced program. And then come up wit a clear, objective way to measure every conceivable competency, from ‘Teacher makes six-year-old who’s sad about his sick dog comfortable with solving a two-digit addition problem when he didn’t actually raise his hand’ to ‘Teacher is able to engage two burly sixteen-year-old males who are close to having a fist fight over the one guy’s sister to discuss tonal implications of Shakespeare’s use of prose interludes in Romeo and Juliet.'”