Teacher Education in Top Tier Liberal Arts Colleges
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Should secondary teacher certification programs only provide content specific pedagogy courses or is there a benefit to methods courses delivered from a liberal arts perspective? The pressure to create secondary teacher certification programs that have subject specific content methods courses comes from multiple sources. Teacher preparation programs respond to an increasing number of standards from federal legislation, national organizations, and state departments of education. The call for Highly Qualified Teachers in the No Child Left Behind federal legislation could be interpreted as supporting a move towards content specific pedagogy. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards seems poised to support content specific pedagogy, all though the present standards are easily met by either general methods or content specific methods courses. Some state standards explicitly call for content specific methods courses. What does this mean for programs that seek to maintain liberal arts approaches in the context of teacher preparation? Are liberal arts colleges bending to the pressure for reform that does not claim to be research driven, or can students who enroll in teacher certification programs at liberal arts colleges expect liberal arts training. Attending a liberal arts college to become an educator one cannot assume that after all requirements are fulfilled the teaching candidate will be liberally trained. This study examines the practices of nationally ranked liberal arts colleges in the field of teacher education. Are the best liberal arts institutions in the country in fact educating teachers liberally?