A new model for teacher training at South Dakota public universities would involve teacher education students in three years of coursework on campus, based on the new Common Core Standards, followed by a full year of residency in a school setting.
The Education Discipline Council, a group of education deans and other experts in teacher training who represent the five public universities with teacher education programs in South Dakota, made the recommendation in a report to the state Board of Regents this week.
Rick Melmer, dean of education at The University of South Dakota, said it is increasingly clear that teacher education should offer students more opportunities to engage in field-based experiences within the classroom. Traditional models of training have required teacher education candidates to spend a semester student teaching before they graduate and move into the profession.
"While there may be some exceptions for certain programs, we believe this new 'three-plus-one' model holds real promise for improving the quality and content of teacher education and strengthening connections to our elementary and secondary schools across South Dakota," Melmer said.
Melmer said the goal also is to achieve this redesign within the parameters of the Board of Regents' new standard of 120 credit hours for most bachelor-degree programs.
A suggested timeline calls for the 2012-13 academic year to serve as planning time to implement the redesigned teacher education programs. While some changes may come online in 2013-14, others may take a year longer to implement. Melmer said it will take a full-campus effort by all involved to make the redesign relevant and successful.