Teacher Education

Teacher education is evolving and developing into a profession in itself. It is an important area in which the trainer is getting trained. And it is important, as these are the people who will spend maximum time with the young generation during their formative years.

Teacher education could be synonymous with teacher training and teacher development, but there is also a marked difference between the two. Basically, teacher education is a program that trains graduates to work in schools as teachers. It is a process or a course that an aspiring teacher has to undergo before she can get into the profession. Here, she receives training and educational information that will tell her how to impart the knowledge she has to the students. The course is an essential prerequisite, and the would-be teacher will attend lessons and lectures, and learn theories and new developments in the profession. She will get comprehensive training in material preparation for classes, methodologies, evaluation processes and standards, curriculum development and management of classrooms.

Almost all major universities in the United States of America offer graduate programs in teacher education and training. These courses include comprehensive studies and research on not only the major subjects of the student, but also methods of imparting information to schoolchildren in the best possible way. Columbia University, for example, has one of the largest training colleges for teacher education in America. They focus not just on training teachers for schools, but also at evolving a new generation of leaders who understand education in the broadest possible sense of the word.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education sets the standards for quality teacher education in the United States of America. This council is responsible for the accreditation of schools and colleges in the country, and ensures that only professionals with integrity and knowledge reach the students. Started in 1951, the council sees to it that the accredited schools maintain specific minimum standards in the quality of education as well as quality of teachers.

Your Kids Need Modern Teacher-Educators, Not Teacher-Dictators (10 Distinguishing Traits)

In a separate article, titled “Is Your Child Learning For School Or For Life?”, I explain why I believe every parent needs to emphasize for his/her child, the acquisition of knowledge/skills that will enhance the child’s ability to succeed in the real world, OVER mere academic ability.

The traditional educational institutions of old (which were mainly geared towards feeding industries with employees), had teachers concentrate on “moulding” learners to meet employers’ requirements.

Teaching methods were generally rigid and rote learning was emphasized – with dire consequences for learners who did not have the “stomach” for it. One notable example which proved the inefficacy of that approach was Albert Einstein, whose failure to demonstrate “learning” competently via memorization made teachers call him “dull-witted”. How ironic, considering that today, the same person is regarded as one of the greatest minds that ever lived.

Incidentally, Einstein did have a few things to say himself about the “Old School” teaching method. Reports have it that once, when asked the question “What is the speed of sound?” by a reporter, Einstein replied: “I don’t know. I don’t carry information in my mind that is readily available in books“. THAT answer in my opinion effectively makes the case for exploration/use of other learning methods outside rote memorization etc.

Some Of Today’s Teachers Still Use “Old School” Methods

Thankfully, over the years educationists gradually realised that the instincts of learners needed to be allowed to play a more influential/leading role in the learning process. Schools consequently adopted new approaches (like Montessori etc) which allowed children freedom to explore and learn by discovery, experimentation through play etc. This change in approach has generally resulted in more long lasting and qualitative learning experiences.

However, despite all the progress that has been made, and the awareness created/reforms adopted, some (presumably) modern day teachers with us today, continue to employ obsolete and inefficient teaching methods from the past in their classes. In the process, their learners are being short-changed on a daily basis.

The difference between old, traditional methods and the modern approaches being advocated has to do mainly with the style of teaching employed by the teacher. To put it another way, the type of teacher determines the type of teaching/learning situation that is created.

Differentiating Between A “Teacher-Educator” And A “Teacher-Dictator”

In my assessment, the foregoing make it important to identify the characteristics of the two main types of “teachers'” I have referred to. This is so as to guide parents/decision makers and even teachers to ensure the RIGHT teaching behaviour is employed at all times. This will ultimately help to create the right learning situation, thereby producing the desired learning output.

Below I offer bullet point descriptions of what I consider distinguishing attributes of the “Teacher-Dictator” (or Traditional Old School Style Teacher) as compared to those of the Modern Teacher who I like to call a “Teacher-Educator”.

Important: Please note that even though I have used these two broad categories/groupings of teacher “types”, in real-life there will be cases of individuals who exhibit traits from BOTH sides of the divide. What is essential is that a person involved in teaching in today’s world be encouraged, to strive to exhibit MORE “Teacher-Educator” traits. This “style” has greater potential to EMPOWER learners to derive life-long benefits from their formal learning experiences.

Acronyms: For convenience/ease of comparison, I have used an acronym to reprensent each teaching style, so that the contrasting traits can be reviewed side by side.

a. The Traditional/”Old School” Style Teacher(Teacher Dictator) = TOSST

b. The 21st Century or MODERN “Teacher-Educator” = MODTE

TOSST – Trait 1. Very often TELLS (but seldom SHOWS practically) the learner how to do something.

MODTE – Trait 1. Frequently helps the learner to “Learn By Discovery” (guiding by example as necessary). Encourages use of natural learning instincts.

TOSST – Trait 2. Is often more concerned about presenting him/herself as the final authority/source of knowledge to the learners.

MODTE – Trait 2. Typically offers him/herself as a guide/coach/mentor who will point out possible directions for the learner to follow on the path to self-discovery.

TOSST – Trait 3. Frequently inadvertently makes (or wants!) leaner to remain dependent on him/her.

MODTE – Trait 3. Will be “popular” for empowering learners to be independent in thinking/actions from him/her.

TOSST – Trait 4. Sometimes recycles teaching aids/materials used, to the point that learners sometimes correctly predict likely “content” to be delivered.

MODTE – Trait 4. Continually exploring new areas of thinking/development as they occur, with a view to discovering better ways to achieve the results desired by his/her learners. There’s always something new/refreshing to learn from him/her.

TOSST – Trait 5. Not inclined towards formal self-development efforts to improve his/her competence. Often feels what s/he already knows will always be more than enough for the learners.

MODTE – Trait 5. Vigorously pursues Self-Development opportunities to acquire new/useful additional KAS (i.e. Knowledge, Attitudes & Skills) to deliver better value to learners.

TOSST – Trait 6. Often more concerned about being part of a teacher-group, and expressing similar ideas to its members.

MODTE – Trait 6. Values his/her independence in deciding what to do to help the learners – even as s/he abides by set rules/seeks input from colleagues to improve quality of learning delivered. Places emphasis on freedom to express his/her own ideas/convictions, and pursue them.

TOSST – Trait 7. Often not comfortable with learners who demonstrate keen desire to explore beyond what s/he has taught or is prepared to teach.

MODTE – Trait 7. Derives great satisfaction from seeing learners demonstrate improved competence based on “discovered” learning achieved via self-directed efforts in their spare time.

TOSST – Trait 8. Tends to emphasise theoretical concepts and classroom based situations. Spares little thought for showing learners how the what they learn can be usefully applied in the real world.

MODTE – Trait 8. Keen to make learning real-world relevant. Helps learners relate knowledge acquired to its application in the real world (E.g. What can we use an understanding of compound interest for in life? How does the nitrogen cycle sustain aquatic life?). This way, learners are better prepared to apply their knowledge PROFITABLY to productive purposes in life.

TOSST – Trait 9. Generally believes that his/her job ends in the classroom and that whatever the learners do outside of it is unlikely to require his/her attention or action.

MODTE – Trait 9. Demonstrates passion for “educating” others around (colleagues, parents etc) about how they can contribute to improving the learning experience for his/her pupils/students etc.

TOSST – Trait 10. Products(learners) turned out often display undue penchant for “rote” learning, with seeming aversion for independent self-expression, and creative thinking.

MODTE – Trait 10.Products(learners) turned out tend to be creative, and independent-minded thinkers – often expressing original ideas with passion, and pursuing self-improvement with enthusiasm.

Summary

Decision makers in educational institutions – especially those engaged in provision of early education for young children – in my opinion need to ensure their teachers employ the “Teacher-Educator” style as frequently as possible, if not at all times. The benefits (outlined above) accruable to the children, and the school itself (in terms of quality of learning performances the kids deliver ) strongly suggest there is wisdom in doing this.

Parents will also want to regularly discuss “school/class work” with their kids and possibly make out time to interact with their kids’ teachers to get a feel for the teaching style favoured by the latter. If necessary, they could then gently request needed modifications in the teacher’s approach or work with the kids at home to make up for any shortcomings they identify.

What is most crucial is that learning experiences be made as pleasurable/rewarding as possible for our kids. When they find joy in learning, their desire to continually seek new learning as they grow into adulthood will never diminish. They will, as a result, be able to explore/discover their full potentials over time to the ultimate benefit of the larger society.

FINAL WORDS: It goes without saying that all I have advocated in the article is my personal opinion, and you would be well advised to seek the counsel of competent persons in deciding what line of action to pursue.

Online Training Options For Education (Teacher Education) Careers

A broad range of careers and training options are available to students that pursue a degree in teacher education. Depending on career goals students can enter numerous online schools that offer education training. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available based on what age group students want to teach.

The concept of formal education has been utilized to help students obtain detailed knowledge on various subjects. Online training serves in this capacity not only for students to learn but to help them educate others upon graduation. Education careers can be sought out by training to be a general, adult, secondary, special, and elementary educator. Online education at the undergraduate level prepares students in several ways.

*Associate’s Degree

The online aspect of training allows students to complete courses from anywhere while preparing them for a full-time career after graduation. While the standard educational requirement for teaching is a bachelor’s degree students that want to work in the education system can complete an associate’s degree. Concentrations can be taken in areas like secondary, elementary, and special education. Areas studied may include child development, social science, special needs children, and much more. Becoming a paraprofessional or teacher’s assistant are some main career paths students can take.

*Bachelor’s Degree

Students can pursue a teaching degree online at several schools that offer training to become a teacher. Training prepares students to gain their licensure for teaching, which is required in all 50 states. Students can complete specific programs to teach students at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. This is typically referred to as kindergarten through sixth grade, sixth through eighth grade, or ninth through twelfth grade. Inside schooling, students also choose their major by age group and subject. For example, students wanting to teach elementary English would pursue their degree in that concentration.

Further education at the graduate degree level is for students that want to broaden their knowledge for the job they have or move into higher education. Students complete a training program where they apply their knowledge to the collegiate level of teaching.

*Master’s Degree

Teaching courses give students advanced knowledge that is applied to their chosen subject like English or mathematics. The different methods and assessment procedures are examined to prepare students to become more advanced educators. Curriculum theory, educational technology, and sociology are some program topics explored in a master’s degree program.

*Doctorate Degree

Most students pursuing a doctorate degree do so to become professors at universities and colleges. Other students may want to transition into careers as school administrators or policy creators. When working towards becoming a professor, education dives deep into the theories and sources of a subject. When becoming a school administrator students study education policy and ethics.

Students that dedicate the needed amount of time to complete an accredited online degree can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. Choosing an age group and subject to teach will narrow down the possible training options allowing students to begin their education. Gaining the best quality education can be done by enrolling in a teaching program that is accredited by agencies like the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education ( http://www.ncate.org ). These agencies are approved to fully accredit online schools that offer the best education possible.