I've always been impressed by the six-year pre med/med school program my brother attended at UMKC. Students there are accepted out of high school into an intensive program that combines pre med with med school so that they end up receiving both degrees at the same time. Practically speaking this means that students theory and practice are interwoven through the six years.
Students of varying years are placed together in a team with a docent. They make rounds with their team and are given increasing responsibilities at the hospital as they further their studies. They start making rounds the first week of school. I remember my brother needing to buy a lot of ties!
❝Docents are responsible for their own docent unit, comprised of 10 to 12 students. Year 3 students join a new docent unit and have individual offices at either the medical school or St. Luke’s Hospital. Docent units include Years 3-6 students, a clinical pharmacologist, an education team coordinator, a docent and other health care professionals.❞
We can implement quite a few of these into a strong teacher education program.
Get them into the classroom
Just like in my previous post, I believe students studying education need to be in the classroom right away. I love how the pre-med students were in the hospital making rounds their first week of college. What a great motivation! Integrating theory becomes so much easier when they see and experience teaching from the beginning.
Put them into teams
Teaching is no longer the isolated profession it used to be (or at least shouldn't be). Learning from each other and learning how to work with each other should be part of the culture.
Strengthen their academics
Truman University has experimented with requiring their education students to get their bachelor's in their content area or, for elementary ed students, in a related field like psychology and then get a master's in education. The students plan the program from the start as many of their undergraduate electives need to be education classes, especially elementary ed. I know that combining undergrad and grad isn't the answer for every program, but I do know that strengthening the academics overall is key.