Lanier & Little Notes Studying Teacher Educators

Lanier, J. E., & Little, J. W. (1986). Research on teacher education. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd Ed.), pp. 527-569. New York: MacMillan Publishing.

In this chapter, the authors discuss the issues of defining a teacher educator.

Chapter Content

Organization of the Chapter

Studying Those Who Teach Teachers

·      Problems in Defining the Population: Who Are the Teacher Educators?

o   “Teacher educators cannot be concretely identified as a group for either initial or continuing teacher education (p. 528).”

o   Broadly defined it consists of those who teach teachers, but because teacher preparation programs consist of general education, education coursework, and field-based experience, who then would be considered a teacher educator? “Thus most university faculty who teach undergraduate students can be considered teachers of teachers – not just those who teach specific education courses (p. 529).” Herein lies the problem of definition. It is inclusionary and not exclusionary.

o   Questions of Professorial Identity and Commitment

§  Denotatively, the term teacher educator is all encompassing including all university faculty who teach prospective teachers at some point in their preparation. Connotatively, the term is more exclusive referring to only those faculty engaged in the pedagogical portions of the preparation program. As an exclusive term, it leaves out a large portion of those involved in the designing and teaching in the teacher candidate’s program. The trouble with the use of the term in this application is when it is applied to those who teach in teaching-related fields like school counseling, administration, or school psychology or even further removed fields of business, government, industry, or higher education. Even those these professors are teaching pedagogy, they would not be considered teacher educators.

§  Discipline-specific professors identify teacher educators as supervisors and methods course instructors. However, methods course instructors identify more with the subject area and remove themselves as teacher educators, leaving those who supervise as the “real teacher educators.”

§  “Those who supervise fieldwork in the schools are probably the only faculty, as a group, who publicly identify themselves as teacher educators (p. 529).”

§  QUESTION FOR ME – Identity as a teacher educator: Is that at the core? On the periphery? Does it matter?

o   Questions of Identity and Responsibility Beyond Initial Preparation