Build “teaching hospital” schools with mentor teachers
Both research and experience suggest that teachers learn much of what they know in schools (as opposed to preparation institutions) from more experienced teachers. Currently, student teachers’ assignment to mentor teachers is often haphazard; while preservice teachers can learn a great deal in any classroom setting, those who train under an expert teacher emerge much better prepared than those who train under an average or below average one.
To maximize student teachers’ preservice learning, the obvious next step in this process is to develop schools that in certain respects resemble teaching hospitals. In these institutions, new teachers would get a chance to learn cutting edge practices, and master teachers would choose to be there because they wanted to teach new teachers – a higher step on their career ladder. In turn, K-12 students who attended these schools would have the cost of being taught by new teachers offset by having teachers carefully supervised by master teachers; they would also have access to the latest ideas from both research and practice. In addition to being sites of exemplary practice, these schools would also have a lab-school function, in that they would be places where new design-based research could be carried out.