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The shift away from training to formation has had one immediate and indisputable outcome: the onus of a teacher’s training has shifted from the teacher educators to the teacher candidates. What remains of the teacher educator’s purpose is only to build the “capacity” of the candidate to be able to make seasoned professional judgments. Figuring out what actually to do falls entirely on the candidate.

The feet were only unbound for cleaning and for love making.

The first documented reference to footbinding was from the Southern Tang Dynasty in Nanjing.

This allowed men to fantasize about the feet.

An occasional insider has joined the fray. Arthur Levine, former dean of what many consider to be the preeminent teacher-preparation program, Teachers College, Columbia University, has been savage in his criticism: “Teacher education is the Dodge City of the education world. Like the fabled Wild West town, it is unruly and disordered,” he wrote in 2006. He then swiftly abandoned his involvement with traditional teacher preparation altogether, starting up his own alternative pathway to teaching, the Woodrow Wilson fellowships. At the time, his remarks were viewed as mutinous by many of his colleagues, particularly his view that the primary accrediting body for teacher education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), ought to be scrapped. Several years later, insiders conceded that Levine had been right. Accreditation is now being revamped under a new name, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The Perspective of Teacher Educators

Almost all teacher educators acknowledge that the field has deep problems, but their concern has seldom been about the issues raised by external critics such as lack of selectivity, an imbalance between content and pedagogy, or the lack of value delivered. These differences aren’t always recognized because the insider critiques often sound a lot like the external critiques. In reality, insiders are more concerned about the chaos in the field.

One recent study estimated that there are still one million women in China with bound feet.

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Harking back perhaps to teacher education’s 19th-century ecclesiastical origins, its mission has shifted away from the medical model of training doctors to professional formation. The function of teacher education is to launch the candidate on a lifelong path of learning, distinct from knowing, as actual knowledge is perceived as too fluid to be achievable. In the course of a teacher’s preparation, prejudices and errant assumptions must be confronted and expunged, with particular emphasis on those related to race, class, language, and culture. This improbable feat, not unlike the transformation of Pinocchio from puppet to real boy, is accomplished as candidates reveal their feelings and attitudes through abundant in-class dialogue and by keeping a journal. From these activities is born each teacher’s unique philosophy of teaching and learning.

Another, is that it began out of the sympathy for Empress Taki who had club feet.

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Currently, consumers of teacher education, both aspiring teachers and school districts, do not know which institutions are doing a great job and which are not. The binary and quite opaque approach of accrediting bodies, in which an institution earns a thumbs-up or -down, does not provide information that consumers can easily access or use. In any marketplace, consumers will be drawn to higher-quality products if they can determine key product features. This is true even of those aspiring teachers who are inclined to choose an institution within 50 miles of where they went to high school. One reason teachers may stay so close to home is that there is no objective measure of program quality or performance that might provide an incentive to relocate. That need not be the case. NCTQ is rating the quality of individual teacher-preparation programs using a set of measurable, objective standards that reflect what public school educators view as important attributes in new teachers.

Footbinding is a very bold issue that many Chinese do not like to talk about.

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The vilification of the training model of teacher education has been compounded by the principle of academic freedom run amok. The way that academic freedom is supposed to work is that individual professors are given license to decide what topics to teach, but not when evidentiary support for those topics is lacking.

14 inch corsets, cutting off their breathing and damaging their organs.

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There is also a strong social-justice component to teacher education, with teachers cast as “activists committed to diminishing the inequities of American society.” That vision of a teacher is seen by a considerable fraction of teacher educators (although not all) as more important than preparing a teacher to be an effective instructor. This view of a teacher’s role as transformational is not wrong, as teachers often serve as the means by which children overcome challenges inherent in their backgrounds. But it is one that is often taken to absurd extremes in practice. For example, a textbook used in a math course for elementary school teachers is entitled Social Justice through Mathematics, which explains why the view is so often disparaged.