by Claire Miller
Clinical teacher education can only be carried out effectively with a strong professional development schools network, according to Chara Bohan, associate professor in the COE’s Department of Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology, and Joyce Many, COE associate dean for academic programs.
COE faculty and staff at Georgia State University have worked side by side with K-12 schools and universities in the metro-Atlanta area as part of its Professional Development Schools (PDS) network.
PDS at Georgia State University had initial support through a five-year, $6.1 million Teacher Quality Enhancement grant, and the current network of schools is funded by a $13 million Teacher Quality Partnership grant. These school-university partnerships allow those involved to share current research, professional development opportunities for new and veteran teachers and strategies to improve student achievement.
This network is the subject of Clinical Teacher Education: Reflections from an Urban Professional Development School Network, a new book written and edited by Bohan and Many, that highlights the strengths and challenges of a PDS network and its impact on urban schools in Atlanta.
“We knew there were so many good things that came out of this grant,” Many said. “We wanted to highlight the unique features of the PDS network.”
The COE’s PDS network operates on a broader scale than most universities use, incorporating schools in six Atlanta-area counties plus two colleges in its scope, she said. It also brings together faculty from all six departments in the COE and encourages researchers to take an active role in teacher education and training.
Bohan and Many also collaborated with several college faculty on the book, including Mary Ariail, Gwen Benson, William Curlette, Julie Dangel, Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Joe Feinberg, Teresa Fisher, Susan Ogletree, Laura Smith, Susan Swars, Dee Taylor and Brian Williams.
The authors met collectively and in individual chapter groups throughout the writing process to share their ideas and ensure the book felt cohesive, despite the numerous contributors.
“I remember sitting in coffee shops and restaurants talking with the other authors about how each of us would contribute so that the end result would be a seamless voice running throughout the book,” Bohan said. “One of the most interesting parts was working with the other chapter authors and finding out what the commonalities and differences were in our experiences in the schools.”
The end result is a nine-chapter, in-depth analysis of the college’s PDS network, which can serve as an example for other school districts and universities across the U.S. who want to work together to improve student achievement.
“I hope that in urban school systems throughout the nation – which are constantly under scrutiny – other administrators and teachers can read the book and get ideas on how to run and improve a PDS network,” Bohan said. “I learned a lot myself by being a participant, and it helped me work with teachers and schools. The more people who are working to help urban schools, the better off schools are going to be.”
For more information about the book, visit http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Clinical-Teacher-Education.