The College Database - the most current and comprehensive source for U.S. college and university data - has named its top colleges in the state for teacher education. The new list entitled "Top Colleges in Kentucky: Shaping the Next Generation," highlights the post-secondary institutions in the state that produced the most education graduates during the 2012 school year.
EKU Associate Dean for the College of Education Dr. Kim Naugle explained to KSN&C where the EKU program is headed."Many colleges and universities have tremendous teacher education programs," said Doug Jones, founder of The College Database. "But which ones are producing the most young educators today? We wanted to identify the colleges making the largest impact on our students."
KSN&C: Tell me what's going on at Eastern that makes it a leader.
Naugle: Well, I think there are two things. Eastern, through the years, has been a leader in education...[ever since being] identified as Normal School #1 [smiling] and another school being identified as Normal School #2, Eastern has had a long history of leading the way. But what has happened recently that is reshaping that, is that we are focusing on a more clinical model of education. [Naugle mentioned a handful of ongoing programs that are building toward a total redesign of teacher preparation under this clinical model, where pre-service teachers are placed in a "clinical apprenticeship" and course work and clinical experiences take place in the same setting. Programs are presently in full swing at Corbin Middle School with pilot programs at Model Lab School and Madison Middle School.] What it involves is [Teacher Education Program candidates] teaching courses in the school system, where they can teach a lesson, see that lesson modeled in an actual classroom, co-teach a lesson...and then follow up with feedback back in the classroom.
KSN&C: We've all seen plans for a new education building here. What's that all about?
Naugle: What we are hoping to do is first - even before the new building - is reshape Model from being a laboratory school...to being a teacher preparation training school. It will continue to deliver wonderful service to our P-12 students...but we will have more integration of this clinical model process within the school. Having the Model School and the College of Education in the same building will help facilitate that. We also plan to develop Model into a teacher training school beyond the initial certification level...to retrain teachers as we go along; to bring them back in for professional development in the most up-to-date best practices across the disciplines...
KSN&C: When we think of clinical models we typically think about medical schools. Is this what the Eastern program is modeled after?
Naugle: It is. For example, one of the things we are in the process of arranging is a trip for [some of] our teacher education faculty to go to UK's Medical Center to look at a medical school model of training...This is a clinical profession. It is a profession based around skills, knowledge, and practice, not just content with a little pedagogy...behind it. When we look at who has the most common clinical model as education, we naturally move to medical education programs...
KSN&C: So if everything goes as planned, and we look at Eastern Kentucky University's teacher education program five years from now, from the student's perspective, what do you imagine the experience will be like?
Naugle: There's going to be much more cross-over experience between the content taught in the classrooms and clinical integration. For example, I think we'll do less and less sit-n-git experiences where students come in, get a lecture and some worksheets, and go home and take care of it. In fact, we've already moved away from that in our education program for the large part. But even more so in five years, I expect our [pre-service] teachers from their second semester freshman year, to start being in school and being a part of the process that helps P-12 schools get better, as well as helping our students learn more about being effective teachers. It will make a much stronger teacher when they come out of their preparation. They'll be ready to step into the classroom and be in charge and alone in the process. It will also help people recognize when they are a good fit for the profession early on in the process, so that those who aren't a good fit can choose other paths.