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The Effects of COVID-19 on Teacher Preparation

Fall 2020 Member Survey CoverThe professional journal for teacher education, Phi Delta Kappan recently published an article about the effects of COVID-19 on teacher education programs, delving deeper into the under reporting of these programs’ struggles caused by the pandemic. The article references AACTE’s two-part member survey that chief representatives of its member institutions responded to about how the twin crises of COVID-19 and racial injustice had affected their educator preparation programs and how they have responded to these crises. The results were included in a report by Jacqueline King released in February.

Authors Kathryn Choate, Dan Goldhaber, and Roddy Theobald underscore that one of the most relevant issues facing educator preparation programs is the cut in clinical practice available to teacher candidates. To help move these students journeys forward, several states have passed emergency legislation relaxing teacher certificate requirements. The article cites AACTE’s Member Survey to re-enforce the changes happening within these programs—namely the 188 educator preparation programs  (across 47 states) that have transitioned, at least partly, to a remote learning environment in Spring 2020.

In Washington, the home state of the authors, the Professional Educators Standards Board modified the criteria for completion of teacher certificates and admission to educator preparation programs. These changes included relaxing the coursework, field experience, and edTPA portfolio deadlines among other things.  Emergency certificates and temporary admissions were also part of making the profession more available during the pandemic.

Through a survey of 29 Washington state-accredited educator preparation programs, the authors found that there was currently no major short-term change in enrollment in their programs but that the transition to remote learning has affected the developmental experiences of their teacher candidates. According to the article, more than 80% of survey respondents waived or reduced the length of time (cut by about 20%) required for student teaching in both undergraduate and graduate programs. They noted that there was a bigger shift in undergraduate public schools than in graduate private schools in terms of virtual teaching. The survey found that some school districts were unable to accommodate virtual classrooms for student teaching, with 75% of field supervisors having to modify how they gave feedback.

The article lists three big concerns with the pandemic’s effect on the educator preparation programs: The new virtual components in curricula, the needs of students that did not get full training but will be teaching within the next year, and the needs of the 2020-21 teacher candidate cohort being prepped in the middle of a pandemic.

Lastly, the authors share the implications that COVID-19 has had on the teaching profession and its candidates., stressing the pandemic made it a priority for teachers and students to be able to teach and learn in any environment, whether face-to-face or not. The article acknowledges that while things will likely return to a new normal, the incorporation of online-hybrid classroom models of education will continue to have an impact on the future of teaching.

To read the full article, visit kappanonline.org.





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