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A problem of definition (corrected copy)

Posted By: Jay Shotel on June 18, 2003
George Washington University has had what some would call alternative teacher certification programs since the mid-eighties. These are programs that are specifically designed to bring people from other careers into teaching THROUGH A CAREFULLY PLANNED SEQUENCE OF EXPERIENCES that can last from 14 through 30 months depending upon the students schedule and availability. We are neither believers in, or fans of, alternative certification programs which exclude or do not value the true integration of pedagogy and content knowledge. The data on these programs would suggest that we are correct in our beliefs. We have 5 such "partnership" programs with the District of Columbia, Montgomery County in Maryland, and Fairfax County in Virginia. What we have found in our years of experience with these programs are the following.
1. there are bright, capable and energetic people out there who want to teach and who will take a reasonable, well designed path to get there.
2. financial considerations are critically important in these transition programs
3. no matter how bright and capable the person is, early entry into the classroom with minimal preparation will only work if there is strong support, both from the university and the public school system
4. universities must be flexible in terms of program delivery and must be willing to redesign their content to insure compatibility with system (and state) requirements and evaluation systems.
5. school systems must see themselves as partners, both economically and academically
Our partnership program with the Fairfax County Public Schools received an ATE award in 1998 (The Fairfax Transition to Teaching Program).

Jay R. Shotel
Chair & Professor
Department of Teacher Preparation and Special Education
George Washington University
Washington, D.C. 20052
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 Alternative or emergency licensed teachers by Connie White on March 21, 2003
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