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Fri February 28, 2020 06:12:31Login ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12[3]4 ]
Subject: Reforming Teacher Education

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Date Posted: 18:10:26 11/17/99 Wed

The reform of the K-12 education is well into its fifth year. In quantitative terms, we have achieved enrolment levels beyond even our projected targets. The gross enrolment rate has reached 90 percent, the transition rate from grade 6 to 7 is approximately 70 percent (an increase from 34%). The numbers of students completing grade 12 is nearing 4,000 a year, an increase from 1,000 in 1996. Yet despite these major achievements, we are still unable to please our people as regards the relative standard of the system. The system is chastised for being woefully inadequate. Stated simply, it is turning out students who can barely read or write.

Numerous studies, which tried to identify the root causes, have pointed to the teacher corps as the source of the problems, including inadequate resources for school materials, equipment, classroom and host of other things. As regards the teacher training the problem was identified as the inadequate coverage of subject disciplines in the Teacher Education program. Teachers lack sufficient grounding in mathematics, Science and Language. The general teacher training provided for teachers to learn how to teach but not what to teach. Given the above observations, I suggest that a major reform of the teachers training must be undertaken with immediate effect.

There are other factors for reforming the teacher training. But the foremost entails increasing access of citizens barred from teacher colleges because of the emphasis in teacher training. Teaching is only a small part of a college program. Reforming the course offerings in the colleges will attract consumers in other fields. In this change the teachers colleges should be converted to Regional colleges to offer course equivalent to the first two years in undergraduate education. Teacher training is redesigned as a post-graduate program, or a Teaching Licensure to be offered at any of the degree granting universities. The reasons underlying this argument are detailed below.
Teaching Licensure
At the onset to advances in knowledge and technology, as well as public demands for accountability and consumer protection, PNG ought to be looking at improving the content base of its teacher corps as well as expand access to many long denied access to college education. Employment mobility and mid-career changes has also increased the number of professional persons looking for more efficient access to classroom teaching and other professional fields.
Other reasons why PNG should encourage prospective and current teachers to search for appropriate alternative programs are because non-teachers are seeking ways to change jobs because their current work no longer holds meaning or interest. Some professionals, who have developed teaching-related skills in other employment, are looking to teaching as a useful extension of a previous career. The Provincial Education Boards also see a need of the dearth of classroom role models for rural children, to which they can respond by fulfilling that role.
One of the extensive debates of recent years in education has been about teacher knowledge. Teacher education programs up to the present are generally found to be deficient in content knowledge. Often we find prospective teachers learned how to teach not what to teach. In contrast, alternative licensing candidates usually have already acquired knowledge of a particular discipline or content area in study for their bachelor's degree. They would also have broad general content knowledge from the core programs of their college or university education.
The increased demand for qualified teachers and the lack of traditional bachelor's degree candidates to meet the need should led the higher education system to modify their traditional teachers college program offerings. Many developed countries have long opted to offering such a program in primary, elementary, secondary, and special education. The program is targeted to teacher licensure and state credentialing.
Alternative paths to preparation are not universally welcomed in the world of teacher education of course. As with any new venture, they have been watched closely by teacher education institutions, and the department of education. There was, and is, concern about whether they contribute to improving the quality of public education or further masking problems related to teacher quality, especially the trade-off between in-depth content area knowledge and professional education. The alternative routes for teacher preparation can prevail if the outcome can indicate the superiority of the new against the old, and indeed there is no dearth of example to support the argument presented here.
For many prospective teachers the road to licensing seems unnecessarily long and repetitive; e.g., individuals with graduate degrees having to undergo one or more years of full time course work. Also the issue of teaching licensure can be controversial because at its heart are questions about the nature of professions and foregone earnings by those who participate in the training. For many aspiring teachers 1 additional year is just another waste of time, and few are prepared to take on additional time off to undergo teacher training. Yet in recent times following the demand for qualified teachers in the K-8 reform, the number of short-term credentialing programs has increased in intensified professional education at the Port Moresby In-service College (now Education Institute). Program lengths vary, depending on the course work needed and the applicant's availability to attend classes and field experiences. In a crisis setting 4-6 weeks training may be inevitable, but woefully inadequate in the long run, particularly if we are to address the quality question. The time is short and little by way of subject competency is gained. Often it is teaching methods all over again, or in-service on the teachers guide. Teachers return to teach the teachers guide in their schools.
Teacher licensure can have an impact on traditional pre-service and in-service programs where the country and the provinces can use the data on teacher performance on the certification assessments to make judgments about teacher preparation programs. The certification process could trigger changes in the K-12 schools as teachers align their instructional and assessment practices with professional standards. In time we can see a more confident teaching force and student competency in mathematics, science, language will improve correspondingly.

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The problem are those teachers teaching the new teachersGo PNG02:00:12 12/03/99 Fri

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