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From Coherence in Theory to Coherence in Practice


by Karen Hammerness — 2006

Historically, one of the central concerns that has plagued the field of teacher education is the observation that fragmentation characterizes the experience of learning to teach. Too often, university-based teacher education programs consist of a set of disconnected individual courses; separate clinical work from coursework; and lack a vision of teaching and learning. Therefore, some teacher educators have argued that creating structurally and conceptually coherent programs will result in more powerful learning for prospective teachers. Yet, although empirical work on such programs is growing, there is little research on the nature of coherence and on how it might develop. To that end, this article documents one teacher education program's efforts to become more coherent, focusing on the ways in which the program tries to become more coherent and on the challenges of coherence. The article concludes with implications for teacher education program design and evaluation, with a focus on the power, complexity, and problems of coherence.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 7, 2006, p. 1241-1265
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12555, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 2:43:18 PM

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About the Author
  • Karen Hammerness
    Stanford University
    E-mail Author
    KAREN HAMMERNESS is a postdoctoral fellow working for Stanford University on a study entitled Examining Teacher Education: Does the Pathway Make a Difference? She is particularly interested in the curriculum, structure, and pedagogy of teacher education and in the development of new teachers’ ideals. Her recent publications include a coedited volume on teacher education, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World (in press), and articles on teachers’ vision in the Journal of Teacher Education and Teacher Education Quarterly. She is currently completing a book, Seeing Through Teachers’ Eyes: The Role of Vision in Teachers’ Lives and Work, to be published by Teachers College Press.
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