An Introduction To Teacher Education

A teacher’s job is a highly respected and specialized field, be it teaching kindergarten, grade school, high school, college, or post-graduate courses. Teachers are necessary in all fields of education, and in order to be teachers themselves, they need to be educated by experts in their desired fields.

Teacher education is a diverse field, covering numerous subjects and various methods of teaching. Teaching in any field is demanding and is a challenging task. Beyond regular education, some people choose to follow specialized paths, such as early childhood education or special education. These teachers need extra educational background in order to be certified to deal with their specific students. These teachers need to have extensive patience and be friendly with toddlers. Innovative play way methods need to be adopted to ensure continuing interest among kids.

Another specialized educational field is Montessori teaching. This style of teaching appears to be simple, but in reality, it is highly demanding. As this is a specific style of teaching, aimed at gifted or advanced students, with a degree of flexibility and customization not found in traditional curriculums, teachers will need to learn the best ways to work within the Montessori structure, and apply their educational background to this style of teaching.

Elementary or primary school is the backbone for all people’s education. Thus, these teachers have to be able to convey basic principles, such as reading, spelling, writing and math, as well as cover basic science, social studies, and sometimes foreign language courses. Of course, all of this has to be taught in an age-appropriate fashion. Elementary teacher education focuses on methods that work best for young students.

High school teachers face challenges elementary school teachers usually do not. Because they teach teenagers who are dealing with the issues of adolescence and can often “act out,” teachers need to learn how to engage and motivate this difficult age group. Subjects are taught in greater depth in high school, as well, so the teacher will need more specific knowledge. They also sometimes have to be ready to compensate for any gaps in elementary education, particularly deficiencies in the basics – reading, writing and math.

Ultimately, the goal of teacher education is to provide future teachers – or teachers looking to further develop their teaching ability – with the skills they need to convey essential information to their students. The training they will require depends on many factors, including the age group, subjects, and type of school they will be teaching in.

Advancing Your Skills: Online Teacher Education Courses

If you are looking to enhance your teaching and advance your career, it may be a great choice for you to earn graduate credit for teachers. High quality, graduate-level online teacher education courses are a great alternative to the traditional classroom atmosphere. We all know that teachers are busier than ever, but with online classes, it is easy for teachers to fit time in their schedules. Online courses are easily accessible and will make your time learning fly by! The benefits are also incredible: enjoy fun and flexible learning while earning graduate credit that will allow you to move farther in your career. The online teacher education courses will inform you on different strategies and resources to utilize directly into your own classroom. You will not be the only one to benefit from this opportunity. Your students will learn better, your school will gain reputation and your school district will be recognized for improved instruction and student outcomes. All of these results will help increase your chance of a higher salary and a more rewarding career experience.

There is sometimes a misunderstanding that online classes are not interactive since you are not face to face with other people. However, that is not the case at all. Most, if not all, online courses offer the option of online discussion boards so that you can be in constant contact with other colleagues to discuss ideas, problems, and questions regarding your programs of study. Additionally, you receive one on one recommendations and criticism from your professor. When choosing this program, you really are getting the best of both worlds since you can be at home in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere while at the same time learning material that will prove beneficial in leading to greater opportunities for your future career.

Online teacher certification courses are also developed and taught by highly qualified professors. You will definitely not be caught up in a scam when you choose to enroll. Most universities are now offering online programs because of their convenience, practicality and interactivity. Graduate credit for teachers can be achieved during your own time, with even the degree programs being flexible. In fact, the only face-to-face requirements are the field experiences in your subject and/or grade specialization. To make things even easier, this can be conveniently arranged and completed in a school near you, so that travel time is minimal. The programs are also very practical because you are provided with the tools to lead curricular advancements and instructional improvements, in any subject area of your choice.

During these tough economic times, alternative options to traditional graduate programs must be considered. The advantages of online teacher education courses are evident. They provide a quality education while minimizing costs and travel. Additionally, taking these courses will provide the foundation for a strong teaching background and provide a unique perspective on teaching. Teaching certifications and graduate credit provided by these programs make them a viable option. If you are looking to advance your teaching career today, consider the endless opportunities that these online programs will provide.

Researching Teacher Education and Training in England (Key Ethical and Methodological Concerns)

The present teacher education and training environment in England is characterised by schools and university partnerships and school-based only frameworks. There are however an increasing body of ‘independent’ teacher education providers. Out of this ‘new’ thinking has emerged labels and entities such as School Direct, Teach First, Troops to Teachers and School-Centred Initial Teacher Training.

This occurrence suggests that increasingly, research in teacher education and training is being carried out in a variety of schools’ contexts. This also provides researchers with a larger ‘ground’ in which to work and a diverse array of potential respondents and participants.

While there is always a ‘downside’ some may argue that the positives (such as the potential for ‘rich data’ and increased understanding of teacher education and training issue based on a wider pool of participants) out-weight the potential negatives–some are highlighted later in this article. Additionally, the highlighted negatives are also preventable with proper understanding and application of research knowledge and procedures. However, given this ‘new’ environment here are a few ethical and methodological concerns that I see as key.

Key Ethical Concerns

Increase in the pool of research participants and places means potentially, there is an increase in the number of people who can be negatively affected. This therefore lends importance to the need to promise and maintain both confidentiality and anonymity and for researchers to be vigilant in these matters.

A lapse in confidentiality and anonymity can have adverse effects on participants, bring the researcher and her or his affiliate University into disrepute and impact negatively relations between University, partnering schools and sometimes Local Educational Authority. On the extreme end of the spectrum of negative effects, a lapse in confidentiality and anonymity could lead to Job loss, or participants being ostracized especially when the research involves sensitive issues such as race, diversity, social Justice or culture.

It is my practice – where possible- to omit names and places in my research reports. However, if these are integral to your study they should only be included after obtaining appropriate consent from potential participants. The use of pseudonyms to conceal identities is a long-standing practice among researchers and continue to aid in achieving anonymity. Additionally, confidential information about children or staff should never be disclosed at any cost.

Other ethical issues which are akin to confidentiality and anonymity is openness, honesty and autonomy. As a researcher I always inform key people in the school and assure participants of their rights to withdraw from the researcher at any time, should they wish to do so, without fear of being penalised.

It is my opinion that if these ethical issues are not carefully attended to, they may lead to less than complete and honest responses from research participants which brings into question the research findings and conclusions.

Key Methodological/Procedural Concerns

The ‘new’ environment with its wide and diverse array of potential respondents and participants provides researchers with an enlarged participant pool from which to draw. This fact suggests the need for caution and care in selecting participants for your research. Participants must be ‘information rich’. Guba and Lincoln (1998) define ‘information rich’ participants as those who are able to provide insight into the issues being researched. It is worth stating here that inappropriate participants will affect the accuracy of the conclusions you draw and the potential impact your study could have.

The other key methodological or procedural concern is the need for a clearly defined research problem. In fact, getting this right, not only helps in selecting ‘information rich’ participants, but aid university based researchers to explain to potential respondents or participants in partnering schools the research focus and guides researchers’ actions and thoughts. Additionally, a clearly defined research problem also helps to determine an appropriate research framework or procedure (e.g. Biographical, Ethnographic, Phenomenological, or Applied Research) that could be used to solve a problem, data collection methods (Interview, survey, experimental) and data analysis approach (qualitative and/or quantitative)

So what have I said?

I said, key ethical concerns for researching teacher education in the ‘new’ teacher education environment in England are confidentiality and anonymity, openness, honesty and autonomy. Key methodological or procedural concerns are participants’ selection and clearly defined research problems. These are critical in light of the enlarged field of potential participant which emerges from the new environment.

Reference

Guba, E., G & Lincoln, Y., S. (1998). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In Denzin, N., K., & Lincoln, Y., S. The Landscape of qualitative research theories and Issues. Sage USA.