Improving teacher education

Surekha Nayani

The quality of teachers we produce depends not only on the passion of the candidate but also on how well we have trained them for the job. Once upon a time, the role of the teacher was very clear and simple— she was the source of knowledge. Today, however, there are multiple sources of knowledge–internet, newspapers, magazines, etc. So now the teacher is expected to be much more. A teacher is to take care of not just the child’s academic development but also his/her physical, social, emotional and spiritual development. This is why how we train our teachers becomes extremely important.

Until 2014, the Bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree that made you a teacher was a one year course. In 2015, the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) made it into a two-year course. Spending more time training to be a teacher was definitely an advantage for the students. Now in 2019, in the New Education Policy there is a proposal to extend teacher training or the B.Ed. course to a four year integrated training program. One can opt for this course after 12th class at two levels— pre-primary/primary and upper primary/secondary. The four year integrated B.Ed. course will be conducted in three streams – B.A. (Bachelor in Arts), B.Com. (Bachelor in Commerce) and B.Sc. (Bachelor in Science).

The aim of the four-year training program is to have quality teacher training and to generate well-trained teachers who shape the classrooms and in turn the future citizens of the society. The National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore, a highly ranked institute, offers a four year under-graduate Bachelor of Arts(education) and Bachelor of Science(education) courses which give quality training in both subject content and teaching practice. These programs focus on grooming passionate and driven students to become truly effective educators.

So what should this new B.Ed cultivate in its students?

  1. Skills- Pedagogical skills, people management, self-management, reflective management and thinking disposition, administration and management, communication skills, technological skills, innovation and entrepreneurship skills.
  2. Learner-centered skills- Empathy, valuing diversity, belief that all children can learn, commitment to nurturing the potential in each child.
  3. Knowledge- self, pupil, commitment, subject content, pedagogy, educational foundation and policies, curriculum, multiple literacy, global awareness and environment awareness.
  4. Teacher identity- Aim for high standards, enquiry nature, quest for learning, strive to improve, ethical, professional, passionate and the ability to adapt.
  5. Service to the profession and community- Collaborative learning and practice, building apprenticeship and membership, social responsibility and engagement.

The education system in Finland has been the talking point for educators across the world as Finnish students consistently feature among the top performers in PISA (Programme for International Assessment). Teacher education in Finland had introduced a two-tier degree system in 2005, which requires all students to do a three year bachelor’s degree and a two year master’s degree (kindergarten teachers need only a bachelor’s degree). Classroom teachers (I-VI level) teach all the subjects and subject teachers (VII- IX) teach one or two subjects (one major and one minor subject) only. The important principles behind the design of education is pedagogy studies, language and communication (including ICT) along with personal study which forms a common core between the classroom and subject teacher education curriculum. Teachers have to write a research-based dissertation at the end of the course of study in education and human development, training in diagnosing students with learning difficulties and extensive training on how to teach children with varied learning abilities.

The initiative of the four year teacher training course, which can cover wider aspects of education and the teaching-learning process can empower teachers towards quality improvement of the education system and prepare global citizens in every classroom.

The author is the HOD of the science department at Delhi Public School, Secunderabad apart from being the academic coordinator there. She has been teaching secondary science for 19 years. She has received many a teacher award. She can be reached at [email protected].

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