Good teaching standards are vital for maintaining and developing student’s progress. However, a recent report indicates that there is little consistency in the standards for literacy training across the nation, which raises concerns about relative performance between states.
The Preliminary Report on Teacher Preparation for Literacy Instruction, published by the International Literacy Association, is the first of two reports intended to investigate the preparation teachers receive to teach literacy and how state departments of education differ in their expectations. While this means that the results in this report are only a first look at the issue, the current picture is one of inconsistency and gaps in preparation.
One member of the study team, Dr. Angela Rutherford, notes in The Journal that “only 18 states require specific courses in literacy for elementary teacher candidates, and half the states did not require specific coursework in any of the licensure areas.”
Student teaching courses also do not have requirements for literacy teaching experience or any literacy practical work.
There are also currently no mechanisms for sharing best practices in literacy teaching nationally, nor are there any research-based guidelines that states can use as models for their requirements. While noting the limitations of the study, the team behind the study recommends beginning the conversation about literacy teaching standards as soon as possible, to help spread good practice.
Elizabeth Swaggerty, co-chair of the task force behind the report notes that “all stakeholders need to be involved in the conversation about how to improve preparation of preservice teachers to design and implement instruction that increases the literacy learning of children.”
Part two of the report will involve a more in-depth study. Additionally, the task force plans to interview officials, administrators, and professors from teacher education programs in every state, to find out how they react to and incorporate the guidelines of this preliminary report into their training courses.