NSU joins national alliance to transform teacher preparation

(Tahlequah, Okla.)--Northeastern State University has proudly been on the cutting edge of preparing the next generation of educators. Now, Northeastern has been recognized as one of five Oklahoma institutions selected to participate in the National Alliance for Clinical Teacher Preparation.

Joining a group of states committed to the transformation of preparation policies and practices for educators, the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP) recently announced Oklahoma’s participation in this national alliance.

Dr. Stanley Sanders, director of clinical education at NSU-Broken Arrow, and Dr. Allyson Watson, associate professor and interim assistant dean of NSUBA, are the university’s representatives.

“Oklahoma teacher preparation programs are extensive, and NSU is one of the institutions selected to begin the critical dialogue regarding teacher preparation and collaboration across the state’s school districts,” Watson said.

Oklahoma is the 12th state to join. State universities in the pilot initiative with NSU are Cameron, Central Oklahoma, Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City.

Watson said NSU will share its methods of teacher preparation and enrichment with other alliance members.

“We have been very successful with urban and international initiatives,” she said. “We have a specialized program, the Teaching and Urban Reform Network, that prepares and introduces teacher candidates to urban school settings.”

In addition to the internships provided for NSU teacher candidates in Oklahoma schools, Watson said the university prepares teachers for global connection.

“Dr. Debbie Landry and Dr. Yeng Fei Kao were faculty leaders for an international Pre-Internship II experience in Taiwan this spring and Cindi Fries and Dr. Sanders implemented a similar experience in Vienna,” Watson said. “In addition to our teaching professionals, Dr. Bea Keller Dupree and Dr. Rick Williams hosted an international experience to Dublin, Ireland, for future counseling professionals.”

The goals of the alliance are to develop partnerships among P-12 schools and higher education and to develop more effective state policies which support innovation, research, and strong clinical preparation so teachers are better prepared to meet the challenges of a diverse student population. Plus, the alliance strives to increase use of performance assessments to ensure teachers can demonstrate knowledge and skills for today’s classrooms.

“The research is clear – one does not become an effective teacher by sitting in a lecture hall," said Linda Reid, executive director of OCTP. “Our future teachers need to spend extended, meaningful time in ‘real’ classrooms. Our desire is to partner with P-12 schools to prepare the teachers they need.”

Reid said the new approach would “flip the model” of teacher education.

“We want to move more of teacher preparation from the college campus to the P-12 classroom,” she said. "The model we are pursuing is not unlike the medical model, where medical students spend an extended period of time working with real patients, real doctors, in real hospitals.”

The alliance was prompted by the fall 2010 report of a blue ribbon panel on clinical practice commissioned by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

“We are delighted that Oklahoma is joining other states in a commitment to transform educator preparation to better meet the needs of P-12 schools," said Dr. James G. Cibulka, NCATE president. "The blue ribbon panel report provides a road map of changes which can be made to transform preparation to meet 21st Century needs.”

Other member states include California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee. OCTP will host a statewide conference with all Oklahoma universities and interested parties in June. For more information visit the OCTP website.

Published: 6/4/2012 1:36:57 PM

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