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Using Problem-Based Learning in Teacher Preparation to Address National Content Standards
Unformatted Document Text:  collaboration to resolve a “real world” problem. Students in this course were initially engaged in a problem through a request by a district superintendent to assist in the design of a new middle school in the district. Students conducted needs assessment surveys among various stakeholders including local businesses, parents, teachers, and students. After conducting considerable research, students developed a web site and slideshow that were presented to the district’s school board at a regularly scheduled meeting. The presentation was so well received that one of the local school principals distributed job applications to each of the presenting teacher candidates. This paper addresses the following three key questions in Strand I: • What teaching skills and strategies are necessary to successfully prepare a cognitively, culturally, and linguistically diverse student population for the future, and how do we teach these skills and strategies to teacher candidates? • How can schools, colleges, and departments of education prepare teachers to meet the needs of the growing diversity of students and respond to public mandates affecting P-12 and higher education, such as the standards mandated by NCLB, the states, and other entities? • How can we influence the accountability agenda to increase the types of assessment used and to broaden their scope to reach beyond the traditional 3Rs? D. Relevance: Using qualitative or quantitative evidence to inform policy or practice This paper uses qualitative action research to demonstrate the effectiveness of engaging pre-service teachers in learning experiences that model best practice. Prospective teachers explain the outcomes of their experience in terms that identify academic achievement as something other than earning high scores on a test. Successful (exemplary) practices In this case study, prospective teachers demonstrated a deepened understanding of designing evidenced-based curriculum through opportunities to conduct action research. In this process, teacher candidates participated fully as group citizens, worked independently from professor instruction, set goals and made internal deadlines, helped refine organizational skills, engaged in healthy competition, and came to believe that their collective efforts made a difference in their preparation. E. Implication for Action: A synthesis of student outcomes provides some conclusive documentation for reasons to continue to use problem-based learning in teacher preparation. Reflective comments from students involved in the project read as follows: • "Rather than covering all topics somewhat superficially, this project allowsed us to delve into one area in more depth." • "It exposed us to more research that enabled us to more fully appreciate the issues at hand. We look to our fellow classmates to prepare us adequately through their work on the topic that was not ours to develop." • "We had to work for an extended period in a group and work out issues. Often times, having to work in class as a group for just one class period, issues never come up because the time is brief. Long-term groups allowed us to be better group citizens and prepared us for actual team membership when we assume teaching positions in real middle schools." • "We had to work independently rather than rely on the teacher to tell us what to do. It required us to set goals and deadlines internally and refine our organizational skills

Authors: Warner, Mark.
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collaboration to resolve a “real world” problem. Students in this course were initially engaged in a
problem through a request by a district superintendent to assist in the design of a new middle
school in the district. Students conducted needs assessment surveys among various
stakeholders including local businesses, parents, teachers, and students. After conducting
considerable research, students developed a web site and slideshow that were presented to the
district’s school board at a regularly scheduled meeting. The presentation was so well received
that one of the local school principals distributed job applications to each of the presenting
teacher candidates.
This paper addresses the following three key questions in Strand I:
What teaching skills and strategies are necessary to successfully prepare a cognitively,
culturally, and linguistically diverse student population for the future, and how do we
teach these skills and strategies to teacher candidates?
How can schools, colleges, and departments of education prepare teachers to meet the
needs of the growing diversity of students and respond to public mandates affecting P-12
and higher education, such as the standards mandated by NCLB, the states, and other
entities?
How can we influence the accountability agenda to increase the types of assessment
used and to broaden their scope to reach beyond the traditional 3Rs?
D. Relevance:
Using qualitative or quantitative evidence to inform policy or practice
This paper uses qualitative action research to demonstrate the effectiveness of engaging pre-
service teachers in learning experiences that model best practice. Prospective teachers explain
the outcomes of their experience in terms that identify academic achievement as something other
than earning high scores on a test.
Successful (exemplary) practices
In this case study, prospective teachers demonstrated a deepened understanding of designing
evidenced-based curriculum through opportunities to conduct action research. In this process,
teacher candidates participated fully as group citizens, worked independently from professor
instruction, set goals and made internal deadlines, helped refine organizational skills, engaged in
healthy competition, and came to believe that their collective efforts made a difference in their
preparation.
E.
Implication for Action:
A synthesis of student outcomes provides some conclusive documentation for reasons to
continue to use problem-based learning in teacher preparation. Reflective comments from
students involved in the project read as follows:
"Rather than covering all topics somewhat superficially, this project
allowsed us to delve into one area in more depth."
"It exposed us to more research that enabled us to more fully appreciate the issues at
hand. We look to our fellow classmates to prepare us adequately through their work on
the topic that was not ours to develop."
"We had to work for an extended period in a group and work out issues. Often times,
having to work in class as a group for just one class period, issues never come up
because the time is brief. Long-term groups allowed us to be better group citizens and
prepared us for actual team membership when we assume teaching positions in real
middle schools."
"We had to work independently rather than rely on the teacher to tell us what to do. It
required us to set goals and deadlines internally and refine our organizational skills


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