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Teach for America has altered the landscape of teacher preparation across the country. Typically TFA recruits, as they are commonly known, are given provisional certifications and put into classrooms after taking a short training course. They then take university courses to learn to be a teacher. Learning to be a teacher while already being one poses unique challenges.

My guest today is Matthew Thomas, a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Education and Sociology of Education at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. He has taught TFA teachers in the past and currently researches the topic. Together with Elisabeth Lefebvre, Matthew has a forthcoming co-written article in Teachers College Record that examines the phenomenon of what they call synchronous-service teacher training.

Citation: Thomas, Matthew A.M., interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 163, podcast audio, July 15, 2019.https://www.freshedpodcast.com/thomas/

Transcript, Translation, Resources:

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How do teachers learn to teach? My guests today, Maria Teresa Tatto and Ian Menter, discuss the many paths to become a teacher in England and the USA and the policy environment that is shaping current practice.

Learning to be a teacher, they argue, requires much more than simply having a lot of content knowledge. Just because you may know math really well does not mean that you would be a good math teach. Teaching is a skill that must be systematically learned and practiced.

Together with Katharine Burn, Trevor Mutton, and Ian Thompson, Teresa and Ian have a new co-written book entitled Learning to Teach in England and the United States: The Evolution of Policy and Practice, which was published by Routledge earlier this year.

Maria Teresa Tatto is Professor in the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University, and the Southwest Borderlands Professor of Comparative Education at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Ian Menter is Emeritus Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.