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.

Online Masters Education Programs

For teachers who want to advance their careers and pay grade obtaining a masters degree in education is a step that really should be taken. In fact, in many educational systems around the nation advanced degree course work is required in order to maintain teaching certification.

For the busy teacher, who wants to enjoy at least a little private life, teaching school while attending classes can be a challenge. There often just is not enough time in the day to fit everything in and still have time to chill out now and then.

Programs that offer degrees in education are ideal for positions such as teachers or administrators within the public education system. Fortunately for the teachers or administrators education master’s degree graduates have a host of other opportunities available in the private sector. Therefore working through an online education program can open the door to many other opportunities.

These opportunities are available within educational organizations that perform training and research, provide materials, and other services to educators. And there are many such organizations in America. A master’s degree program in education will feature the following online course areas, and more:

– Childhood development
– Curriculum theory
– School Administration
– Public policy

While in most states a bachelor’s degree is required to work in education in addition most states require continuing education courses in order to remain certified. Working towards and obtaining a master degree will usually satisfy those requirements as well as lead to an increase in salary.

Graduates will have the best job opportunities in education. If you are working in, or plan to work in education, obtaining a masters degree is highly important to your career.

An Outline on an Instructional Leadership Educational Program

Are you one of those who are looking forward developing or improve classroom skills and follow a career as a curriculum supervisor or become an educational leader with the instruction as your main focus. If your answer is yes then making a career as an instructional leader can be the best option. Though, it is very important to comprehend that the role of an instructional leader differs from the traditional school administrator in a number of ways. 

Basically, a conventional principal usually spends most of his/her time dealing with administrative duties, but a principal who is an instructional leader is primarily charged with redefining his or her role to become the primary learner in a community striving for excellence in education. As a result, it definitely becomes the principal’s accountability to work with teachers to identify and classify different educational objectives and set school-wide or district wide goals. In addition to this, he or she must provide the essential resources for learning, and generate new learning opportunities for students and staff. Ultimately, ability to follow this responsibility requires deep understanding of leadership qualities. Fortunately, today there are number of colleges and universities that offer programs like instructional leadership that primarily focus on this objective. This education specialist program in instructional leadership principally emphasizes the core skills including comprehensive planning and implementation, curriculum theory and design.

The typical coursework of this program includes: curriculum development, educational topics and trends, and cultural diversity. In addition to this, the program endeavors to promote the values, knowledge, and skills needed to renew and improve education across the state, region, and nation. Once you complete the program, you will be able to:

  • Analyze and classify the uniqueness of an effective and successful leader
  • Study leadership attributes, styles and their significance for leaders to be successful
  • Express strategies for facilitating teams competently and managing clashes
  • Implement and facilitate collaborative professional development activities including team learning communities

The course enables you to learn many characteristics that can be very beneficial to your school and communities. You learn to exhibit a clear sense of direction for your schools and prioritize attention on the things that really matter in terms of the work of students. The program helps you identify your leadership strengths and gain knowledge of strategies that may engage students in the classroom using a team based learning. The program even enables you to discuss your role as a catalyst leader inspiring others to act; develop your personal leadership development plan and discuss methods for similar types of plans in the classroom.

Today instructional leadership can be broadly considered as a thoughtful journey that builds a learning culture. The program is a specialization that emphasizes leadership and managing other teachers with an eye towards a move into school administration. In recent years, this education program has gained enough popularity and expected to earn more recognition in next few years.