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TEACHER’S TRAINING

Teacher education and training

29-Jul-2013 :

Times of India

With e-learning technologies playing a crucial role in classroom education across the globe, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to provide online training to more than 30,000 teachers across India.
The training will focus on imparting knowledge regarding Olabs – Online Lab Experiments of science and mathematics of secondary and higher secondary level education.

Vineet Joshi, chairman, CBSE said, “In order to adapt to the changing scenario of education, in the era of e-learning , Olabs will help overcome the limitations faced by both teachers and students, thus making learning more effective.”

‘Olabs – PAN India Content Delivery Network (CDN) for Elearning’ has been designed by the department of electronics and information technology. The project will be available on ERNET’s CDN Network across the nation. Implementation of Olabs in CBSE schools will be highly beneficial to students as well as teachers since schools suffering from infrastructure problems, budget constraints, large student-to-equipment ratio will be better equipped to teach students.

Olabs, will be available in English and regional languages, and will create awareness about the current trends in the field of information technology. 

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Centre plans to train teachers to handle special children

Access to education, Teacher education and training

NEW DELHI: In response to the thousands of children with disability entering regular schools as part of the Right To Education (RTE) Act, the government is planning to train teachers with special skills needed to handle them.

“Going by the 2001 census, India had 2.14 crore differently abled children whose numbers going to be around 2.45 crore by 2012. It is more than the population of many countries.
We are going to launch a big programme on teacher’s training,” Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday responding to a short notice question given by BJP member Tarun Vijay.

The minister said curriculum for bachelor of education and diploma in education courses will be altered to include modules on special skills so that teachers would be sufficiently trained from the beginning to handle children with disability.

While 61 per cent of 42 lakh teachers—close to 22 lakh—received three to six days training on special children, only 3 per cent teachers (1.27 lakh) received extensive 90 days of training meant for acquiring special skills required to teach children with different needs.

Sibal lamented that the states had not come forward with training and deployment of special teachers though it was primarily their responsibility.

Raising the issue, Vijay said children with special needs were getting raw deal as no state governments were implementing the Persons With Disability Act 1995 fully and there was a dearth of special educators making such children orphaned in schools.

Citing the examples of Delhi and Uttarakhand, the MP said none of them are equipped to handle children with special needs as mandated by law.

Deccan Herald, 22 May 2012

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Victoria-India partnership boosts teacher training

Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

MUMBAI: Maharashtra’s Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Rajesh Tope and Victoria’s Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher discussed new opportunities in Vocational Educational and Training (VET) for teachers in Mumbai recently.

Asher emphasised on education as a key sector for future mutual prosperity and increasing business and cultural ties between India and Victoria. She said, “Victoria already has a strong education partnership with Maharashtra, India’s third largest state and home to Mumbai, one of the nation’s most significant business hubs.”

The Victorian government provided $440,000 to Kangan Institute of TAFE to deliver vocational teacher training programmes in Maharashtra and Karnataka. In Maharashtra, 300 vocational teachers are taking part, working on modern methods of training and assessment to help prepare their students to be work ready.

Following the meeting with Tope and other education leaders, Asher took part in a presentation of certificates to teachers who completed the current vocational teacher training programme. The event was held during Victoria’s largest-ever trade mission to India, with more than 200 Victorian companies travelling on the mission to boost its two-way trade and investment relationship with India.

The Times of India, 07 March 2012

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Over six lakh candidates to take TET

Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

Over six lakh candidates are expected to appear for the State government’s first Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) scheduled to be held on June 3. With the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act that demands large-scale recruitment of teachers, the Teacher Recruitment Board, designated as the nodal agency, is gearing up to conduct the exam.

The exam is mandatory for secondary grade teachers and graduate assistants appointed for government, aided and unaided institutions on and after August 23, 2010, in accordance with the guidelines framed by the National Council for Teacher Education. Final year students of Diploma in Teacher Education (D.T.Ed) and Bachelor in Teacher Education (B.T.Ed.) are also eligible to apply for the test. Candidates must score at least 60 per cent in the test, as is mandated by the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET). But recruitment of teachers in government and aided schools in the State will also be based on the prescribed minimum qualification and their seniority in the Teacher Recruitment Board. Teachers must pass the TET within five years and the score would be valid for a period of seven years.

An official said such huge numbers are expected to take the test as two lakh graduate teachers are already registered with the employment exchange. There are also a sizeable number of teachers working in Central government schools outside the State who would be keen to seek employment in the State. About 30,000 vacancies are waiting to be filled in for secondary grade teachers and graduate assistants’ post, said the official.

Educationists, however, wonder if one more exam would ensure quality and committed teachers entering the professions. “Aren’t we only adding to the anxiety levels of a teacher bringing in more exams? We need to find simpler ways of recruiting teachers,” says S.S. Rajagopalan, educationist.

The sale of applications will start from March 22 and April 4 will be the last day for submission. They will be sold at various educational district offices in the State.

The Hindu, 12 March 2012

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Panel suggests new guidelines for teachers

Right to Education, Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

PUNE: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has framed new guidelines for teachers as per section 17 (1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. Under the new guidelines, teachers found discriminating against students on grounds of their physical disability, caste, colour, sex or religion will face strict action, which may include filing of a police case.

Speaking to TOI on Wednesday, NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha said, “The move come in view of several complaints received by the commission from across the country regarding teachers discriminating against students regarding their physical disability, religion, caste and even colour. The new set of guidelines is in context of the RTE Act and will be made public on March 5, the Foundation Day of NCPCR.”

The NCPCR has sent the new guidelines for approval to the Union ministry of human resource and development. “Once the ministry approves it , the guidelines will be implemented in every school in the country,” she added.

As per section 17(1) of RTE, no child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment. Speaking on how the new guidelines are different from those governing corporal punishment, Sinha said, “Though discrimination regarding physical disability, colour, sex and religion were not included in the guidelines for corporal punishment, we were receiving a lot of complaints related to these aspects. This made us decide that it was time we drafted new guidelines.”

Leena Chaudhari, principal, Symbiosis School, said, “I think the job of teachers is to educate children and not encourage any type of discrimination. Teachers should not bring these issues to school and, if they do, then I think they deserve to be punished.”

Anuradha Sahasrabudhe, founder-director of Pune Childline – a 24-hour helpline for children in distress and member of the Juvenile Justice Board, Pune, said, “There’s been a steady flow of complaints where students have been abused psychologically and mentally, which has lowered their confidence. Such cases are prevalent and the numbers are rising. The guidelines have come at the right time.”

Vinita Kaul, counsellor for Central Board for Secondary Education students, said, “There have been cases where students are abused by teachers on various issues. Therefore, drafting these guidelines was necessary. I alsofeel that if a student or parent complains, the genuineness of the complaint must be verified before initiating action. It’s like giving power which may be misused.”

The Times of India. 01 March 2012

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How to teach our teachers

Teacher education and training

On every Children’s Day, a lot is said on children’s right to have a joyful, creative education, and the need for a better future for under-served children, including girl children, among other things.

From November 15, it is “business as usual”. In a Government school a bright young child would be asked to read a particular lesson loudly, after which the whole class would repeat. Not many children would understand the content of the lesson – even less number of children would think about what it means. Caning of children by unscrupulous teachers would continue.

Individual learning needs of the children would not be identified and the gap in statistics between the forward class and backward class, or between the girls and the boys would continue to be twenty percentage points.

It is not that issues and solutions are unknown. Vital issues – such as radically reforming pre-service teacher education, revamping underperforming institutions such as the District Institute of Education Training, developing top class teacher educators, ensuring much higher and meaningful participation of parents in their children’s education – are discussed from time to time. However, the biggest bottleneck is translating these concepts into practice.

TEACHER EDUCATION

Let us take the example of Teacher Education. Everyone accepts that “teacher” is the most critical component in making quality education happen. The way teacher education is currently positioned is untenable and does not result in top quality professional teachers. In order that to happen, we need to completely professionalise pre-service teacher education.

A study of some of the developed nations – including the Scandinavian countries — reveals that they have immensely benefited by making it compulsory for every teacher to have a Master’s degree in teaching.

It addresses three critical aspects of a teacher – content knowledge (subject matter), pedagogy and a social perspective of the process of education. Thus, a proposal of a five-year integrated course after 12{+t}{+h} standard for every teacher makes enormous sense. In our complex socio-economic situation, we need teachers who are experimenters, scientists and researchers, besides being top-notch content experts.

There is a fair amount of agreement on the fact that the teacher eligibility test (TET) suggested under the Right to Education Act is an excellent way to ensure that everyone entering the teaching profession is of a certain quality – this of course, is provided the TET is of a fairly high standard.

During the next five years, the country needs to appoint and certify almost 2.5 million teachers to comply with the RTE Act. This is an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that high quality teachers enter the teacher stream.

Everyone involved is convinced that these ideas, if implemented right, have a high potential to change the quality of education in India.

RESISTANCE TO CHANGE

However, after arriving at this understanding, most discussions turn to ensuring that we don’t ruffle too many feathers.

The strategies that emerge seriously compromise the original ideas. Under the garb of democratic and participatory methods, we dilute the actions so much that they are likely to lead to only incremental changes without addressing fundamental issues.

Even those who are convinced of the merit of bringing about changes in teacher education propose to retain the training period at four years (same as current), rather than agree to an integrated five year professional programme, since they “don’t want to rock the boat”. Bureaucrats want to see concrete changes in their brief tenure of one year or so, and therefore reject any long term solutions. The administration prefers short-term programmes over fundamental changes to “show” some kind of change, rather than actually creating one. Nobody wants to bell the cat in convincing the teacher unions of the merits of the change required. In my opinion, the teacher unions would be quite reasonable in seeing the benefit to future generations.

We need to surely involve the stakeholders in deciding the best recourse in implementing policy decisions. But we cannot waste inordinate time in democratizing the process beyond a point.

The Hindu, 13 November 2011

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Students Today, Teachers Tomorrow? Identifying constraints on the provision of education

Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

Research: Policy research working paper
Authors: Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Abstract

This paper shows that public investments in secondary education facilitate future educational provision by increasing the local pool of potential teachers and therefore decreasing the cost of providing education. In other words, the students of today become the teachers of tomorrow.
There are two steps to the argument. First, the paper shows that the construction of government girls’ secondary schools (GSS) in Pakistan had a large causal impact on the education market: Estimates suggest that villages where such schools were constructed are 27 percentage points, or three times more likely to see private schools emerge in the following years. The focus on private schools is important since the private sector better reflects local market conditions and thus aids in the identification of the teacher supply channel. Secondly, the paper argues that GSS construction impacts private school location because it augments local teacher supply in an environment with low female geographical and occupational mobility.

For full length research paper, click here

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Third of trainee teachers shunning state schools

Teacher education and training

More than a third of students who start teacher training are still not working in state schools six months after courses finish, it was revealed.

Figures show just 62 per cent of students end up in state education as others either drop out of courses, shun the teaching profession altogether or get jobs in private schools.

It comes despite the fact that graduates are eligible for Government bursaries of up to £9,000 a year to train as school teachers in England.

The study, by Prof Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson, from Buckingham University, branded the training system “very wasteful”.
Prof Smithers added: “Each year we are putting five people through training just to provide three new teachers for state schools.”

Today’s report – The Good Teacher Training Guide 2011 – is based on an analysis of courses run in 2009/10.

At the time, all postgraduate students received Government bursaries of between £4,000 and £9,000 to train under a system set up by Labour.
Out of 39,103 students who started training that year, just 71.5 per cent were in teaching six months after courses finished.

Around 11 per cent failed to complete courses on time and a further 17.4 per cent were not in teaching, although some may have secured jobs after the six-month cut-off.

Almost one-in-10 were in private schools or other types of education and just 62.2 per cent had a job in state schools, it was revealed.
Responding to the findings, the Department for Education insisted it had since overhauled the teacher training system.

From September, bursaries have been abolished for all students other than those training to teach subjects suffering the greatest shortages, such as science, maths and foreign languages.

Ministers have also announced plans to refuse to fund students with third-class degrees in an attempt to raise teaching standards and train more staff directly in schools rather than universities.

“We know that we need to improve retention rates – that’s why we are reforming initial teacher training so that more time is spent in the classroom with a focus on the core skills a teacher needs, and ensuring there’s a better link between training and employment,” a spokesman said.

The report found that trainees were better qualified than previous years. Some 58 per cent of trainees had a 2:1 degree or better compared with 46 per cent when the report was first published 14 years ago.

But the study said this was consistent with trends of “grade inflation” in universities in recent years – not necessarily a sign of higher standards.

The report also said many subjects still “struggle” to find well-qualified students. More than a third of those training to teach foreign languages in 2009/10 had a third-class degree or worse. A quarter of maths and physics trainees were also in training despite having a poor degree grade.

The Telegraph, August 11, 2011

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Training of Teachers Is Flawed, Study Says

Teacher education and training

The National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy group, is to issue a study on Thursday reporting that most student-teaching programs are seriously flawed. The group has already angered the nation’s schools for teachers with its plans to give them letter grades that would appear in U.S. News and World Report.

The council’s report, “Student Teaching in the United States,” rated 134 student-teaching programs nationwide — about 10 percent of those preparing elementary school teachers — and found that three-quarters of them did not meet five basic standards for a high-quality student-teaching program.

When the U.S. News rankings are published, the student-teaching programs will count for one-fifth to one-third of an education school’s grade, according to Kate Walsh, president of the council.

“Many people would say student teaching is the most important piece of teacher preparation,” Ms. Walsh said. “But the field is really barren in the area of standards. The basic accrediting body doesn’t even have a standard for how long a student teacher needs to be in the classroom. And most of the institutions we reviewed do not do enough to screen the quality of the cooperating teacher the student will work with.”

Many of the nation’s 1,400 education schools have taken issue with the council’s ranking project.

“This report will generate some attention and discussion, but we don’t know how valid the analysis is,” said Sharon P. Robinson, president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. “They ask for a lot of documents, reviewed by people we do not know, against rubrics we are not privileged to see.”

In some areas, like the length of student-teaching placement, Dr. Robinson said, the council’s standards are less rigorous than what many education schools require. In others, she said, the standards actually go against the current direction of education overhaul.

“A school can lose points for not having absolute control over the selection of the cooperation teacher,” she said. “But we think these clinical experiences should be crafted in partnership with the schools, not dictated by either the principal or the education school.”

This year, officials from 35 leading education colleges and graduate schools wrote to the editor of U.S. News, criticizing the council’s methodology, and complaining about the “implied coercion” in the initial plan to use open-records laws to get information the schools would not supply voluntarily — or, if the information was unavailable, give the schools an F.

Among the 134 schools in the report, 12 asked not to be included; the council included them anyway, using public records requests to get information about the public institutions, and indicating with an asterisk institutions for which some information was unavailable.

The ranking plan is more popular among state education officials. In 10 states, the chief education officer has specifically endorsed the council’s project.

“This is shaping up to be quite a battle royale, not just between the education schools and us, but between K-12 education and higher ed, since state school officers want this information, but education schools are fighting it,” Ms. Walsh said.

The pushback might delay the rankings, which were to be published late next year, she said.

“Our schedule was predicated on schools voluntarily complying, as they do with all other U.S. News and World projects,” Ms. Walsh said.

Because some of the standards on which the education schools were ranked are subjective, some institutions ranked “poor” said they disagreed with that rating. Ten programs, or 7 percent, were rated as having “model” design; 17 percent had “good” design, and the rest were rated “weak” or “poor.”

Fayneese Miller, dean of the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont, the largest teacher-training school in the state, said she could not understand why her school got a “poor” — worse than the other two Vermont schools ranked — when hers is the only education school in the state that exceeds all state standards, the only one with national accreditation and the one with the longest student-teaching placements.

“We have no problem about being evaluated, but as you can imagine, I am not at all pleased about the way they conducted the study,” Dr. Miller said. “This has major implications for us in terms of our ability to attract and place our students.”

The council, however, said that, like many education schools, the University of Vermont’s did not meet its standards because it left principals too big a role in choosing cooperating teachers, and did not do enough to ensure that they are effective teachers who will be good mentors.

At New York University, rated “weak” — along with CUNY Lehman and SUNY Cortland, the other two New York institutions included in the report — Mary M. Brabeck, dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, also took issue with council’s methodology, saying that she would grade the report “poor.”

“It relies on standards that appear arbitrary and unsupported by research, and it uses them to draw incorrect conclusions,” Dr. Brabeck said in an e-mail.

For example, she said, N.Y.U.’s elementary education students must have four different placements, and 15 weeks of student teaching, more than required to meet the council’s standards. But because of the way the placements are structured, they are counted as not meeting the standards.

The New York Times, July 21, 2011

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Role reversal in Andhra Pradesh: Students to evaluate teachers

Teacher education and training

HYDERABAD: State schools will see a role reversal in their classrooms soon. Starting this academic year, students will be asked to evaluate the performance of teachers.

As per a decision taken by the department of school education, students of both private and government schools will be allowed to evaluate the performance of teachers in the classroom from this December.

The evaluation sheet will have questions on teachers ranging from their teaching skills to their attendance and also whether they are approachable. It will also evaluate the approach adopted by the teachers in class, especially towards students who are poor performers. The exercise is meant to be an extension of the project started by child protection committee about four years ago, whereby a complaint cell against teachers was set up. The process will become integral to the promotion of teachers as their marks will be taken into consideration during the annual appraisals in private schools. In government schools, the promotion of teachers will also depend on the marks given by students. A report on the performance of teachers will also be sent to the DEOs concerned. School education department officials said the DEO would ensure private schools enforce the programme.

Officials said that the teachers will be evaluated on a ten point scale. “We thought of a new evaluation process as the department felt that teachers should be accountable to students. The process will be introduced in classes V to X and we are even thinking of extending it to junior colleges that fall under the school education department,” said a senior official.

Teacher associations have, however, opposed the move stating that the government should not link the performance with promotions. “The government is already conducting tests to evaluate the teachers as per the instructions of the Right to Education Act. With this new evaluation, the pressure on teachers will mount. This is not a good trend,” said N Narayana from United Teachers Federation (UTF).

The Times of India, July 20, 2011

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