DPU QUARTERLY AUGUST 2008.The International Alliance of Leading Education Institutes: The alliance will utilise existing strengths of each institution to: 1. Speak with one voice on educational matters to raise the profile and quality of education with government, international agencies and the public at large. 2. Act as a forum for collaboration to develop understanding in order to address current local and global educational issues. 3. Be a think-tank that draws upon existing expertise and research-based evidence to generate ideas, anticipate trends and develop future scenarios. > The aim of the alliance is to influence policy decisions, secure funding and inspire research- and intervention efforts that will improve education locally and globally.
N EW I N Eal Z A MAGine Educatioitne in the
un op n The t n the world of Leading i e c tes ian Institu ational All Institutes. n r n Inte Educatio
> Teacher educators need ongoing education > PROFESSIONALISM MEANS FACING EVERYDAY LIFE > Public education is still a money matter
The first global education forum
With this publication I bid you welcome to Quarterly, which is expected to become an important source of knowledge sharing between the members of the International Alliance. Just as importantly, I expect it to become an efficient tool of the Alliance when communicating to a global public, to policy makers, and to other education researchers around the world. The raison d’etre of the Alliance is that education and knowledge are decisive sources not only for the national community but also for the prosperity of the World Community. Education by way of schooling and lifelong learning is a decisive social productive force, and, equally important, a precondition for democratic development and cohesion. However, from having been regional and national issues, there is no doubt that knowledge, education and learning have become global matters. Knowledge cannot, like other productive forces such as land and industry, be limited to a specific region or nation, but moves freely across the borders. Therefore, education and educational policy are subjects which can only be completely considered and explained in a global perspective. To enhance the interaction across borders and to create an open knowledge-based culture and a global public forum concerning educational research and policy, we need new media for sharing knowledge about these urgent matters of common interest. By publishing Quarterly, the Alliance intends to establish a reliable and effective communication channel for global propagation of research-based knowledge about education and educational policy. The purpose is to support an international culture of conversation which is open to the general public. Quarterly will include the public of each nation in an international community. The purpose is to indicate that the individual national discussions have just as many common features as dissimilarities – and above all, to show the value of exchanging and finding common matters of interest. Quarterly will demonstrate its value as a journal for a debating public and as a magazine in which evidence-based research results can be published. The topic of this issue of Quarterly is teacher training. This mirrors the fact that the 2007-2008 topic of the Alliance and the annual summit is teacher training. However, this particular subject was chosen as a result of the fact that the most important single factor for the quality of education and thus for the efficiency and quality of the pupils’ learning is the quality of the teachers’ training. dpu quarterly
Likewise, it is generally accepted that the requirements to the teachers’ competencies are changing these years: > The requirements to the extent and quality of the teachers’ professional knowledge increase as professional knowledge plays an increasingly bigger role in society’s knowledge-based economy. Education for a knowledge-based society is different from education for an industrial society. > The requirements concerning educational and didactic competencies and the ability to connect educational theory and teaching practice are increasing, the overall aim being to educate theoretically informed and methodologically skilled reflective practitioners. > The requirements for teachers’ social competencies, e.g. classroom leadership, increase, partly result of the increasing social and cultural challenges in the educational institutions. Globalisation is also felt in the classroom. > The requirements to the educational field’s ability to attract qualified working capacity increase, because the field is under pressure from other sections of the labour market. This means that the recruiting of students for teacher training is often problematic. Teacher training programmes should therefore be made attractive, e.g. by enhancing their reputation and quality. > The requirements concerning the teachers’ ability to make use of research results as an important element of their daily teaching practice increase. For that reason the modern teacher must be research informed in order to perform his/her assignment. These as well as other topics concerning teacher education form the basis for this issue of Quarterly and for the discussions at the summit of the International Alliance in Copenhagen on 17-18 August 2008. Welcome to Quarterly and welcome to the summit in Copenhagen. Lars Qvortrup
contents & editorial
Cultivating creative thinking in Singapore The challenge for Singapore is to introduce critical, lateral and creative thinking into a rather rigid, authoritative and top-down state-controlled teacher education system.
Teacher educators need ongoing education Two experts in continuing teacher education from University of Toronto tell us that the most successful teachers are the ones who continue to learn for the benefit of student learning.
It is not enough to be an expert in your field The professional teacher must possess the right combination of professional and subject didactic knowledge. And this combination is best achieved by way of a research-based teacher training, Danish professor of educational sociology Jens Rasmussen says.
Professionalism MEANS FACING everyday life To improve the poor quality of the Brazilian municipal school, the teachers have to be better at understanding the pupils and the culture of everyday life at the schools.
The world’s first think-tank on education The members of the International Alliance of Leading Education Institutes are lead the charge to improve the quality of education in their respective countries. Each institution has its individual strengths. Collectively, however, their combined resources provide a much more far-reaching and powerful catalyst for change in the field of education.
Public education is still a money matter The United States is a land of contrasts and differences, which is particularly evident in the educational system. Fast-track teaching certification programs create major educational inequity issues between those who can afford highly qualified teaching and those who cannot.
Wanted: Chinese teachers with higher qualifications China’s challenge is not really to attract more teacher students but to attract those with the best qualifications and to motivate them to work in rural areas. Upgrading programmes and reward systems are some of the strategic tools employed.
Government policy determines the success or failure of partnerships Professor Chris Husbands from the Institute of Education, University of London, believes that the partnerships are a great idea, but that partnerships would be more successful if the political establishment had greater confidence in the educational system.
Teacher Training for the 21st Century in Korea. The Korean educational system is not capable of satisfying the requirements of the knowledge and information society. A new six-year teacher training programme may overcome the crisis, Dean Cho Youngdal from Seoul National University believes.
Quarterly August 2008 Editors Dean Lars Qvortrup (executive editor), Claus Holm and Eva Frydensberg Holm Translation and proofreading Nicolai Paulsen, Mette Schmidt-Kallesøe Contact The Danish School of Education Aarhus University Tuborgvej 164 DK-2400 Copenhagen NV E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +45 8888 9059 Subscription www.dpu.dk/quarterly Design 1508 A/S Cover 1508 A/S Print Scanprint A/S
Unlike many Western countries, where teacher training institutions struggle with budget cuts, low wages as well as issues of prestige and recruitment, the challenge for Singapore is different: to introduce critical, lateral and creative thinking into a rather rigid, authoritative and top-down statecontrolled teacher education system. Professor Saravanan Gopinathan, head of the Centre for Research in Pedagogy & Practice at the National Institute of Education (NIE) at Nanyang Technological University, reflects on the current educational challenges in Singapore.
At a distance, the Singaporean government’s serious investment in and reforms of teacher education and public education in general stand out as a shining example for the rest of the world to follow. Singapore is, in a word, the best-behaved pupil in the classroom. Since Singapore is one small island of just four million people surrounded by large, powerful Asian production markets, the Singaporean government realized in the mid-eighties that it was futile to base their economy on labour and production, and they turned to ‘human capital’ in the form of knowledge and education. Over the last thirty years, the Singaporean government has developed the Singaporean knowledge society through heavy investments (4% of the GDP) in teacher education (Singapore has one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world). In 1997, for example, the Prime Minister launched a SGD 2 billion (DKK 700 million) program called ‘Thinking Schools, Learning Nation’ that was aimed to reform the education system by developing ‘critical and creative thinking’ in the schools.
In a very linear and authoritative educational system like the Singaporean, it can be something of a challenge to cultivate such a creative culture. Professor Saravanan Gopinathan, Head of the Centre for Research in Pedagogy & Practice at the National Institute of Education, comments on the current efforts: “In the 1980s, the cost of labour rose, and we realized that we couldn’t compete with our neighbouring countries in the industrialized economy. So we had to move our economy to a higher level to compete on knowledge instead. In the knowledge society, lateral thinking, innovation and the ability to collaborate with others are key elements. So we tried to reform our school system to match these new criteria. We cut down on the curriculum, for example, in order to give the pupils more freedom to think, and then we encouraged much more project-related work, and more collaborative assignments. We also invested heavily in IT and other instruments essential to the knowledge society,” Professor Gopinathan says. State dominance The Singaporean model, where the state has complete
Teacher training in Singapore Three paths (all university-based at the NIE, the National Institute of Education) 1 Postgraduate diploma in education: one-year program after a university degree 2
B.A. (Ed.): four years
3 Diploma in education. Duration: two years. For students that have finished upper secondary, but who do not have a university degree. The student can come back after teaching and take an additional degree.
control of all educational facilities including teacher education, may seem old-fashioned to the ever-expanding liberalist ideology and privatization of the Western world, where the state’s role in education is highly contested. Professor Gopinathan comments on the special state-controlled education model: “In Singapore, there has been a high level of political attention on ensuring the quality of education, and the state has invested heavily in teacher education. In the Western world, the question is whether the state should play any role in education and, if so, how much and whether it should prescribe a curriculum, for example. Singaporeans might be closer in sentiment to China and Korea than to the Scandinavian countries. In Singapore, the state has been very strong, but also very efficient, so the Singaporeans do not really contest the right and role of the state in public education. There is a strong consensus that the state should control education because people can see that it works! We have a high level of education, we have highly qualified and specialized teachers, and other countries in the region actually aspire to our educational model.” The state paradox It seems Professor Gopinathan may be right. According to OECD’s report on ‘The world’s top ten best performing schools systems’ (PISA), Singapore is ranked as nr 10. The latest McKinsey report ‘How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top’ (McKinsey and Com-
Professor Saravanan Gopinathan’s advice to other small countries or developing countries 1
Maximize human capital: Try to ensure a level playing field in terms of access to education.
Fund public education quite generously. The Singaporean educational sector in Singapore actually has more money than they know what to do with!
Expect efficiency in return for funding: The Singaporean class sizes are large compared to others. In return, teachers are better educated.
Emphasize quality by establishing a sufficiently high bar for entrance into teaching. Ensure quality control at teacher education institutions; ensure teachers are supported in school settings and provided relevant PD; ensure teachers perform allocated tasks and reward outstanding performance.
Constantly review education to meet the demands of the labour market: There’s no point in educating people in areas that are not needed in the knowledge society’s labour market.
Ensure school leavers have the mix of skills appropriate for the economy at its stage of development. For agricultural and industrial productivity to increase investment is needed in technical and vocational schools and institutes (Singapore industrialized successfully because they altered a heavily academic curriculum and established high-quality (poly-) technical schools). Even today only about 30% of the cohort will enroll in publicly funded universities; there are ample opportunities for further education and training, both public and privately funded.
pany, 2007) also gives the Singaporean teacher education system a very high rating. The World Bank has done extensive studies on the Singaporean education system and also come out with highly positive comments. Is it not a paradox that the state enforces “creative thinking and innovation” through top-down reforms and legislation? “Well, the government has come to recognize that civil society organisations and human rights associations might have a role to play in our educational system. And of course the state recognizes the development in our neighbouring countries and that people outside may look upon us as an extremely authoritarian state,” Gopinathan says and explains about the easing up of the state control: “Given the needs of the knowledge economy and the recognition that teachers need to be empowered to conduct themselves as professionals and that the best pedagogical decisions are made at school level, there has been a process of decentralization in school system governance since the late 80s. Schools are organized into zones and clusters, principals have discretionary funds and there are active School Advisory Councils. Major initiatives like Teach Less Learn More are promoting curriculum development, professional development and action research at the school level. The Ministry of Education has never specified how NIE should organize or prepare teacher trainees. So, while there is central direction, the system enjoys considerable autonomy.“ The reform puzzle According to Professor Gopinathan, Singapore has reached the present high productivity due to a very close alignment strategy and partnership program between the public schools, the NIE and the Ministry of Education, but also because the state has been very careful to introduce reforms simultaneously and incrementally. “We have looked at reforms as a puzzle where all the involved entities, including teacher education institutions, schools and ministries must collaborate to change things for the better.You cannot have better teachers if the ministry doesn’t at the same time grant more money to teacher education, for example. One must also take into consideration that Singapore is a very young state that has been forced to develop models and core principles to suit our unique circumstances. We only have a history of 50-60 years of teacher education, as opposed to the British system, which is hundreds of years older and has a totally different educational context and population to work with and reform.” Trust is key How has the Singaporean state succeeded in controlling the educational system in this way? “In my view, our state has been exceptionally efficient and productive. We are a unique, small island, very vulnerable and situated in a ‘difficult neighbourhood’, so to speak. So as a state, we have to be extremely careful and strategic to ensure that we survive and prosper. Thus the government knows that it cannot afford to make mistakes that jeopardize people’s trust. Therefore the government and the politicians have put a lot of emphasis on being correct; of keeping corruption minimal for
example, so that the people trust the state to take major, strategic decisions that affect everyone,” Gopinathan explains and continues: “I’m not saying that the government does not make mistakes, just that the amount of criticism of the state and the population’s tendency to rally against the government is much lower than in other developed countries, simply because we need this trust, consensus and social solidarity in order to survive.” What are the drawbacks of this strong governmental control of education? “The downside of a very strong state in a small country like ours is that the state has very little room for mistakes, because it will affect everyone all the way down the system immediately. We have half a million of a four-million population going to school right now, so it is a considerable percentage of the population that will be affected by any wrong decisions education-wise. We therefore try to do things step by step instead of radically,” Professor Gopinathan says. A history of fragmentation In Singapore, 75 percent of the population is Chinese, 15 percent is Malayan Muslim and 7 percent is Indian. There are no actual ethnic enclaves in Singapore. The country does not have a major immigrant population and therefore their integration issues are minimal. Still, Singapore has a history of fragmentation evident in the linguistic, social, religious and cultural heterogenity of their population.Thus, identification and socialization are primary aims of schooling teachers and consequently pupils. One of the ways that the government tries to bridge these differences and to teach pupils respect for other people and cultures is to have a national school system and a national curriculum. The Ministry of Education also facilitates the work of educational ethnic group organizations to help children with leaning needs, professor Gopinathan says: “We have worked very hard to pay attention to the cultural and religious differences within our population and to make race relations and race management a national strategy in order to make it part of our collective understanding. Therefore, race relations are also part of the curriculum in schools and in the activities that the pupils are involved in. For example we have a national Racial Harmony Day and a national Kindness Campaign day,” Gopinathan says and continues: “I know people in the West may think such initiatives controversial and may think that you cannot teach interracial respect by one or two national holidays. But we actually think that we can make a difference this way. We don’t live in a perfect world, but we need to do what little we can to make things better – introduce little things along the way.” Stressful and competitive system This holistic, almost Buddhist, approach to life and to the educational system contradicts the reputation the Singaporean educational system has for being elitist, highly competitive and stressful for the students. The government has addressed this criticism, Professor Gopinathan says, by launching these national ‘feel-good’ campaigns
Reports on the world’s best performing school systems
WWW OECD’s PISA-report: www.oecd.org/pisa The McKinsey report: www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/socialsector/ourpractices/ philanthropy.asp
and by making sure that the educational system is open and accessible to all regardless of ethniticity and religion. “We sort of go against the grain in Singapore in that we still want to keep education national, both to make sure that everyone will have a chance to succeed in the educational system, and to ensure that if we do spot a talent, that talent can be nurtured regardless of social status or religious belief,” Professor Gopinathan says and continues: “A competitive, high performance mentality has enabled us to build a successful state and society; one consequence is that the education system may be unduly stressful for some children and families.” Gopinathan still believes the Singaporean school system has room for improvement: “The school system in Singapore still places far too much emphasis on tests and academic results, achievement and a lot of home work. This creates a very stressful environment for the pupils, who are consequently afraid of failure. In this way, we are closer to the Japanese elitist school than schools in other knowledge societies. Not all the blame for the elitist system can be placed at the government’s door, however. Singaporeans are both Asian and meritocratic, and many parents have high aspirations for their children.” n By Mette Bom
Saravanan Gopinathan Professor Saravanan Gopinathan is head of the Centre for Research in Pedagogy & Practice at the National Institute of Education (NIE) at Nanyang Technological University
photo getty images
> Two myths are under attack. One is that some people are born teachers. The other is that teachers are fully developed and do not need any ongoing education. Two researchers in teacher education from the University of Toronto tell us that the most successful teachers are the ones who continue to learn throughout their careers for the benefit of student learning.
professionalisation of the teacher
Teacher educators need ongoing education The notion that teachers are born teachers is a rather outdated one. The act of teaching is challenging and complex, and ongoing professional learning must be considered a core dimension of the teachers’ work. A number of recent studies indeed suggest that successful teachers not only have a deep understanding of the learner and sound preparation in their subject matter, they also continue to learn and develop sophisticated knowledge bases that inform their choices and use of various pedagogical practices. Not surprisingly, high quality initial and continuing teacher education programs are increasingly viewed as a critical factor in the development of high-quality teaching in a modern knowledge-based society. The limitations of infrequent, poorly designed, and inadequately delivered programs are all too well documented. This is the message from Dr. Kathryn Broad and Dr. Mark Evans, colleagues at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in Canada. Each has been heavily involved in initial and continuing teacher education for several years. In 2006, they completed a very comprehensive review on literature concerning professional development for experienced teachers for the Ministry of Education of Ontario. The teacher factor The idea of the learning and competent individual may seduce you into believing that the student teaches him/ herself, which leads to the question: Do we need teachers? Dr. Mark Evans suggests that the literature is pretty clear. “What teachers know and are able to do are important factors influencing student learning. Teachers are those who work most directly with students. They work out curricular goals and theoretical notions and turn them into effective classroom and school-wide practices, and they are responsible for establishing an environment of effective learning,” he explains. Teachers, according to Evans, need to have a deep understanding of multiple forms of knowledge. Subject knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and knowledge of learner diversity, for example, are critical in informing teachers’ decisions about what, how, and why to use certain pedagogical practices for particular curriculum goals and to adapt to learner diversity and contextual pressures day-to-day. He stresses the importance of ongoing learning and flexibility. “From the literature we also see a recognition of multiplicity in terms of what the teachers are expected to know and are able to do. As educational contexts
and purposes change, contrasting notions of high quality teaching and learning emerge, and teachers develop more specialized areas of expertise, what teachers ought to know and be able to do will be in constant flux. To respond to these changes, teachers need to develop their capacities for inquiry, collaboration, and critical reflection in ways which will support their own learning.” Demand for professional development According to Mark Evans, numerous studies explode longstanding myths that suggest ‘anybody can teach’ and that ‘teachers are born teachers’. As he puts it, teaching has become an increasingly complex, challenging area of work. It is inspired by multiple forms of knowledge and represents a variety of ways of personal, professional, and contextual knowing. “The most successful teachers don’t only have an adequate preparation in their subject matter, they also have studied the art and science of teaching, processes of learning, and contextual factors that may enhance or restrict student learning. They have also developed their capacity to be responsive to continuous change and engage in ongoing professional learning as educational purposes shift and evolve.” Dr. Kathryn Broad points out that most teachers across Canada choose to engage in additional forms of teacher education following their initial teacher education programs. Professional learning is more often viewed as a lifelong pursuit within a professional ‘growth’ paradigm rather than the more traditional ‘deficit’ paradigm. “Canadians have historically expressed a high level of satisfaction with their teachers. Teachers are generally viewed as playing a critical role in the student learning and in the implementation of the government’s provincial policies, and they take their responsibilities seriously. Most teachers in Canada choose to engage in additional forms of teacher education following their initial teacher education programs. Of course, the form and level of engagement varies from school to school and from district-based professional learning activities to more formal university-guided additional qualifications courses and graduate programs in education which teachers select themselves,” Kathryn Broad says. And as to the question of whether motivation to learn continues for experienced teachers, Broad says: “There are varieties and individual differences in the ways the individuals approach professional learning, and it is unrealistic to assume that everyone will be equally committed to professional growth. Even when profesdpu quarterly
professionalisation of the teacher
sional learning is perceived as being meaningful, motivation can be a challenge. Teachers’ sense of self-efficacy, the school culture in which they teach, their career stage, and their gender are some of the additional factors complicating any simplistic response to what motivates the teachers to engage in ongoing professional learning.” Although several jurisdictions internationally have explored extrinsic motivators such as financial incentives, career ladders, differentiation of role and other types of recognition to encourage professional development, there are no strong indications that these interventions are achieving the desired outcomes of increasing motivation. From happiness to student learning Another question is what motivates the teacher to lifelong learning efforts? And yet another question is what do they obtain from the learning? It is recognized that the evaluation of a professional development represents a critical formative piece of information in order to develop effective programs. But according to the two Canadian experts, professional development is rarely evaluated in a systematic way. “I am afraid that far too often, the professional learning experiences are assessed in ways which are not informative. Assessment is often used to track levels of involvement, the number of experiences or one’s ‘happiness’ with one’s professional learning experiences rather than trying to encourage and draw out diagnostics, feedback or changes in practice or asking teachers to assess their own growth and development,” Broad says. Evans points out that current literature recommends that the determination of the effectiveness of the professional development needs to be connected to student learning as well as teacher learning. But he adds that this will take some time. “While attempts have been made internationally to outline evaluation frameworks with performance indicators in order to assist in evaluation and self assessment, few studies have attempted to determine the effectiveness of professional development in relation to student learning, and recent research calls for greater attention and efforts in this key but complex area,” he says. What works? According to Mark Evans and Kathryn Board, many efforts have been made in various jurisdictions all over the world to define the professional standards of the teachers. Most of these standards bring student learning into focus and outline some kind of quality in the teaching and competency in connection with planning, teaching and evaluation, an understanding of the development and the students’ learning and communication skills as well as professional and ethical matters, including ongoing professional further learning. 10 dpu quarterly
Even if they find that standards can be helpful when guiding both professional development decisions, assessment and accountability, they also warn against standardization. “From what we know, care must be taken not to reduce teaching to a checklist or a narrow set of technical skills when delineating and using standards. Recognition of the depth and complexity in understanding and practice must be maintained. Understanding the purposes and use of standards in professional learning continues to be an area of further study,” Kathryn Board says. Nevertheless, some models are more successful than others, Mark Evans says. “Studies of more successful professional development programs reveal more comprehensive and integrated approaches which are attentive to certain core ingredients. The ingredients in focus are: student learning and achievement, teachers’ stages and pathways, research on teaching and learning and educational changes. However, the success also depends on an attention to certain core design considerations, and to the interconnections among schools, communities, and systems. There are some common features for these approaches – viz. they are multi-faceted and allow teachers to opt for individualization, grade-level, subject-area, and team-based professional learning. In North America, collaborative approaches embedded in the daily work of teachers, including professional learning communities, action research and coaching are having a powerful impact on the teacher learning, the school, and the system growth.” n By Claus Holm email@example.com
MARK EVANS MARK EVANS is Director of the Secondary Teacher Education Program and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, The University of Toronto.
KATHRYN BROAD KATHRYN BROAD is Executive Director of the Initial Teacher Education Program and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, The University of Toronto.
It is not enough to be an expert in your field professionalisation of the teacher
It is not enough for a teacher to be professionally skilled if he is to encourage the learning of the pupils. The efficient and professional teacher must possess the right combination of professional and subject didactic knowledge. And this combination is best achieved by way of a researchbased teacher training, the Danish Professor of educational sociology Jens Rasmussen says.
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professionalisation of the teacher
Does a mathematics teacher need to be an expert in algebra? And must an English teacher know her grammar inside out? Yes, but it is not enough to be professionally skilled. The efficient and professional teacher who manages to encourage the learning of the pupils must possess the right combination of professional and subject didactic knowledge, Jens Rasmussen explains. He is a professor in educational sociology at The Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus. Some years ago he surveyed a number of international research projects with the purpose of presenting recommendations for the reform of the Danish teacher training which was introduced last year. According to Professor Jens Rasmussen, the good teacher is characterised by possessing professional knowledge within the subjects he teaches, but there is
Teacher training in Denmark The Danish teacher training is a four-year professional bachelor programme and consists of the following elements > The first main subject – which must be Danish (specialised according to age level), mathematics (specialised according to age level), natural science/technology or physics/chemistry > One-two extra main subjects > A ‘bachelor project’ which is a major independent project made in connection with one of the main subjects > Educational subjects covering subjects such as general didactics, psychology and pedagogical theory and practice > Christian studies/life information/citizenship > Training service at a primary and lower secondary school and also other types of schools, if possible. The practical training lasts 24 weeks in all
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no unambiguous answer to how thorough and wide this knowledge should be. On the other hand, the research he has studied suggests that the professional knowledge will only be a real advantage when it is combined with pedagogic and subject didactic knowledge and competencies. “Actually, the combination of professional knowledge and subject didactic knowledge and competencies is so decisive that it is better to have a teacher who is weak within both aspects rather than just one aspect. For instance a student of the ‘Mathematics’ line would probably be a better teacher of mathematics than a mathematics professor without didactic knowledge. It is therefore very valuable for the pupils to meet main subject teachers as they also possess the required subject matter didactics,” Jens Rasmussen says. A systematic review called ‘Lærerkompetencer og elevlæring i førskole og skole” (teacher competency and pupils’ learning in pre-school and school), which has just been published by the Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research, explodes the myth that only the teacher’s educational standards determine whether the pupils learn something. The review is based on the last ten years’ international research of the connection between teachers’ competencies and pupils’ learning and points out three matters which are important to encouraging the learning of the pupils. “A good teacher possesses three competencies: Professional competency, the ability to establish social relations to the pupils and the ability to express in a clear and explicit way which rules that apply to the work of the class. The last two dimensions are not given enough priority in the current teacher training,” Sven Erik, Nordenbo, Director of the Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research, says. The teacher must direct Based on his surveys, Professor Jens Rasmussen is not satisfied with only three competencies. But he singles out the American researcher Linda Darling-Hammonds description of the teachers’ characteristics which plays
professionalisation of the teacher
a major role in connection with the pupils’ learning results, including the ability to direct and provide the settings for the work of the class. “Solid research has shown that teacher characteristics such as clarity, clearness and enthusiasm play an important role for how much the pupils learn. In recent years, classroom management has been in focus, and a great deal of the research I have seen does in fact indicate that the ability to vary the activities and let the pupils know what is expected of them are of importance for the pupils’ outcome. Just as the teacher’s ability to establish a stimulating work climate is important,” Jens Rasmussen says. He stresses the fact that no single good teaching method has been found, and the teachers who master a large repertoire of teaching methods have greater success than the teachers who master only a few methods. The systemic review by the Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research emphasises the teacher’s ability to establish a relation to the pupils. Jens Rasmussen’s surveys also suggest – however not so unambiguously – that the relation between the teacher and the pupil is important to the pupils’ learning. “There is a number of accounts of what teachers and pupils explain what they believe a good teacher should possess. One of the things which is often mentioned is that the teacher should have positive expectations to the pupils and be willing to meet them.The pupils often mentioned that it is important that their teacher likes them. Among other things they point out that the teacher smiles at them – and whether he has missed them when they were absent.” A teacher will not be skilled and professional just by possessing the right competencies. Jens Rasmussen’s surveys illustrate a distinct connection between the teacher’s teaching experience and the pupils’ results.Teachers who have less than three years’ experience are less efficient than their more experienced colleagues. However, the advantages of the experienced teacher may fade after about five years if he does not have developing, professional relations with his colleagues and is in a position to develop his competencies, e.g. by way of continuing training.
Jens Rasmussen about the challenges of the teacher training
Better training Last year the teacher training in Denmark was changed. The teacher training is still a four-year professional bachelor programme, but in the new teacher training it is, for instance, now required that research results are included in the main subject teaching, and that subjects such as Danish and mathematics are specialised according to age of the pupils to be taught as to the school’s initial, intermediate and final level, and that the elements of the educational elements are strengthened. Although Jens Rasmussen consider it progress, it is not enough. “In Denmark the teacher training is – as in most other Scandinavian countries – based on the so-called college (seminarium) tradition. One of the advantages of this tradition is that it offers a good interplay between theory and practice, and that the training includes several periods of practical training. But the training has not kept up with the times. The politicians have not yet joined the Bologna process’ higher educational requirements, just as they have not yet
By Eva Frydensberg Holm firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the main challenge for teacher education, both in Denmark and abroad? To turn the teacher training into a five-year research-based training with integrated practical training. All research results suggest that this is the way forward if the future teachers are to possess the right combination of professional knowledge and didactic competencies. Could you identify a country from which we could learn more about teacher training? In Finland the teachers enjoy high social prestige. There are several reasons for this but one of the reasons is that the teachers in Finland – opposite in many other countries – are educated at the university.
followed the recommendations of the EU saying that the training should become research-based – and this implies that the teachers who are being educated do not possess sufficient competencies.” If the teachers are to be educated so they end up possessing the competencies – the professional as well as the subject didactic competencies – and thus become competent and efficient teachers, it is necessary also to offer a five-year research-based teacher training, according to Jens Rasmussen. “All studies show that the combination of professional and subject didactic knowledge which an efficient teacher must possess is best obtained through a researchbased training with integrated training periods. The research-based training will also enable the teachers to include research in their planning and reflections on practice. And they will likewise be able to relate to new international research which will be an important factor, not least for the coming teachers.” n
Jens Rasmussen Jens Rasmussen, PhD, is professor in Educational Sociology at The Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus. His research includes learning theory, the sociology of modernity and comparative educational policy studies in particular on primary and secondary education and teacher training. www.dpu.dk/about/jera
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professionalisation of the teacher
To improve the poor quality of Brazilian public schools, the teachers have to better understand the pupils and the culture of everyday life at the schools. Teacher training may contribute to this, but another way would be to keep teachers in the same school, to increase their commitment to one school and strengthen their professionalism in this way.
Professionalism means facing everyday life Until the 1970s, Brazilian teachers were trained in public institutions followed by training at confessional institutions. In this period, the teachers primarily served the most affluent segments of the population, and their competencies were not questioned. There was a significant social recognition of the profession and criticism of teachers was limited to their personal character. This changed in the 1990s. As part of the process of extending access to basic education to nearly the entire population, the number of educational institutions was doubled and a considerable number of private institutes saw the light of day. This extension process has meant that the diversity of pupils in public schools has increased considerably, and that the teachers now have to deal with much more complex problems, explains Sonia Penin. She is director of the School of Education at the University of São Paulo and conducts research in teacher professionalism and job satisfaction. “The extension of access for all children to the elementary education caused problems for the teachers, because they suddenly had to deal with social, economic and cultural diversities – problems that are still not fully solved. Today, additional difficulties such as violence, drugs etc. have to be sorted out, and at the same time we face the challenges of the digital revolution.” Teachers must face facts According to Sonia Penin, the situation in the 1990s laid 14 dpu quarterly
Teacher training in Brazil In December of 1996, The National Law of Education (NLE) established the conditions and legal requirements for the teaching profession in Brazil > Kindergarten, preschool and initial grades (1st through 5th grade) of Primary School Teachers must have basic/intermediate teacher training. The aim is for 70 percent of the teachers to have at least a basic degree by 2011. > Final Elementary Grades and High school Graduate- level teacher training and a minimum of three hundred hours of teaching practice is required. The National Education Council (NEC) is responsible for drafting policies and rules related to Brazilian education. The teacher education varies from three to five years and the practical period comprises about one third of the total curriculum.
the groundwork for the impoverishment and proletarianisation of the profession, and this still influences the current mindset in Brazil. Although there is now more attention on the public school in many ways – including from the government – it is evident that the quality of the Brazilian school, in particular the public schools, is still unsatisfactory. Pupils of different backgrounds entered the public schools, which placed new demands on the teachers’
professionalisation of the teacher
ability to teach and understand the pupils. And this has turned out to be a problem for the teachers to address successfully. The theory from teacher training was not sufficient – and is still not sufficient – for them to understand and act in the daily life of the Brazilian schools, Sonia Penin explains. “In the teacher training programme, the students learn about pupils as abstract entities. Then, when they enter the schools and meet the real pupils, they get a shock. They find it very difficult to accept that reality and the circumstances of their pupils are quite different than what they have learned.” Sonia Penin believes that the teacher training programme should prepare the coming teachers for the real world. This involves better training in educational methods and a greater knowledge of the situation ‘out there’ in the schools, but this is still not enough. According to Sonia Penin, current training programmes should include daily life aspects so that teachers gain a level of professionalism that allows them to create a good learning environment for pupils who come from difficult living conditions. “Several studies show that Brazilian teachers have difficulties in perceiving the experienced reality correctly. That is evident, for example, when the teacher finds it difficult to establish a connection between the formal curriculum on the one hand, and the pupil’s competencies and living conditions and the time available to teach on the other. Many teachers find it problematic to reveal that a school is their workplace, and rather present themselves as teachers affiliated with a certain network. This has been evident in surveys about the daily life in schools, which reveals the importance of emphasizing and reinforcing the ongoing training programmes in the workplace.” Professional job satisfaction How can acknowledgement of the experience serve as an important source of insight for the understanding a certain subjective ‘reality’? “The question can be addressed at many levels. The first one is to assure that the teachers are open to this understanding. Then, teachers must recognise themselves as subjects of learning and as action-oriented subjects. Finally, they must define the paths and the meaning of each action (event) they will undertake. Even though policies, structures, and random events may interfere, the particular individual is still a main influence on the relationships, the processes and the results that will be obtained at specific place and in a specific event – due to him or her being a complete subject. Once the context is accepted and shared with other participants of a daily life, better actions may be developed in the desired direction and goals can be reached.” You have pointed out that development of more professional teachers require that the teachers stop moving from one school to another so quickly.Why? “The ongoing training in a given school requires a diagnosis, the formulation of a project, the definition of engagements and the sharing of problems to allow implementation. For all those phases to actually take place, a teacher must live the daily life and remain in it for quite
Sonia Penin about the challenges of the teacher training What is the main challenge for teacher education, both in Brazil and abroad? I believe the most important thing which needs to be improved is the organisation of the teacher training programme, mainly the methodology, practical tasks as well as the space/time of schooling. Nevertheless, we must demand that governments show proper appreciation of teachers and teaching (like increasing the educational budget) to respond to the recruitment challenge. Could you identify a country from which we could learn more about teacher training? There is Chile in South America, Korea in Asia and Spain in Europe. In a period of about ten years, they have changed their educational results and become examples for others to follow. Aside from the increased funding, I believe the valorisation of the teachers’ career is a very important factor for their educational improvement.
some time. Excessive switching of workplaces bars him or her from that experience,” Sonia Penin says and adds: “The intensive change of teachers can lead a school to loose an entire team of professionals in a short period of time, which makes both the proper development of innovative experiences and the evaluation of any pedagogical project unfeasible. This has gradually become more and more evident as an objective cause of the poor quality of teaching in the public schools. It should, however, be considered a public rather than a circumstantial issue.” Though Sonia Penin believes that the individual teacher and the individual school can do a lot to improve the quality of the teaching, she points out that the responsibility is of course the politicians’: “There are objective and subjective factors that explain the poor quality of teaching in most Brazilian schools. To overcome the objective factor – such as salary, career and working conditions – it is necessary to address them as public issues and call for political action.” n By Eva Frydensberg Holm email@example.com
Sonia Penin Sonia Penin is the Director of the School of Education at the University of São Paulo – USP. She has, among other things, conducted research in teacher professionalism and job satisfaction.
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the international alliance of leading education institutes
The world’s first
thinktank on education
In August of 2007, deans from leading educational faculties and university schools convened at the National Institute of Education in Singapore to lay the foundation of the world’s first think-tank on education: The International Alliance of Leading Education Institutes. From now on, the deans will meet every year to present their institutions’ educational research and recommendations at an annual conference. The first of these conferences will take place at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, on 18 August 2008, and the theme will be teacher training. Singapore, who holds the chairmanship from 2007 to 2008, facilitated production of a joint comparative report. Based on this report, the nine deans will discuss and produce recommendations in the following fields: > The need for improved professionalisation of the teacher. > The need to attract students with better entrance qualifications. > The need for new partnerships to develop the relevance of components of curriculum in teacher education. 16 dpu quarterly
The Alliance The alliance will utilise existing strengths of each institution to 1
Speak with one voice on educational matters to raise the profile and quality of education with government, international agencies and the public at large.
Act as a forum for collaboration to develop understanding in order to address current local and global educational issues.
Be a think-tank that draws upon existing expertise and research-based evidence to generate ideas, anticipate trends and develop future scenarios. The aim of the Alliance is to influence policy decisions, secure funding and inspire research- and intervention efforts that will improve education locally and globally.
The participating members will also decide on a theme for the coming year’s work in the think tank. n
What the deans have to say Denmark
* Knowledge is a vital source of wealth in modern knowledge society. No less obvious is it that education contribute to a democratic development and coherence in society. And finally it is beyond discussion that knowledge, education and learning has become a global concern. This is why the Alliance is an important forum with two major objectives. Firstly, the Alliance must strive to improve collaboration among educational researchers globally: Research findings must be shared and theories and methods must be developed. International research projects must be facilitated as must international mobility of researchers and students. Secondly, the Alliance must ensure that educational research speaks with one strong voice on par with other economical and research-based communities. For these reasons, The Danish School of Education at Aarhus University is proud to contribute to the Alliance and to further its continued development. Dean Lars Qvortrup, The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University
* All nations and citizens agree on the importance of knowledge and education for the development of both people and countries, not least the poorest people, who demand improvements for their children. The new technologies and the increasing number and heterogeneity of students present new challenges to both countries and institutions. These institutions are forced to modify processes and management, teaching/learning, teacher/ student relationships, and the entire pedagogical approach due to technological/communicative changes. To that end, references and dialogue are indispensable tools, and the Alliance is a strategic forum where experts in education from different institutions and regions from all around the world can meet and exchange knowledge. The International Education Alliance may well become the primary catalyst for global educational changes. Dean Sonia Penin, Faculty of Education, University of Sao Paulo > dpu quarterly 17
the international alliance of leading education institutes
* As opposed to the social needs and requirements of the industrial age, the current information- and knowledgebased society highlights the importance of creating new knowledge to enhance and expand the overall quality of life and happiness. School education has also undergone tremendous changes.Teachers no longer ‘simply’ have to provide knowledge, they are now responsible for compounding and reorganizing immense amounts of knowledge and disseminating new and relevant knowledge in order to respond to new educational environments such as international student exchange and globalization of education and schooling. Therefore, we need a ‘teacher as a practical researcher or knowledge producer’, not just as traditional knowledge transmitter. Dean Cho Youngdal, College of Education, Seoul National University
People’s Republic of China
* In the knowledge society, educational research teaching will remain a top priority; however, research on education for teachers themselves shall also be at the top of our agenda. This justifies our efforts to organize an international alliance of leading educational institution. The joint efforts by the Alliance will contribute to our understanding of the context and standards of teachers’ professional development, and will hopefully influence the public opinion of the teaching profession. We consider internationalization an important strategic step to improve teacher education in China. We expect to work with the Alliance to communicate more effectively with the general public. Dean Zhang Binxian, Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University
* The International Alliance brings together some of the best university-based educational institutions in the world. They all conduct quality research that examines key educational issues, such as literacy development, the preparation of teachers, second-language learning, the uses of technology in teaching and learning, the role of citizenship in curriculum formation and much more. They all educate teachers who have a huge impact on students in their country. But they are also different, in ways that reflect the social, economic and political contexts in which they exist. By coming together, these institutions can inform each other and explore ways to improve what they do. Global connections are critical for all of us as we continue to lead the discussion and improvement of educational systems around the world. Dean Jane Gaskell, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
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the international alliance of leading education institutes
* The members of the international alliance lead the charge to improve the quality of education in their respective countries. Each institution has its individual strengths and international reputation for their teaching and research programmes. Collectively, however, their combined resources provide a much more far-reaching and powerful catalyst for change in the field of education. More significantly, the breadth and depth of such vast expertise, which is rooted in evidence-based research, represents the most credible, authoritative voice available that could influence government policies on key education issues. Professor Lee Sing Kong, Director, National Institute Of Education
* The International Educational Alliance is viewed by the Institute of Education as a partnership which has major significance as an international forum. It enables collaboration with our peers from across the world and crucially, with the knowledge society fast becoming a global entity, it allows members to contribute to the creative force which underpins much of the work we do in the field of education. The partnershipâ€™s strength derives from its members operating as equals, sharing research findings and combining areas of expertise on issues of global importance. Our main objective is to influence policy, inspire research and lead debate. Working together across our partnership there is an energy and vitality to our shared areas of working which, alone, we could not achieve. The impact of technology means that collaboration is increasingly supported and enabled, and our contribution to the knowledge society facilitated. For the Institute of Education, this work and this collaborative partnership are major priorities. We know that together we can be a major force for change and development Dr Mary Stiasny, Institute of Education, University of London
* The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is ranked first for research and research training in Australia. Its research is program-driven, addressing important questions, with large collaborative teams with outcomes designed to have high impact. Our strategic research initiatives focus on teachers and teaching; the education needs of Asia-Pacific knowledge economies; literacy intervention in young children; and education, equity and social identities in the 21st Century, all global issues. The Alliance increases the capacity to make significant advances addressing these and other global challenges in education through collaborative research and exchange. Dean Field Rickards, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
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The United States is a land of contrasts and differences, which is particularly evident in the educational system. Fast-track teaching certification programs may alleviate the teacher shortage, but at the same time it creates major educational inequity issues between those schools (and parents) who can afford highly qualified teaching and those who cannot. Ken Zeichner, Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reflects on the current recruitment challenges in the U.S. teacher educational system.
Public education is still a money matter In most of the Western world, privatization and market-driven enterprises challenge governmental institutions. The educational system is no exception, and in the U.S. it is undergoing major changes. Since the 1960s and into the 1990s, teacher education programmes in the U.S. have predominately been university-based. Now, however, competition from private educational programmes is emerging, including so called fast-track programs, where teachers do not necessarily need a university degree in education or practical teaching experience in order to teach in public schools. This move from university-based teaching programs to more alternative diploma-schools has also been strengthened by the Bush-administration’s education reform No Child Left Behind, which is aimed to allow schools more freedom to hire teachers; it is now possible for schools to hire ‘para-professionals’, for example.
These market-based diploma-schools emerge for a number of reasons. One is the shortage of teachers in the U.S., particularly in rural areas, or in big city schools with a large rate of minority pupils. 48 states in the U.S. now have legislation that allows teachers educated in alternative programmes to teach in public schools. Not all bad While a lot of research has pointed to problems that arise from these alternative teacher preparation programmes, such as teachers with little or no pedagogical and/or practical skills, research has also identified positive consequences from this development. Professor of Teacher Education Ken Zeichner from the University of Wisconsin explains: “The alternative teacher education programs obviously expand the recruitment pool to include minority dpu quarterly 21
teacher students. A lot of debate has been going on in the U.S. as to how we can make representation better and recruit coloured teachers for schools. And this is obviously one of the ways in which we can succeed in doing just that. Fast-track programs also allow more mature students to become teachers. Students that may have had a lot of experience from different professional fields,” Professor Zeichner comments, and he reflects on the possible negative aspects: “One serious drawback is that the pupils that need highly qualified teaching the most – the poor children – are being taught by the least qualified teachers. The fast-track teachers will have the academic qualifications, but they won’t know anything about how to teach, they won’t be familiar with the cognitive science about how people learn or know the pedagogical tools that are essential to teaching. Also, they will not know about cultural diversity or strategies for classroom management that you learn in the extended university teaching programs. This creates an inequity in the distribution of qualified teachers across the nation and thus a social gap between rich and poor.” Unequal funding makes for unequal access According to Professor Zeichner, the inequity issue is also tied to teaching salaries and the public funding in different school districts: “The less affluent public schools in for example urban areas cannot pay teachers as well as the schools in the wealthy suburbs, due also to the unequal distribution of funding. Therefore, the less affluent schools will only be able to attract the less qualified teachers. So the public schools in the poor areas become social dumping grounds rather than educational entities.”
Teacher training in the U.S. THREE DIFFERENT EDUCATIONAL MODELS DOMINATE IN THE U.S. 1 The dominant model is an undergraduate program at universities. Duration: four-five years. 2 Post-baccalaureate program where the student already holds a bachelor’s degree and attends one-two years of postgraduate studies. 3 Alternative certification programmes including fast-track programmes: 48 states, including New Jersey, Florida, California and Texas, have legislation that allow alternative certification in remote rural areas where there is a shortage of teachers, or in urban public schools with large rates of minority pupils. In schools that have subject-based teacher shortage, schools are often allowed to recruit teachers with academic degrees from private enterprises.
A STUDENT CAN EARN A UNIVERSITY LEVEL TEACHER DEGREE AT THESE THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF UNIVERSITIES: A
Liberal arts colleges
Regional state universities
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No Child Left Behind Act The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). NCLB is the primary federal law concerning education, from kindergarten through high school. Proposed by President Bush shortly after his inauguration, the NCLB Act was passed on 8 January 2002. NCLB is based on four principles: Accountability for results, more choices for parents, greater local control and flexibility, and an emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research. Source: www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml.
Do you think a market-driven teacher certification system will benefit the American children? “No. I think they are dangerous. We have an extremely high turnover in the schools that hire fast-track teachers. In fact, some research has revealed that in large urban school districts, 60 percent of the teachers leave within five years. This high turnover can never benefit school children who need consistent, highly qualified teaching,” says Zeichner and continues: “The real issue here is that by promoting these fasttrack programs, the government tries to privatize public education completely. They have privatized everything from war to health care services; we nearly have more private soldiers in Iraq than we have regular troops. And now the public schools and universities have been selected as the next target. When I came to this university thirty-two years ago, the government contribution to the budget at my public university was over 50 percent, now it is below 19 percent. This is a common situation at public universities in the US.” Ideology aside, what is the point of privatizing public education? “The problem is that government officials look at the public schools and see a lot of failure. They base their opinion on standardized tests and forget to look at the whole picture. They don’t take into consideration that programs like No Child Left Behind, which was supposed to raise the educational standard and even out social differences in public schools, was extremely insufficiently funded and could not be realized within their budgets. They don’t address the fact that better education needs better and greater investment. Now we have private companies, for example in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, running charter schools that, research shows, do not do a better job than the public schools.” Loan forgiveness – a positive recruitment strategy A number of incentives have been, and are being, tried out in the U.S. in order to recruit teachers for public schools. Some schools in California, for example, are trying to offer teachers higher salaries in schools in high poverty areas. Another important initiative was proposed by the democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, Professor Zeichner says: “Kerry proposed an important loan forgiveness program, and had he been elected it would have changed our educational system for the better. Take my son for
example, who teaches at a high poverty urban high school. He got his degree in History and Spanish and took a post-baccalaureate degree in teaching. He came out eighteen months later and $ 20.000 the poorer. Had he been granted loan forgiveness for taking a teaching job in a poverty area, his incentive would have been so much larger. If Barack Obama is elected, I believe we will see more of such incentives where you focus on a positive recruiting rather than the negative one we have now, because the neo-liberals believe the market will take care of recruitment issues by itself.” Reforms need to happen simultaneously Professor Zeichner also points out problems inherent in the college-based teacher education system, for example the slim connection between the student’s practical field experience and his/her academic experience: “In the mid 1980s, the concept of simultaneous renewal of university teacher education and of the public schools was introduced – the idea that one cannot reform one without reforming the other. This has been a productive way of thinking in order to minimize the distance between the two parts of teacher education. Besides, attempts at partnerships (PDS programs) between the universities and public schools seem to help bridging the gap between the student teacher’s academic knowledge and his or her field experience. The partnerships have also made university faculty become more
Professor Ken Zeichner’s advice on what needs to be done in the U.S. teacher education – and perhaps also in other countries > Greater government and societal investment in public education and in public higher education. > Positive incentive-initiatives such as loan forgiveness programs to student teachers for hard-to-staff schools. > The recruiting of more minority teachers. This needs to begin already by investing and improving education in secondary schools and helping the minority students get to university-level education (so they can become teachers).
involved in the clinical aspects of teacher preparation and in working with schools,” Professor Zeichner says. Cut the paper work In addition to the low status of the teaching profession, which acts as a barrier against the attempt to recruit more students to teacher training, Ken Zeichner points to another obstacle, viz. the sheer amount of documentation that teacher educators need to provide for the government. He points out that not only have the teachers and universities lost many resources, but the accountability demands are increasing at the same time: “What we have to do in order to get approval from the state education department for our teacher education programs requires more work, and we have fewer resources to provide that documentation.This bureaucracy does not address the quality of what teacher educators are doing in the classrooms. It is like evaluating medical schools on how many patients they have or lawyers on how many cases they win or lose,” Professor Zeichner says. The times they are a’ changing To Ken Zeichner, the future looks bleak for public education and teacher education in the U.S. However, things may be about to change: “All people love their kids. And people are fed up with the current situation - and I’m not only talking about Democrats.” According to Professor Zeichner, a well-functioning educational system is tied up with other aspects of society, such as a well functioning health-care system and people being able to put food on the table. Therefore, Professor Zeichner believes that, aside from the political change that may happen at the next presidential election in November 2008, which in Professor Zeichner’s opinion will change at least the ideological climate surrounding governmental funding of the public school system, it is important for both the American people and its legislators to look at education from a holistic point of view. People also need to review their attitude towards public education and towards the hard-working teachers who try to make a difference in it, Professor Zeichner says, but the number one priority is still the same old song; to invest more time and money in public education. n By Mette Bom
> Higher teacher salaries. > Change the model of accountability: The tight control of the work of teachers has become stronger and is driving good people out of teaching. The goal is to professionalize teaching in terms of working conditions and the ability of teachers to exercise their judgment in their classrooms to a greater extent than at present. Reasonable forms of accountability can be created within this framework. > Strengthen formal partnership programs between university research institutions and the public schools in order to establish teacher preparation and professional development programs that better utilize the strengths and resources of both institutions. Professional development schools are one way in which teacher educators in the U.S. are attempting to do this. Read more about such partnerships programs here: www.education.wisc.edu/eas/more/SpecialFEPrograms.asp
Ken Zeichner Ken Zeichner is Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Teacher Education at The School of Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a PhD from Syracuse University, 1976. His field of expertise is teacher education. Zeichner’s scientific production includes papers on teacher recruitment strategies, universitybased and alternative teaching certification programmes in the U.S. and social justice teaching programmes.
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Chinaâ€™s challenge is not really to attract more teacher students but to attract those with the best qualifications and to motivate them to work in rural areas. Upgrading programmes and reward systems are some of the strategic tools employed.
Wanted: Chinese teachers with higher qualifications 265 million Chinese children and youngsters are below the age of 14. They represent more than 20 percent of the total Chinese population and will eventually shape the future of their country as China becomes a marketdriven knowledge society. Much depends, however, on the teachers in the children’s classrooms. And even more depends on where the classrooms are located, it seems. Children living in major cities such as Beijing, Canton, Taipei are more likely to go to school every day and be taught Mathematics, Chinese, Physics and other subjects by highly qualified teachers. Children living far from the major cities are not always this lucky. Motivating teacher students to teach in rural areas is one of the major challenges for the Chinese educational system faces in China. Until the early 1990s teacher graduates were often assigned jobs in so-called ‘work units’ as a part of a centralized manpower planning. Market forces have changed this fundamentally. “We have a serious problem,” says Zeng Xiaodong, associate professor and associate Dean for Research and International Exchange at Beijing Normal University. “The state pays one part of a teacher’s salary and this portion is the same no matter where you teach. The other part of the salary depends upon how much money the school is able to raise.” As China experiences major changes during the transition to market economy and the knowledge society, the wealth gap between urban and rural areas widens. The average annual income of urban residents reached
CNY 12,000 (USD 1,710) in 2006, while the average rural resident earned a third of that, or CNY 3,500 (USD 520). Thus, a teacher would earn almost three times as much in a city than in the country. In some of the best urban schools a teacher can make up to CNY 90,000 (USD 13,080) a year. In rural areas, a primary school teacher will typically earn CNY 30.000 (USD 4,360) annually. “Teaching is generally considered a relatively steady and secure profession. The income gap, however, has a major effect on the quality of teaching,” Zeng Xiaodong says. Free tuition Normally, teacher students pay a tuition fee for their education. However, in order to overcome the self-reinforcing effect of less qualified school teaching in poor areas and to support the development of education, the government has introduced free tuition for a number of teacher students from rural areas. The students will achieve four years of free undergraduate study at a so-called ‘normal university’ which only provides teacher education, unlike ‘comprehensive universities’ that do not educate the students for a specific profession. The student teachers who get free tuition also receive free accommodation and have their living expenses subsidized. In return, they must teach for at least ten years in primary or secondary schools in their native area. “The system of free tuition is a specific strategy to dpu quarterly 25
improve the academic level and knowledge of teachers in poor and rural areas,” Xiaodong explains. “I hope this recruitment strategy to attract teachers to teach in rural areas is only a temporary solution. If normal universities like Beijing Normal University are forced to remain specialized exclusively in teacher education, we will not be able to develop in a researchoriented way, nor will we be able to broaden our professional perspective by incorporating the Humanities and the global future or increase the number of subjects offered to our students.” Today, the normal universities only teach Mathematics, Chinese and Chemistry and seven other school-related subjects that provide the student teacher with a very narrow subject–oriented and specialized knowledge to convey to the children in the classrooms afterwards. It is currently not possible for the student teacher instructor to go beyond the curriculum and employ a more systematic approach to, for instance, quality tests or economic analysis it cannot be employed by the normal university as it is now. In Zeng Xiaodong’s view, the normal universities and the Chinese society would be better off educating teachers in a more open and innovative professional environment. More practical experience Beijing Normal University is currently experimenting with different methods and initiatives to upgrade the future teacher’s qualifications. The main focus of these initiatives is to supplement the traditional academic skills with practical experience as the demand for teacher training has increased. “Practical skills will be the main qualification needed from now on. Teachers need to know how to encourage
Teacher training in China A student’s result in the national matriculation examination (Gaokao) is essentially the sole criteria for admission to teacher education institutions. The majority of Chinese teachers achieve a bachelor’s degree after four years of studying a specific subject at a ‘normal university’. > Normal universities are specialized in teacher education and provide bachelor graduates approximately two months of practical experience. > It is also possible to achieve a bachelor degree from a comprehensive university and become a teacher without any practical teaching experience. > Traditionally, the teacher education has focused on academic skills in one particular subject, but a recent reform of the educational system has established the importance of practical skills.
What is the primary challenge for teacher education in China? “Today, teacher education in China pays very little attention to social studies and children’s behaviour. If a student teacher studies Mathematics at a normal university, he or she will spend almost the entire four years at the university studying this specific subject. Graduates from comprehensive universities can even become teachers without any teaching-related studies at all. Practical skills are crucial.”
Which direction should the development of the teacher education take? “The current system of higher education is inspired by the former Soviet Union, and this means that the ‘normal universities’ only provide teacher education. If the normal universities have to focus solely on teacher education in the future, the development will be very narrow. We would like the normal universities to become more open and comprehensive.”
children, organize student activities and communicate with parents as well,” Zeng Xiaodong says. Traditionally, the practical components of teacher education has been given low priority compared to the subject-specific skills that dominate the curriculum and take up more than 70 percent of the total study time. Pedagogy, Psychology and introductions to essential aspects of educational theory and method as well as teaching practice only take up six to ten percent of the curriculum, which Zeng Xiaodong feels is insufficient. Beijing Normal University has introduced a model called 4+2, which includes a postgraduate program: “This is how we have been able to be innovative at the normal university. The extra two years of education provide the teacher students with more didactic knowledge about teaching and learning. The teacher students will also learn about children’s behaviour and special needs,” says Zeng Xiaodong. Teachers with these improved qualifications are in high demand at the prestigious high schools. The societal experience in regards to teacher expertise is on the rise, and this is why the Chinese now focus on improving teacher qualifications. This leads us back to one of the main challenges that China’s educational development still faces: How teacher education can help balance out the wealthy Chinese families’ expectations of elite education with the government’s efforts to achieve greater equality in public education. n By Birgitte Raben
> Teachers in senior high schools (upper secondary) must hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Children in senior high school are between 15 and 18 years old. > Teachers in junior high schools (lower secondary) must at least hold a junior college certificate. Children in junior high school are between 12 and 14 years old. > Teachers in primary schools must have a high school graduation cer-tificate. Children in primary school are between six and 11 years old.
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Zeng Xiaodong Zeng Xiaodong is associate professor and associate Dean for Research and International Exchanges at Beijing Normal University.
Government policy determines the success or failure of partnerships In Britain, teacher training is organised as a partnership between the higher education institutions and the schools. Professor Chris Husbands from the Institute of Education, University of London, believes that the partnerships are a great idea, but that partnerships would be more successful, if the political establishment had greater confidence in the educational system.
Apparently, partnerships represent the best known method globally to redefine teacher professionalism. At least, there is no substantial criticism of the approach, which seems to be in use all over the world. Partnerships between schools and universities mean that the partners share responsibility for the preparation of teachers and students’ learning. Among other things, this means that they provide distinctive and complementary contributions to students’ learning and make professional development of teachers more effective. The development in Britain demonstrates some of what it takes for partnerships between schools and institutions of higher education to be successful, as well as some of the pitfalls. The partnerships between higher education institutions and the schools became a statutory requirement in the UK in 1992. Chris Husbands, who is professor and dean at the Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy, University of London, believes that the partnerships are a success.Yet, the success could have been greater if the central political role had played a less controlling role. He says: “I believe that there is much evidence that the success could be even greater. From the mid-nineties, little patience and great mistrust of the teacher educators have ruled from political quarters. And in a low-trust
Teacher training in England Teacher training in England is either undergraduatre (four year), postgraduate (one year) or employment based. Within this: > All training is extensively school based – in a one year (36 week) post graduate course, 24 weeks is school based for secondary students and 18 weeks for primary. Training is delivered by school-university formal partnerships. > About 85% of training is via such partnerships; about 15% is through employment based (wholly school-led) provision. > The post-graduate training as pitched at masters’ level and candidates earn credits to normally 1/3 of a masters’ degree > Secondary training is subject-based. > The focus is on professional training rather than theoretical preparation.
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environment, people are not even allowed to handle their own business. The teacher training in Britain is still very severely controlled by the state. And the fundamental target for the Government is that there are enough teachers for the right subjects. The political will to avoid a teachers’ shortage is big.” Efficient political control According to Chris Husbands, the political control has proven very efficient: “In my opinion, partnership-based initial teacher training has been a success. Since 1994, the teacher training in England and Wales has been financed by one single government agency – the Training and Development Agency for Schools – which differs from the agency otherwise financing main-stream higher education institutions. It was extremely controversial when the separation first became a reality. But in relation to teacher training reforms, the agency has enabled the government to operate very efficiently when it comes to introducing this construction,” Chris Husbands says. He explains that innovation and the development prior to 1992 depended on individual institutions. Today the Training and Development Agency handles policy changes, and not least the implementation of these changes centrally, using funding to support development across the sector. One possible outcome of this is far more uniformity between the teacher training programmes at the British universities compared to the rest of the world. The blunt way to establish the government’s success is that the lower level of the teacher training is higher than previously. The negative consequence of a rather centrally controlled teacher training system is that diversity and innovation across the system is less prevalent. “The quality of the teacher training has improved, and there is some evidence that it has created teachers who possess better practical skills, however, the more inventive aspects of the training have declined,” Chris Husbands says. The purpose of the partnership 30 years ago the teacher training in Britain was completely managed by the higher education institutions. However, in the beginning of the 1980s a movement
which worked on enhancing the schools’ role in the teacher training emerged. In 1992, an act was adopted requiring that the higher education institutions and the schools should work together in formal partnerships, as well as allowing groups of schools to establish their own teacher training programmes. Students who attend primary post-graduate courses spend 50 percent of their time on placement in schools, and the students at conventional secondary post-graduate courses spend 66 percent of their time at school. The model is now a highly school-based model, and it is based on formal partnership agreements. But why did they change the legislation? Which problem should the partnership constructions solve? ”The background of the policy was largely in political concerns about whether new teachers were sufficiently prepared for classroom management, behavioural management and student management in general. Part of the solution to this was to increase the time spent in the schools and to increase the formal role played by schools when training the teachers,” Chris Husbands says. So the idea was to create initial teacher training which was more practice-oriented and not the current research-oriented teacher which we know today? “That is correct. At first it was a highly craft-oriented model, based on the idea that effective teaching depended on a set of craft skills. The idea of the research-oriented teacher was not introduced until later. In fact, the research-oriented teacher is precisely what should arise by way of the partnerships if schools and universities really are collaborating. It is also important to be aware of the fact that this partnership model would never have been introduced in Britain unless a period with sharp educational restructuring had occurred. The financial management became the responsibility of the schools, which became more autonomous. And part of this autonomy implied that the schools had to play a bigger role in the teacher preparation.” An act in imbalance The expectations for the partnerships were great, but one of the reasons why the partnerships did not come off as expected was probably that the partnership idea did not meet the mutual obligations and rights characterising successful cooperation. Chris Husbands explains: “The implementation of the partnerships has not lived up to the expectations: Many believed that it would produce a training school model similar to the hospital sector with its teaching hospitals. A fundamental obstacle for the realisation of this is probably the imbalance influencing the act from 1992. The imbalance is a result of the fact that the higher education institutions must work together with the schools, however, nowhere does it say that the schools must work together with the higher education institutions. Schools are not required to be involved in the teachers’ training, but universities must work with schools. This implies that the higher education institutions are facing a considerable managerial job of finding enough schools which can be used for training their students. Thus, the higher education institutions hold the managerial role, just as they are financially responsible for the training.”
Chris Husbands about the challenges of teacher training What is the main challenge for teacher education, both in England and abroad? Recruitment of adequate candidates is a serious problem, but in the longer term, the challenge of preparing new teachers for exceptionally rapidly changing schools in the wake of rapid economic, social, technological and policy change. Could you identify a country from which we could learn more about teacher training? I would say Finland because of the high status of teachers, but I think we can also learn a good deal from Ontario where teaching is also high status and where there seem to be relatively few supply problems.
Trust in partnerships Various problems are caused by this imbalance. One of the problems is that after one and a half decade with partnership initial teacher training, the situation remains unchanged – viz. that many initial teacher training practitioners struggle with the split identities they are faced with: The need for them to operate as successful higher education academics and at the same time as ‘model’ classroom professionals. “We still hear that argument. There is, however, some evidence that more people agree on the purpose of the initial teacher training. In certain cases we even have impressive results from the cooperation between the higher education systems and the schools,” Chris Husbands says. He points out the strong status of the partnership constructions in Britain: ”Of course work needs to be done to understand in more detail what constitute effective conditions in the schools to support not only the individual initial teacher learning but also to sustain the teacher learning in time and at scale. Nonetheless, there is no appetite in England – from schools, government or initial teacher training institutions to lessen the place of partnership in neither the management of initial teacher training nor, more generally, the leading role given to schools for much of the initial teacher training.” n By Claus Holm firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Husbands Chris Husbands is MA, PhD and PGCE at the Institute of Education, University of London Dean of Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy Professor of Education Department of Learning, Communication and Curriculum
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Teacher Training for the 21st Century in Korea The Korean educational system is not capable of satisfying the requirements of the knowledge and information society. Only one third of the pupils in a classroom are able to follow the teaching. The rest lag behind. A new six-year teacher training programme may overcome the crisis, Dean Cho Youngdal from Seoul National University believes. 30 dpu quarterly
In 2004, Korea could boast of its top ranking in OECD’s PISA measurements. In fact the Korean school system took the lead in reading and also did well in mathematics and science. And yet Dean Cho Youngdal, College of Education, Seoul National University, does not hesitate to state that the Korean school system is going through a real crisis. “We have classrooms which literally collapse because only one third of the pupils in the class are able to follow the teacher’s teaching. As things are now, the teachers in the municipal schools are not good enough. They are not capable of providing the pupils with the necessary tools to enable them to manage in an information- and knowledge-based society. Parents who are well off pay a high price for their children to take private lessons after school. Parents who are poor are not able to offer their children the same and the result is increasing inequality.” An ancient Korean saying goes ‘One should step on the shadows of one’s teacher’. The saying tells us
something about the didactic and result-oriented educational style which traditionally characterised the Korean school system. In recent years, the Korean society has implemented a number of reform measures with the purpose of modernising the school system. Among other things, they have aimed to improve the teaching qualifications of the teachers by adopting good examples from e.g. the USA and Britain where the teaching is more centred on the pupils. But according to Dean Cho Youngdal, the fact is that the teachers are not good enough at creating and providing teaching which is up-to-date and that the school system is still very examination-oriented. The solution is a better teacher training programme Cho Youngdal is sure that a new teacher training programme is required to overcome the crisis in the public educational system. The teachers are not only responsible for providing school education. They also have the obligation to take care of the future of the public education system in Korea. Therefore, they must, as Cho Youngdal puts it, be trained with intellectual excellence, a strong sense of moral integrity, the professionalism to lead the pupils and research capabilities. According to Cho Youngdal, one solution could be to change the present four-year college training into a sixyear model. This will result in better teachers – and not least get rid of the bad ones. Each year, 50,000 teachers graduate in Korea, however, 30,000 of the 50,000 teachers do not have college training but have attended courses and graduate schools of education. Of the 50,000 teachers, only 10,000 get a job at a municipal school. “I believe that 70% of the graduates will get a teaching job in the primary school if we can have this new system with a six-year college training model. This will also imply that other institutions using teacher certifications will disappear because they don’t have the possibility of offering such a good teacher training programme. Until now, we have several institutions which may issue teacher certifications. There will be no room left for these institutions if we improve our college training,” Cho Youngdal says.
siderations about the new teacher training programme is the upgrading of the teachers’ intellectual level. “In order to meet the ever-increasing demands and responsibilities, teachers cannot restrict themselves to simply providing knowledge. Teachers should become researchers who actively participate in establishing new knowledge for teaching and connecting their specialty to problem-solving in the educational field.” But according to Cho Youngdal it should be a practical researcher and not just an academic researcher. Practical experience must play a bigger role than now in the Korean college training. “In fact, in order to practice the theories and knowledge they have obtained, to have the capability to manage a class, to provide sufficient guidance to students and to carry out the myriad other tasks required of a teacher, students in Colleges of Training should be provided with at least six months of practical training instead of the one month they have now. Thereby, they will have the opportunity not only of having a true experience of the real classroom, but also the opportunity to examine his or her capabilities and suitability, which will be beneficial for those students who want to become teachers.” According to Cho Youngdal, the term ‘practical researcher’ in school and classrooms means that teachers would discover something and obtain knowledge of better teaching. It will enable them to answer questions such as: What is a good relationship between teacher and students in teaching? And how can I compose a kind of knowledge bank in the aspect of everyday life for particular students placed in multicultural background? n By Claus Holm email@example.com
CHO YOUNGDAL CHO YOUNGDAL is dean of the College of Education, Seoul National University.
A practical researcher One of the weighty arguments of Cho Youngdal’s condpu quarterly 31