By DAN LOYD, Staff Writer
Faculty members of the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Department of Education hosted their colleagues from the Ann Arbor campus to learn more and improve student educational training. Dr. Robert Bain and Dr. Elizabeth Moje presented their research that centers on the idea that a schism is present in the training of education students. In an article published in the Phi Delta Kappan Journal, Drs. Moje and Bain argue “[c]urrent teacher education comprises ill-organized sets of educational experiences in different spaces, for different purposes, and led by people who don’t work with one another and may never even have met.”
Their solution to this problem is to interconnect the three main aspects of the education of a future teacher; their subject area training, their education classes, and student teaching. Dr. Bain said one of the advantages for students who are trained using the methods developed by him and his colleague is the program has “much more coherence.”
“We’re seeing our students understand when they come into [the School of Education], it’s not a series of courses…They’re spiraling developmentally to become a member of a profession.”
Stein Brunvand teaches education technology at UM-D and was in on the meeting with Dr. Bain and Dr. Moje. He said he was intrigued by how the Ann Arbor education faculty was able to break down barriers between classes and open up lines of communication.
“One thing I don’t think we do here at the Dearborn campus is trying to synchronize and collaborate with other faculty to know who’s teaching what when, and moving students through in a cohort fashion,” said Brunvand.
Brunvand said this is especially true with his technology classes.
“I feel like students probably leave these classes and think tech is just what we do in Stein’s class. We don’t do that anywhere else and so it doesn’t transfer over.”
Another change Dr. Bain and Moje look to make in the preparation of educators is the discourse that surrounds the training process. In their pilot program at the Ann Arbor campus, Dr. Moje said they drew from the medical field to substitute some terms such as replacing the term “cooperating teacher” with “attending teacher.” He said by changing the terminology used for teacher education, it gives the students and the teachers they work with a greater understanding of the importance of the task they are undertaking.
“Just the way an attending physician actually is not supposed to be treating [patients], the resident or intern is, but they’re always to be attending to the health of the patient. We want the people that are working with our students always to think their [K-12] students are first and foremost,” said Bain.
Mesut Duran is the associate dean for research and administrative affairs for UM-D’s School of Education. He looks forward to learning more about the use of medical terminology in the education field as Dr. Bain and Dr. Moje scale up their research to a wider group of students.
“I see the value of using the medical field as a model to look at teacher preparation in a different way, but the impact of such modeling needs to be seen,” said Duran.
However, Duran believes increased communication between faculty members can be implemented in classrooms right away.
“Reflecting on student performance and sharing with fellow faculty members within the program on where the students stand and what their strengths and limitations are can be a practical application we can use in our classrooms.”