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American Educator, v35 n2 p6-12 Sum 2011

For at least a half century, education reformers have quipped that 120th Street in New York City, the street that separates Teachers College from the rest of Columbia University, is the widest street in the world. Underlying this quip is the belief that Columbia's liberal arts faculty members regularly dismiss the child-centered educational methods promoted by their colleagues at Teachers College as at best misguided and at worst anti-intellectual. In turn, professors at Teachers College routinely denounce their liberal arts colleagues as musty traditionalists who fail to recognize that most elementary and secondary students in American schools find discipline-based education useless and irrelevant to their lives. And for more than a century, teacher educators and their colleagues in the liberal arts have failed to collaborate in linking two of the most vital aspects of the instructional experience--subject matter and pedagogy. Today, however, with the movement toward a common core curriculum and the growing influence of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in schools and colleges of education, there is a new and exciting opportunity to span the subject matter and methods divide. Realizing this opportunity will take a great deal of work, long-term commitments, and lots of goodwill. But if the last century of failed unilateral reforms teaches people anything, it is that both sides need each other and that even the widest street in the educational world can be bridged if colleagues on both sides agree to meet each other halfway. (Contains 40 endnotes.)

Descriptors: Schools of Education, Core Curriculum, Liberal Arts, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Educational Methods, Educational History, Educational Philosophy, Educational Objectives, Intellectual History, Educational Development, Teacher Education, Elementary Secondary Education

American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail: amered[at]; Web site:

Autor: Mirel, Jeffrey


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