Teacher Education Programs

People who want to take up teaching as their career, profession and passion should definitely read some information about the kind of teacher education programs available in the country. It will help them choose their areas of interest and pursue a course suited to their dreams and aspirations.

Almost all universities in the United States of America offer graduate and undergraduate programs in teacher education. All the colleges and universities have definite goals and objectives for teacher education, and focus on molding quality teachers. Schools have laid down principles and philosophies to guide them in training leaders in education and contribute a great deal to shaping the young generation.

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD), offers minors, majors, graduate and undergraduate programs in education studies. The UCSD Education Studies (EDS) also offers M Ed, credential programs and doctoral degrees to certified teachers who want to further their careers and add to their knowledge base and skill sets. Their special programs include MA Deaf Education and M Ed Credential programs in multiple subjects. More information on admission and curriculum can be found at

[http://www-tep.ucsd.edu/].

The Harvard Graduate School of Education wants their graduates to have an impact in the schools and indirectly in the society. Their graduate programs include the Teaching and Curriculum (TAC) program and the Mid-Career Math and Science (MCMS) program. Undergraduate Teacher Education Program (UTEP) at the school has trained students for more than 15 years for K-12 schools. They aim at getting aspiring teachers to certify for teaching in public schools in the United States.

Central Washington University has teacher education programs for teachers of all age groups. Undergraduate programs include minors in Bilingual Education, Reading and Second Language English teaching, and majors in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education and Special Education. The Masters programs in the university comprises of Instructional Leadership, Special Education, Educational Administration and Reading Specialist.

The “New” Teacher Education Environment in England: Opportunities, Challenges and Implications

Schools and university partnerships and school-based only frameworks characterize the present teacher education and training environment in England. This new tapestry presents opportunities and challenges for those pursuing training in teaching and has implications for University Teacher Education Professional Tutors saddled with the task of guiding participants.

Opportunities for participants

There are a number of opportunities afforded to participants in this new teacher education and training environment. For example, they can work towards a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (Qualified Teacher Status) and a Master’s degree and study teaching in their preferred specialization (Secondary) or at a preferred level (Early Year Studies, Primary or Secondary). This new environment also affords participants the opportunity to: contribute to the ‘move’ to improve the education of young people from less privileged background; engage in research in education, more specific urban education; participate in university training which develops skills and knowledge in key teaching components for example curriculum development, education theory and practice and classroom management; spend time in school taking on real responsibilities from ‘day one’; attend summer sessions which enables the building of a network of like-minded people; develop skills of reflection-on-practice, portfolio development and reflective journaling techniques; develop transferable skills thus facilitating transitions from teaching to other careers; develop academic writing skills via assignments at PGCE and Master’s level and being paid during training along with the potential for additional financial support to off-set cost for travel to specific training sessions.

Challenges for participants

Given the new teacher education and training environment challenges for participants may include (but not limited to): demotivated students in regular schools and the need to raise their aspiration; students’ disruptive behaviours and addressing these; balancing various demands: administrative and other responsibilities (lunch and yard duty, meetings, detention and monitoring students during or after school, special parent meeting and reporting evenings); completing university and partners’ requirements; researching and writing at PGCE and Master’s level; interpersonal relational issues (mentor/trainees relationship) and deciding whether to address students’ non-learning needs.

Given these opportunities and challenges, ‘What are the implications for the University teacher education professional tutor saddled with the task of seeing the participants through to a successful completion?’

At the philosophical level, the university teacher education professional tutor needs to be clear about the mission, goals and policies of the programme and partnership existing between the university and schools allowing these to guide thoughts and actions.

At the ‘grass root’ level, the tutor should have current experience working in challenging learning environments to fully empathize with participants placed in such situations. It would be a ‘bonus’ if she or he had the experience of being, or working with the ‘student type’ represented in such challenging schools and is able to bring an ‘insiders’ perspective to bear on advice given to participants under her or his care. Being armed with experience and knowledge in reflective practice to effectively aid participants in this now integral area of teachers’ professional development and supporting researching in education and academic writing at master’s level and above is also critical.

The tutor should be familiar with appropriate strategies for addressing school students’ disruptive behaviours thus becoming an additional source of information for participants and how to motivate school students who have become demotivated.

The tutor is also required to give advice to participants on balancing various demands for example: prioritising workload; keeping a diary and saying ‘No’ to some school committee or steering group; give guidance on the issue of addressing students’ non learning-needs and use skills required to mediate between participants and school-based mentor when there has been a break down in professional relations.

Four Innovations To Adopt In Teacher Education Programs

Education reforms are currently sweeping many countries in the world. Teacher professional development fits into the larger educational reforms context as countries tune their educational systems to produce the 21st century skills required for a competitive workforce, social cohesion and individual growth, because ultimately teacher quality affects the quality of the education. This therefore suggests that it is imperative to have a teacher education program that is well planned to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. There has been a global call for change and transition in the structure, goals and organization of teacher education programs to emphasize continuous learning and introduction of professional development (PD) for teachers.

In this article I outline some of the innovations that can help to improve teacher education programs.

Clinical schools. These are important because prospective teachers need to be exposed to classroom experiences as much as possible in preparation to their career. They should be attached to universities offering teacher education programs, for prospective teachers to carry out practice so that as the teachers learn theory, they try out the skills. This suggests that schools and universities need to collaborate in the establishment of clinical schools. These clinical schools will enable continuous guidance of the teacher novices on their practice, and ensure that abstract ideas given in class can be put into practice in a real classroom.

Mentoring. Mentoring describes a combination of coaching, counseling and assessment where a teacher in a school is delegated responsibility for assisting pre-service or newly qualified teachers in their professional development. Usually mentors have a lot of experience and craft to share, learnt over the years through experience and interactions in the service. Mentoring helps the in-experienced teacher by unblocking ways to change, building self confidence, self esteem and on-going interpersonal relationships in continuing personal and professional development.

In schools with a mentoring program, the mentee feels more confident to translate theory into practice in a more communicative way, while mentors gain a renewed enthusiasm for the profession from the young teacher.

Induction. Closely related to mentoring is induction which refers to formal introduction into a new job or organization. Unfortunately, in most schools induction of new teachers is not carried out fully. Besides being shown around the compound, it is assumed that a trained teacher has the knowledge to handle the teaching, thus little guidance is offered on how to approach the profession. For many new teachers, the transition is often dramatic, challenging and frightening and learning to teach takes time. The way one gets started on the job dramatically affects the rest of their career. Thus without induction, many of the teachers today teach in a way of copying what their teachers did thus practicing what they learnt through apprenticeship of observation. This may render the teaching in the teacher education program almost worthless as it becomes difficult for the teacher to put theory learnt into practice.

Peer coaching. This involves colleague teachers observing one another’s lessons and then discussing the performance and lesson presentation. Peer coaching requires teacher to teacher interaction aimed at improving instruction. This practice allows for positive criticisms as a way of giving the teacher a chance to receive feedback on their performance and suggestions on pedagogy, which in turn allows for improvement. By having colleagues observe and discuss one another’s lessons, both observer and observed learn from the sharing. Peer coaching can be introduced into the teacher education program within the institution and also through regular communication between prospective teachers in different colleges. The use of the skill in the clinical schools will enhance its acceptability and adoption as a means of continuous learning and professional development for best practices.

Therefore it is necessary for teacher training institutes to adopt these innovations to empower teachers to be at the forefront in helping the rest of the world adopt the UNESCO four pillars of education which are learning to live together, learning to know, learning to do, and learning to be.