Teacher Education

What is Teacher Education?

Teacher education refers to training that teachers go through to prepare them for the challenges and difficulties of teaching in a classroom. The challenges that face educators are constantly evolving. Teacher student relationships are becoming more complex. The need to educate teacher arises from a need to prepare them fully to face these challenges. There are three stages of teacher education: 

1. Initial teacher training refers to the training that teachers undergo before entering a classroom
2. Training that provides support during the first years of teaching in a classroom
3. In service training that teachers undergo after they begin working as teachers. 

Teacher Education in India
In 1906-1956, teacher preparation in India was referred to as “teacher training”. Its focus involved only skill training (G.L Arora, 2002).  The term implied staff training to undertake routine tasks. Thus, its scope was very narrow and limited. On the other hand, teacher education includes skills training, pedagogical theory and profession skill development. The National Council for Teacher Education defines it as a program of education, research and training of persons to teach from pre-primary to higher education level. Teacher education is a program related to development of teacher proficiency and education to produce enabled and empowered educators who are equipped with skills that make it possible for them to deal with any difficulties they face in the classroom. 

Need for teacher education

The main premise for teacher education is that ‘teachers are made, not born’.

It is evident that the future of the nation depends upon youngsters receiving quality education from well-equipped and professional teacher. There was a need to ensure that teachers receive the necessary training. Teacher training focused only on developing technical skills whereas teacher education provides holistic development. A need for teacher education is felt because of the challenges that teachers have to face. It is imperative that they handle these in the best way possible. 

Teachers have to make a number of complex decisions that rely on many different kinds of knowledge and judgment which could be potentially rewarding for students in the long run. They need some foundational knowledge about learning differences, language and cultural influences, individual temperaments, interests and approaches to learning so that they make decisions that are beneficial for their students.  

As a profession, teaching is evolving continuously. The challenges that educators faced a few years ago bear no resemblance to the ones they face now. This means that teachers need to evolve constantly too. They need guidance on how to face these challenges and overcome them. Teacher student relationships have changed drastically as well which again reiterates a need for teachers to learn and understand how to effectively handle any complications. 

Stages of Teacher Education 
Pre-service teacher education:
As mentioned earlier, pre-service teacher education refers to training that teachers receive before entering a classroom. According to the NCTE curriculum, pre service teacher education requires teachers to know about their roles in the classroom, general objectives, curriculum framework, education for early childhood stage, elementary teacher curriculum, etc. The main objective of pre-service teaching is to expose teachers toan essential and inalienable component of practical work including student teaching, internship, field work, work education, etc. It endeavors to inculcate inter-disciplinarity by teaching philosophy, psychology, history, culture, economics, anthropology and sociology.  

Induction refers to the support and supervision that new teachers and school administrators receive in the early stages of their career. Induction includes orientation to the workplace, socialization, mentoring and guidance. 

In-service teacher education:
The term 'in-service teacher education program' implies training provided to teachers already working in schools. This is done for the overt purpose of updating and refurbishing their knowledge, technical skills, etc. The rationale behind in-service teacher education is that those who teach should never stop learning, themselves. A number of strategies are used during in-service education programs. One strategy or a mix of strategies is astutely selected for a particular training session. The strategy used depends upon the program and its theme. (Innovations and Initiatives in Teacher Education, APEID, 1990)

Reforms, Developments and Emerging Trends in Teacher Education Programmes:
A landmark judgment passed by Supreme Court in India on 2009 added Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education to Article 21(a) thus making it a fundamental right. Right to Education came into force in 2010 and many policies have come into play, making it possible for children between the ages of 6-14 years to receive free education.

Since education is a fundamental right of any child born in India, there is also a need for educators who can impart quality education to every child. Teacher education programs are constantly evolving in a bid to produce good teachers. 

Attitudinal, personality traits along with examination marks are to be considered when selecting trainee teachers. 

To impart new specific skills, curriculum has been revised to integrate practical and theoretical knowledge and increasethe use of alternative means of training as using resource, curriculum development, research and educational technology centers. Alinking of these centers as support services to teacher training institutes is also occurring. (Innovations and Initiatives in Teacher Education, APEID, 1990) 

Policy guidelines have emergedto link promotion criteria and procedures with periodic in-service teacher training, andto develop multi-media training packages for in-service training for all categories of teachers. Distance education programs—involving television, radio and correspondence courses—for in-service teacher education are also widespread. An importantissue involving in-service education currently being addressed in many countriesin the region concerns the need to make this approach more systematic.(Innovations and Initiatives in Teacher Education, APEID, 1990)

The future teachers-in-training have the power to influence the shape that society takes in the 21st century. The crisis around the availability of teachers is complex. Making teacher training and education available to all is a daunting task. Amongst all the ambiguity, one thing is for certain, there is absolutely no way the “bricks and mortar” institution of teacher training created in the last century will be adequate for 21st century needs (Moon, 2000).

Article written by: Mrinalini Mathur

1. What is Teacher Education?
2. Teacher Education
3. Concept Of Teacher Education
4. Innovations and Initiatives in Teacher Education
5. Teacher Induction
6. Teacher Education
7. Right To Education Act
8. First Year Teachers and Teacher Induction