In the current standards movement in the US, all institutions housing a school of education are facing the challenges to be nationally recognized by addressing a set of standards by major national accrediting bodies such as NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teaching Education). While the rigorous NCATE Standards set high expectations for teacher education programs which presumably will lead to stronger teacher education programs in the US, the process of earning national recognition is a challenging one that requires collaboration and creativity from all sides of the university. In the research area, while very limited studies exist examining the strengths and weaknesses of the established national standards and explore the relations between national accreditation and the quality of programs (e.g., Newman & Hanauer, 2005; Warner, 1993), there is little known about the specific efforts and struggles accompanying the accreditation process. An exploration focusing on the details of the process may contribute to a more in-depth understanding of the accreditation phenomenon.
This article reports on a self-study to examine the struggle experienced at a medium size, comprehensive university in the US in an effort to address the requirement for national accreditation to strengthen its teacher education program. Using its foreign language education program as a case, it explores critical accreditation issues related to intradepartmental collaboration, acquisition and assessment of content and pedagogical knowledge of teacher candidates, and the support or lack of support from the accrediting body. While the study identifies and analyzes factors leading to a more successful foreign language education program, it also reveals challenges and frustrations that teacher education programs inevitably have to face in the standards movement. The findings of the study provide insights into the multi facets of the current phenomenon of national accreditation of teacher education programs in the United States.
|Keywords:||Teacher Education, Collaboration, Higher Education, Educational Reform, National Accreditation, Language Teachers, Standards, Oral Language, Language Proficiency, Program Evaluation|
Department Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ, USA
Assitant Professor, Department of Foreign Language Studies, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ, USA
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