Traditional approaches to teacher education are increasingly critiqued for their limited relationship to student teachers' needs and for their meager impact on practice. Many pleas are heard for a radical new and effective pedagogy of teacher education in which theory and practice are linked effectively. Although various attempts to restructure teacher education have been published, no coherent body of knowledge exists about central principles underlying teacher education programs that are responsive to the expectations, needs and practices of student teachers. By analyzing effective features of programs in Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands, this study contributes an initial framework of seven fundamental principles to guide the development of responsive teacher education programs that make a difference. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.