Teacher education

Teacher education

Teacher education refers to the policies and procedures designed to equip teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the school and classroom.

Teacher education is often divided into:

*"initial teacher training / education" (a pre-service course before entering the classroom as a fully responsible teacher);

*"induction" (the process of providing training and support during the first few years of teaching or the first year in a particular school);

*"teacher development" or "continuing professional development (CPD)" (an in-service process for practicing teachers).

The process of "mentoring" is also relevant.

There is a longstanding and ongoing debate about the most appropriate term to describe these activities. The term 'teacher training' (which may give the impression that the activity involves training staff to undertake relatively routine tasks) seems to be losing ground to 'teacher education' (with its connotation of preparing staff for a professional role as a reflective practitioner) [see for example Cecil H Allen, In-Service Training of Teachers in REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH.1940; 10: 210-215 ] .

Initial Teacher Education


Initial teacher education may be organized according to two basic models.

In the 'consecutive' model, a teacher first obtains a qualification (often a first university degree), and then studies for a further period to gain an additional qualification in teaching; (in some systems this takes the form of a post-graduate degree, possibly even a Masters).

The alternative is where a student simultaneously studies both an academic subject and the ways of teaching that subject, leading to a qualification as a teacher of that subject.

Other pathways are also available. In some countries, it is possible for a person to receive training as a teacher under the responsibility of an accredited experienced practitioner in a school.

Teacher Education in many countries takes place in institutions of Higher Education. An example of a traditional, comprehensive teacher education unit in the United States would be the Bradley University Department of Teacher Education located in Peoria, Illinois.


The question of what knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills teachers should possess is the subject of much debate in many cultures. This is understandable, as teachers are entrusted with the transmission to children of society's beliefs, attitudes and deontology, as well as of information, advice and wisdom.

Generally, Teacher Education curricula can be broken down into these blocks:
*foundational knowledge and skills--usually this area is about education-related aspects of philosophy of education, history of education, educational psychology, and sociology of education
*content-area and methods knowledge--often also including ways of teaching and assessing a specific subject, in which case this area may overlap with the first ("foundational") area. There is increasing debate about this aspect; because it is no longer possible to know in advance what kinds of knowledge and skill pupils will need when they enter adult life, it becomes harder to know what kinds of knowledge and skill teachers should have. Increasingly, emphasis is placed upon 'transversal' or 'horizontal' skills (such as 'learning to learn' or 'social competences', which cut across traditional subject boundaries, and therefore call into question traditional ways of designing the Teacher Education curriculum (and traditional ways of working in the classroom).
*practice at classroom teaching or at some other form of educational practice--usually supervised and supported in some way, though not always. Practice can take the form of field observations, student teaching, or internship (See Supervised Field Experiences below.)

Supervised Field Experiences

*field observations--include observation and limited participation within a classroom under the supervision of the classroom teacher
*student teaching--includes a number of weeks teaching in an assigned classroom under the supervision of the classroom teacher and a supervisor (e.g. from the university)
*internship--teaching candidate is supervised within his or her own classroom

These three areas reflect the organization of most teacher education programs in North America (though not necessarily elsewhere in the world)--courses, modules, and other activities are often organized to belong to one of the three major areas of teacher education. The organization makes the programs more rational or logical in structure. The conventional organization has sometimes also been criticized, however, as artificial and unrepresentative of how teachers actually experience their work. Problems of practice frequently (perhaps usually) concern foundational issues, curriculum, and practical knowledge simultaneously, and separating them during teacher education may therefore not be helpful.

Quality Assurance

Feedback on the performance of teachers is integral to many state and private education procedures, but takes many different forms. The 'no fault' approach is believed by some to be satisfactory, as weaknesses are carefully identified, assessed and then addressed through the provision of in service training.

ee also

* School of Education
* Pedagogy
* Normal school

External links

* [http://gec.aed.org/publications_GEC.htm Research on Teacher Education in the Developing World]
* [http://www.teacherswithoutborders.org Teacher leadership in developing countries]
* [http://www.coe.uga.edu/tep/current.html Teaching Educational Psychology]
* [http://www.umanitoba.ca/publications/cjeap Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy]
* [http://itec.macam.ac.il/portal/ MOFET ITEC - International Portal of Teacher Education]


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