Education cultures collided Thursday when Georgetown University’s Center for Intercultural Education & Development invited American Board Chief Executive Officer Shawn McCollough to lead a discussion on teacher certification with a group of 20 headmasters (principals) visiting from the Guangdong Province of China. McCollough was joined by American Board Chief Operating Officer Albert Chen.
Using an English-Mandarin interpreter, the group discussed American Board teacher certification – the process of recruiting teachers from outside professions to become teachers – a concept unheard of by the headmasters.
“We have a different way to get people to become teachers,” said McCollough. “It’s our belief that it’s better to get professionals in other fields… people with practical experience to be teachers because they have experiences that someone prepared in a teacher’s university doesn’t have.”
What I’m concerned with most is the lack of teaching experience said one of the headmasters through the interpreter.
McCollough replied, “As a former headmaster, what I found is I can prepare them (new teachers) with classroom management skills, but I can’t prepare them with strong engineering experiences or strong biochemical experiences… I can’t be an expert in all of the different content areas but I can be an expert in classroom management and instructional strategies.”
The American Board
The American Board is a state approved alternative teacher certification non profit that certifies career changers, substitute teachers, paraprofessionals and out-of-field teachers. Founded in 2001 via a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the American Board’s focus is building rural communities through education and employment. The American Board’s program allows highly-knowledgeable individuals from within their community to earn certification without additional class time, student teaching or state exams. The American Board’s goal is to improve the accessibility and affordability of certification to allow schools to hire highly-qualified teachers from within their community instead of importing teachers form out of state or over seas.
Contact Aaron Helmbrecht to arrange interviews with American Board staff.
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