Instructor Education as well as Instructor High quality
Among the sectors which fosters national development is education by ensuring the development of an operating human resource. The institution of strong educational structures results in a culture populated by enlightened people, who is able to cause positive economic progress and social transformation. A Positive social transformation and its associated economic growth are achieved as the folks apply the skills they learned while they were in school. The acquisition of those skills is facilitated by one individual we all ‘teacher’ ;.Because of this, nations seeking economic and social developments need not ignore teachers and their role in national development.
Teachers are the major factor that drives students’ achievements in learning. The performance of teachers generally determines, not just, the grade of education, but the typical performance of the students they train. The teachers themselves therefore ought to get the very best of education, for them to consequently help train students in the very best of ways. It is famous, that the grade of teachers and quality teaching are a few of the main factors that shape the training and social and academic growth of students. Quality training will ensure, to a big extent, teachers are of high quality, in order to manage to properly manage classrooms and facilitate learning. That’s why teacher quality is still a matter of concern, even, in countries where students consistently obtain high scores in international exams, such as Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Such countries, teacher education of prime importance because of the potential it must cause positive students’ achievements.
The structure of teacher education keeps changing in almost all countries in reaction to the quest of producing teachers who understand the present needs of students or just the demand for teachers. The changes are attempts to ensure that quality teachers are produced and sometimes just to ensure that classrooms aren’t free of teachers. In the U.S.A, how to market top quality teachers has been a dilemma of contention and, for yesteryear decade approximately, has been motivated, basically, through the strategy prescribed by the No Child Left Behind Act (Accomplished California Teachers, 2015). Even in Japan and other Eastern countries where there are many teachers than needed, and structures have been instituted to make certain top quality teachers are produced and employed, issues relating to the teacher and teaching quality remain of concern (Ogawa, Fujii & Ikuo, 2013). Teacher education is therefore no joke anywhere. This short article is in two parts. It first discusses Ghana’s teacher education system and in the 2nd part looks at some determinants of quality teaching.
2.0 TEACHER EDUCATION
Ghana has been making deliberate attempts to make quality teachers for her basic school classrooms. As Benneh (2006) indicated, Ghana’s aim of teacher education is to provide an entire teacher education program through the provision of initial teacher training and in-service training programs, that will produce competent teachers, who may help improve the effectiveness of the teaching and learning that continues in schools. The Initial teacher education program for Ghana’s basic school teachers was offered in Colleges of Education (CoE) only, until quite recently when, University of Education, University of Cape Coast, Central University College and other tertiary institutions joined in. The most striking difference between the programs offered by one other tertiary institution is that while the Universities teach, examine and award certificates for their students, the Colleges of Education offer tuition while the University of Cape Coast, through the Institute of Education, examines and award certificates. Working out programs offered by these institutions are attempts at providing many qualified teachers to show in the schools. The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher training programs to be able to ensure quality.
The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher education programs on the basis of the structure and content of the courses proposed by the institution. Hence, the courses run by various institutions differ in content and structure. For instance, the course content for the Institute of Education, University of Cape Coast is slightly different from the course structure and content of the Center for Continue Education, University of Cape Coast and none of these two programs matches that of the CoEs, though all of them award Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) after three years of training. The DBE and the Four-year Untrained Teacher’s Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) programs run by the CoEs are only similar, although not the same. The same may be said of the Two-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education, Four-year Bachelor’s degree programs run by the University of Cape Coast, the University of Education, Winneba and one other Universities and University Colleges. In effect although, same products attract same clients, the preparation of the products are done in different ways.
It’s through these many programs that teachers are prepared for the basic schools – from nursery to senior high schools. Alternative pathways, or programs by which teachers are prepared are seen to be good in situations where you will find shortages of teachers and more teachers ought to be trained in just a very short time. A typical example could be the UTDBE program, mentioned previously, which design to equip non-professional teachers with professional skills. But this attempt to make more teachers, due to shortage of teachers, has got the tendency of comprising quality.
As noted by Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) the factors that contribute to the difficulties of teacher education and teacher retention are varied and complex, but one factor that teacher educators are involved about is the choice pathways by which teacher education occur. The prime aim of many of the pathways is to fast track teachers into the teaching profession. english and maths tutor online This short-changed the required teacher preparation that prospective teachers need before becoming classroom teachers. People who favor alternative routes, like Teach for America (TFA), based on Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) have defended their alternative pathways by saying that even although students are engaged in a short-period of pre-service training, the students are academically brilliant and so have the ability to learn a great deal in a short period. Others argue that in subjects like English, Science and mathematics where you will find usually shortages of teachers, there has to be a deliberate setting up of alternative pathways to good candidates who had done English, Mathematics and Science courses at the undergraduate level. None of those arguments in support of alternative pathways, hold for the choice teacher education programs in Ghana, where in actuality the academically brilliant students shun teaching due to reasons I shall come to.
Once the target is just to fill vacant classrooms, issues of quality teacher preparation is relegated to the background, somehow. Right at the selection stage, the choice pathways ease the requirement for gaining entry into teacher education programs. When, as an example, the 2nd batch of UTDBE students were admitted, I could say with confidence that entry requirements into the CoEs weren’t adhered to. The thing that was emphasized was that, the applicant should be a non-professional basic school teacher who has been engaged by the Ghana Education Service, and that the applicant holds a certificate above Basic Education Certificate Examination. The grades obtained didn’t matter. If this pathway had not been created, the CoEs would not have trained students who initially didn’t qualify to enroll in the standard DBE program. However, it leaves in its trail the debilitating effect compromised quality.
Even with regular DBE programs, I have realized, recently I must say, that CoEs in, particular, aren’t attracting the candidates with high grades. This as I have learnt now has a huge influence on both teacher quality and teacher effectiveness. The truth is, teacher education programs in Ghana aren’t regarded as prestigious programs and so applicants with high grades do not go for education programs. And so nearly all applicants who apply for teacher education programs have, relatively, lower grades. Once the entry requirement for CoEs’ DBE program for 2016/2017 academic year was published, I noticed the minimum entry grades have been dropped from C6 to D8 for West African Senior Secondary School Examination candidates.
This drop in standard could only be caused by CoEs’ attempt to attract more applicants. The universities too, lower their stop point for education programs whilst attract more candidates. The universities as alleged by Levine (2006) see their teacher education programs, so to express, as cash cows. Their need to earn money, force them to reduce admission standards, like the CoEs have done, to be able to increase their enrollments. The fact, admission standards are internationally lowered to be able to achieve a target of increasing numbers. This weak recruitment practice or lowering of standards introduce a serious challenge to teacher education.
The Japanese have been able to make teacher education and teaching prestigious and therefor attract students with high grades. One may argue that in Japan, the method of getting teachers far exceeds the demand and so authorities aren’t under any pressure to hire teachers. Their system won’t suffer if they do all they could to select higher grade student into teacher education programs. In their mind, the difficulties relating to the selection of teachers are far more critical that the difficulties relating to recruitment. However, in western and African countries the difficulties relating to recruitment are prime. It’s so because the demand for teachers far outweighs that of supply. Western and African countries have difficulties recruiting teachers because teachers and the teaching profession is not held in high esteem.
Teacher education programs therefore do not attract students who have very good grades. It’s worth noting that, it’s not the recruiting procedure only that determines whether or not teacher education is likely to be prestigious, however recruiting candidates with high grades, ensures that if training, teachers will exhibit the 2 characteristics essential to effective teaching – quality and effectiveness. Teacher education can succeed if the teaching profession is held in high esteem and therefore able to attract the very best of applicants. Otherwise, irrespective of incentives put in spot to attract applicants and irrespective of the measures which will be place in spot to strengthen teacher education, teacher education programs cannot fully achieve its purpose.