I was listening to NPR yesterday (as I do pretty much every day) and I heard a piece on apprenticeship/vocational programs in Germany. I was actually thinking about applications to higher education career learning and work-study opportunities for the students in the programs I work with.
But today, I came across the US Dept of Ed's "Teach to Learn" initiative. Then the idea struck. Is it exceptional? Eh, not sure. Is going any where? Probably not. But, I'm proud of it!
What do you think...?
Idea: Apprenticeship Model for Teaching
Improving Teacher Effectiveness, Development and Retention
Teacher turnover and burnout is preventable. A recent study concluded that more pedagogical preparation does impact retention positively (Sawchuk 2014). In higher education, the problem does not quite manifest as a retention issue, but as an effectiveness issue. When college-level faculty experience burnout their commitment and job satisfaction is stressed, but burnout is mitigated through support and collaboration (Tugend 2013).
A novel solution can be initiated through a new paradigm of new teacher training and faculty professional development: the apprenticeship model. This model integrates the learning process into an extended, mentored and experiential praxis. New teachers, as apprentices, and existing faculty, as masters, learn and work together over an extended period where leadership and responsibility shifts between the two. The Apprentice Teacher benefits from hands on, front-of-class experience that is supported by a dedicated mentor extending for a longer period of time than conventional teacher internship programs. For the Master Teacher, they benefit from the time and cause to refresh their own pedagogical practice and research agenda. The apprenticeship pairing will last for at least two years. Early on, it will focus on Master Teacher modeling and leading collaborative creation/updating of methods and materials between the two teachers. Later on, the Apprentice Teacher comes into the lead and the Master Teacher recedes into a mentor role, where she or his is able to devote time to their own professional development pursuits. This new model will entail a revision of most education degree programs, a deepening of the teacher residency programs, and a synthesis with existing faculty development programs.