Teacher education refers to the policies and procedures designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school and wider community.
- Initial teacher training / education -a pre-service course before entering the classroom as a fully responsible teacher,
- Induction -the process of providing training and support during the first few years of teaching or the first year in a particular school,
- Teacher development or continuing professional development.
Teaching involves the use of a wide body of knowledge about the subject being taught, and another set of knowledge about the most effective ways to teach that subject to different kinds of learner; it therefore requires teachers to undertake a complex set of tasks every minute. Many teachers experience their first years in the profession as stressful.
A new teacher has to be taught the teaching profession (providing the support necessary to help the beginning teacher develop a professional identity, and to further develop the basic competencies that were acquired in college.)
We at Lingua Franca have put in place comprehensive systems of support to help teachers in their profession. Elements of such a program includes:
- mentoring: the allocation to each beginning teacher of an experienced teacher, specifically trained as a mentor; the mentor may provide emotional and professional support and guidance.
- input from educational experts (e.g. to help the beginning teacher relate what she learned in college with classroom reality)
- support for the process of self-reflection
Research suggests that such programmes can: increase the retention of beginning teachers in the profession; improve teaching performance; promote the teachers' personal and professional well-being.
Continuous professional development
The world that teachers are preparing young people to enter is changing so rapidly, and because the teaching skills required are evolving likewise, no initial course of teacher education can be sufficient to prepare a teacher for a lengthy career except Continuous Professional Development by which teachers reflect upon their competencies, keep them up to date, and develop them further.
A growing research base suggests that to be most effective, CPD activities should:
- be spread over time
- be collaborative
- use active learning
- be delivered to groups of teachers
- include periods of practice, coaching, and follow-up
- promote reflective practice
- encourage experimentation, and
- respond to teachers' needs.