Need & Scope of Teacher Education

The quality of its citizens depends not exclusively, but in critical measure upon the quality of their education, the quality of their education depends more than upon any single factor, upon the quality of their teacher.”

Every community should have a talented and dedicated teacher in every classroom. We have enormous opportunity for ensuring teacher quality well into the 21st century if we recruit promising people into teaching and give them the highest quality preparation and training”.

The need for teacher education is felt due to the following reasons

1) It is common knowledge that the academic and professional standards of teachers constitute a critical component of the essential learning conditions for achieving the educational goals of a nation. The focus of teacher preparation had to shift from training to education if it had to make a positive influence on the quality of curriculum transaction in classrooms and thereby pupil learning and the larger social transformation. The aspects that need greater emphasis are;

(a) The length of academic preparation

(b) The level and quality of subject matter knowledge

(c) The report of skills that teachers possess to meet the needs of diverse learning situation

(d) The degree of commitment to the profession

(e) Sensitivity to contemporary issues and problems and the level of motivation.

2) Educating all children well depends not only on ensuring that teachers have the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their work, but also that they take responsibility for seeing that all children reach high levels of learning and that they act accordingly.

3) People come to teacher education with beliefs, values, commitments, personalities and moral codes from their upbringing and schooling which affect who they are as teachers and what they are able to learn in teacher education and in teaching. Helping teacher candidates examine critically their beliefs and values as they relate to teaching, learning and subject matter and form a vision of good teaching to guide and inspire their learning

4) On a daily basis, teachers confront complex decisions that rely on many different kinds of knowledge and judgment and that can involve high stakes outcomes for students future. To make good decisions, teachers must be aware of the many ways in which student learning can unfold in the context of development, learning differences, language and cultural influences, and individual temperaments, interests and approaches to learning.

In addition to foundational knowledge about the areas of learning and performance listed in the above quotation, teachers need to know how to take the steps necessary to gather additional information that will allow them to make more grounded judgments about what is going on and what strategies may be helpful. More importantly, teachers need to keep what is best for the student at the centre of their decision making.

5) Teacher education like any other educational intervention, can only work on those professional commitments or dispositions that are susceptible to modification. While we can‘t remake someone‘s personality, we can reshape attitudes towards the other and develop a professional rather than a personal role orientation towards teaching as a practice.

6) The Ministry of Education document Challenge of Education: A Policy Perspective (1985) has mentioned, Teacher performance is the most crucial input in the field of education.

The teacher is required to acquire adequate knowledge, skills, interests and attitudes towards the teaching profession. The teacher‘s work has become more complicated and technical in view of the new theories of psychology, philosophy, sociology, modern media and materials. The teacher can be made proficient with well planned, imaginative pre-service and in-service training programmes.

Scope of Teacher Education

The scope of teacher education can be understood in the following ways;

(a) Teacher education at different levels of education

(b) Triangular basis of teacher education

(c) Aspects of teacher education

Teacher Education at different levels of Education

Teacher education reaches teachers at all levels of education, namely:-

(a) Pre- primary

(b) Primary

(c) Secondary

(d) Higher Secondary

(e) Elementary

The needs and requirements of students and education vary at each level. Hence level and stage-specific teacher preparation is essential. Teacher education also helps in the development of teaching skills in teachers of professional institutions. The teachers in professional institutions have only the theoretical and practical knowledge of their respective subjects. They require specialized teacher training inputs to deal with students entering their professions. Teacher education also reaches special education and physical education. Thus where there are teachers, there would be teacher education.

The knowledge base is adequately specialized and diversified across stages, in order to develop effective processes of preparing entrant teachers for the functions which a teacher is expected to perform at each stage.

Triangular Basis of Teacher Education

Construction of the relevant knowledge base for each stage of education requires a high degree of academic and intellectual understanding of matter related to teacher education at each stage. This involves selection of theoretical knowledge from disciplines cognate to education, namely, psychology, sociology and philosophy, and converting it into forms suitable for teacher education. Teacher education derives its content from the disciplines of Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology. These disciplines provide the base for better understanding and application of Teacher education. The Philosophical basis provides insights to the student teachers about the implications of- the various schools of philosophy, ancient and modern philosophical thoughts, educational thoughts of philosophical thinkers on education and its various aspects such as  curriculum construction and discipline. The Sociological basis helps the student teachers to understand the role of society and its dynamics in the educational system of a nation and the world at large. It encompasses the ideals that influence national and international scenes. The Psychological basis helps the student teachers develop insights into students ‘psychological make-up. This enables the student teachers to understand their self, their students and the learning situations such that they are able to provide meaningful and relevant learning experiences to their students.

Aspects of Teacher Education

Teacher education is concerned with the aspects such as, who (Teacher Educator), whom (Student teacher), what (Content) and how (Teaching Strategy).

Teacher education is dependent upon the quality of teacher educators. The quality of inputs in teacher education programmes and their effective utilization for the purpose of preparing prospective teachers depend largely on the professional competence of teacher educators and the ways in which it is utilized for strengthening the teacher education programme. Teacher education, thus, first deals with the preparation of effective teacher educators. Teacher education reaches out to the student teachers by providing the relevant knowledge, attitude and skills to function effectively in their teaching profession. It serves to equip the student teachers with the conceptual and theoretical framework within which they can understand the intricacies of the profession. It aims at creating the necessary attitude in student teachers towards the stakeholders of the profession, so that they approach the challenges posed by the environment in a very positive manner. It empowers the student teachers with the skills (teaching and soft skills) that would enable them to carry on the functions in the most efficient and effective manner. Teacher education therefore pays attention to its content matter.

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