Peter Greene eviscerates an article advocating competency based education for teacher education.

The claim for technology starts with the assertion that traditional teacher education is worthless, which explains why there are so many bad teachers. But you don’t have to be a fan of such programs to object to a technological fix.

Greene writes:

“Let me step aside for a moment to note that I am not the person you want to defend traditional teacher prep programs. I was trained in a non-traditional program with far fewer hours of education courses before student teaching and far more support and coursework while I was getting my classroom practice on. I happily await the day that some college education department calls me up and invites me to re-configure their system, because I have more than a few ideas.

“I should also note that debating study versus practice in teacher prep strikes me as just as useful as endlessly arguing about whether there should be more hugging or kissing with your romantic partner. If you are arguing violently for mostly one at the exclusion of the other, you’ve lost sight of the point.”

“I’m a little nervous that Riccards is dreaming of an EdTPA type of program, with videos and a set of standard behaviors that can be evaluated at a distance. That idea is a snare and a delusion. It does not work. It will never work.

“This also feels like one of those attempts to remove subjective personal judgment from the process. That is also a snare and a delusion.

“Teachers have to be educated by other teachers. That is why student teaching works– daily constant supervision and feedback by a master teacher who knows what she’s doing. That experience is best when it rests on a foundation of subject matter, child development, and pedagogical knowledge. It also works best when the student teacher is helped to find her own teacher voice; co-operating teachers who try to mold mini-me’s are not helpful.

“The computer era has led to the resurrection of CBE because computing capacities promise the capability of an enormously complicated Choose Your Own Adventure individualized approach to learning– but that capacity is still not enough for any sort of learning that goes beyond fairly simple, tightly focused tasks. Sure– creating a CBE teacher prep program would be super easy– all you have to do is write out a response for every possible combination of teacher, students and content in the world. And then link it all together in a tagged and sequenced program. And then come up with a clear, objective way to measure every conceivable competency, from “Teacher makes six year old who’s sad about his sick dog comfortable with solving a two-digit addition problem when he didn’t actually raise his hand” to “Teacher is able to engage two burly sixteen-year-old males who are close to having a fist fight over the one guy’s sister to discuss tonal implications of Shakespeare’s use of prose interludes in Romeo and Juliet.”

We count on Peter to be the voice of common sense and experience.