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Historians' role in teacher preparation: Personal and institutional factors that lead to their engagement in preparing future teachers
Watts, Eric Christopher
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Since the early 20th century, there has been a push to strengthen the connections between schools, colleges, and departments of education and the rest of the university, specifically the faculty from the arts and sciences (A&S). Due to various institutional and organizational barriers, the call for strong collaboration between A&S departments and schools of education has been unrealized; however, circumstances particular to certain colleges and universities have enabled partnerships to form and strong collaboration to exist. The involvement of faculty from the academic fields in preparing future teachers is essential; the academic fields provide both the general education that undergirds the preparation of teachers and the subject matter specialization which the candidate will use in teaching children and youth. As noted in <italic>Teacher Education for A Free People</italic> a half century ago, the academic fields also provide future teachers with "essential instructional content" and "an understanding of teaching as a concept " (Stratemeyer, 1958). Faculty who teach liberal studies - literature, science, the arts, mathematics, philosophy, history and the other social sciences - make major contributions to the education of teachers and, therefore, need to be engaged in all aspects of the teacher education program. This study identified three teacher education programs that exemplify high-levels of A&S faculty member involvement in teacher education, specifically the involvement of historians. Operating under the premise that historians are essential to preparing effective history teachers, historians at each of the three institutions that are engaged in preparing teachers were identified with the intent of understanding the personal and institutional factors that lead to their involvement. A multiple case study design was used to find common themes among each historian's experiences. Documents were collected and interviews and observations were conducted at each of the three institutions. Case reports were created for each of the three universities and a cross-case analysis was conducted. Findings reveal that a commitment to collaboration from the colleges of education, support from university and departmental leadership, and a commitment to improving public schools from the historians are significant factors that supported historian engagement in teacher preparation.