M. D. Gall's home page 

filename: T. Ed design memo #5

date: April 2, 2001



Redesigning Teacher Education Programs


M. D. Gall

University of Oregon



[I]n too many instances there is seemingly no rigorous conceptual framework at all to guide the activities of teachers and supervisors who are trying to create something worthwhile together: I feel stressed by the seemingly random motions of so many hardworking educators…[I]t is hard not to have one's blood curdled by the general absence of unity and coordination and efficiency and communication that characterizes contemporary efforts at constructive change. -- Robert Goldhammer.

In: Goldhammer, R. (1969). Clinical supervision: Special methods for the supervision of teachers. NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, pp. 304-305.




  1. Beginning teachers struggle with classroom management and motivating students to learn (Veenman).

  2. Instruction emphasizes lower-cognitive outcomes rather than higher-cognitive outcomes (Sirotnik).

  3. There is little variety in teaching methods (Sirotnik).

  4. Teachers think in terms of activities rather than learning outcomes (Clark).

  5. Innovations in instruction are poorly implemented (cooperative learning study; new math/science curriculum studies; technology studies).

  6. Individual differences among students are poorly accommodated (documentation?)



  1. Program designs do not correspond to the instructional models that they expect teachers to use in the classroom.

  2. At the university, there is nearly exclusive reliance on a course model for instructional delivery. Courses are predicated on the notion of technical rationality (Argyris & Schon's term), which assumes that teachers will be able to convert theory and research directly into practice.

  3. Field experiences are poorly coordinated with university coursework; and university courses are poorly coordinated with each other.

  4. Instructors&emdash;rather than curriculum design&emdash;dictate the curriculum.

  5. Program design is presented as a series of courses and experiences rather than as a conceptual map that displays the core understandings and skills that teachers will learn in the program.

  6. The relationship between general teacher education and curriculum-specific teacher education is not well-articulated.

  7. Institutional memory is weak, making it is difficult to sustain and improve program design across time.



  1. The program core will emphasize training teachers in a model that maximizes curriculum-instruction-assessment alignment.

  2. The program core will emphasize training teachers to maximize use of data on student learning to drive instructional decisions.

  3. The program core will in emphasize training teachers to maximize accommodation of individual student differences.

  4. The program's design will follow the above three principles. In other words, the program will practice what it preaches: It will maximize curriculum-instruction-assessment alignment; use of data to continuously improve the program; and accommodation of individual teacher differences.






  1. Skill in curriculum analysis (ability to analyze the curriculum into facts, concepts, principles, attitudes, intellectual operations)

  2. Skill in designing assessments based on curriculum analysis

  3. Skill in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment

  4. Skill in aligning classroom curriculum with state and national standards

  5. Skill in creating and selecting curriculum materials

  6. Skill in motivating students to learn

  7. Skill in classroom management and discipline

  8. Skill in instructional methods

  9. Skill in accommodating individual differences among students



To be based on principles drawn from:

  1. Situated learning theory

  2. Action science

  3. Cognitive psychology

  4. Project-based learning

  5. Adult learning theory

  6. Critical pedagogy



TSPC mandates certain forms of assessment: tests (CBEST, Praxis, MSAT), field-experience checklist, and work sample.

In addition, there will be performance assessment having these features:

  1. alignment with curriculum analysis of the program

  2. assessment of teachers' ability to both design and perform instruction

  3. use of scoring guides to grade teacher performance

  4. use of assessment results within a mastery learning model (i.e., teachers can retake assessments until mastery is achieved)

  5. incorporation of relevant features of the NBPTS assessment approach



Teachers will learn about:

  1. alternative models of schooling and the principles of curriculum, instruction, and assessment that they embody.

  2. theory, approaches to inquiry, and knowledge generated by foundational disciplines (e.g., history, philosophy, psychology) and how they can inform educational practice 



The program will use action science to make continuous improvements. The key features of action science are:

  1. developing explicit statements of "espoused theory" about teacher education

  2. collecting and analyzing data about program delivery and performance-assessment results to determine whether "theory-in-practice" corresponds to "espoused theory"

  3. conducting experiments to determine the effectiveness of program innovations and modifications

  4. making continuous scans of schools and the research literature to identify problems and promising developments