All Articles Education Edtech Pulling teacher training programs out of the mud

Pulling teacher training programs out of the mud

3 min read


A middle-school English Language Arts teacher recently lost her job at the private school where she had been teaching for nearly 13 years. The school’s new superintendent had looked into the teacher’s file and discovered she didn’t have a teaching credential. He acknowledged her master’s degree in elementary education – and the considerable successes she’d had over the years, leading the English department and coaching the school’s academic teams – but said that without a credential, her contract would not be renewed.

I spoke with this teacher shortly after her meeting with the superintendent. What discouraged her most was the thought of having to return to school – at substantial cost – and go through the motions of a credential program. “I have a master’s degree and more than a decade of classroom experience,” she explained, frustrated. “How does that count for nothing? I’m fine going through training but a year? Plus the expense? There has to be a better way.”

This conversation struck a nerve with me. Her argument made sense. In the age of technology and new forms of education, such as MOOCs and competency-based learning programs, why do teacher training and development programs still seem stuck in the proverbial mud of tradition? Are educators ready for new, more efficient and effective, systems? We posed this question to the SmartBrief on EdTech readers this month to get their take.

EdTech readers overwhelmingly support competency-based learning for teacher training and development. Eighty-four percent favor a competency-based system that enables teachers with advanced degrees and experience to fast track their way to a credential. Seventy-nine percent support competency-based learning for teacher professional development.

Here’s a look at the full poll results:

Is it time for a new system that allows you to earn credentials and certifications through MOOCs, professional learning networks and open educational resources?

  • Yes, provided there are measures in place to ensure rigorous, high-quality instruction and assessment. 69%
  • Traditional credential programs are the best way to train quality educators. 31%

Many teachers have advanced degrees and classroom experience but no credential. Should there be a competency-based program that allows these seasoned professionals to fast track their way to a clear credential?

  • Yes: 84%
  • No: 16%

Do you favor a personalized, competency-based learning program for teacher professional development?

  • Yes: 79%
  • No: 21%

Technology has opened the door for us to create new teacher training programs that are effective and efficient—programs that will produce high-quality educators. And teachers seem ready for new opportunities. What say you? Let us know. Drop us a line or leave a comment in the space below.