May 22, 2008

New Teachers: 'I wasn't prepared for the challenges of teaching in a diverse classroom.'

Public Agenda and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality today released research that points to two specific areas where teacher training may be lacking, according to rookie teachers in the trenches and fresh from training: preparedness for the diversity of the contemporary American classroom and teaching students with special needs.

Seventy-six percent of new teachers said that teaching an ethnically diverse student body was covered in their training. But only 39 percent say that their training in this area helps them a lot now that they are in the classroom, which puts their evaluation of the effectiveness of this aspect of their training near the bottom of the list of subjects the new teachers had studied. The survey covered 12 areas of teacher training ranging from direct instruction to their study of history, philosophy and policy debates in public education. No other factor examined in the Public Agenda research showed nearly as great a gap between how many received training in a given area and new teachers' assessments of the effectiveness of said training.

The entire "Lessons Learned: New Teachers Talk About Their Jobs, Challenges and Long-Term Plans" series is online at: www.publicagenda.org/LessonsLearned.

Public Agenda is a nonprofit organization dedicated to nonpartisan public policy research and civic engagement. - PR Newswire

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