Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Problem of Foundational Courses in Teacher Education

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Problem of Foundational Courses in Teacher Education

Article excerpt


The necessity of the foundational courses that take place in teaching courses in teacher education programs is a much-debated topic. Some writers argue that these courses are important since they help teachers and teacher candidates understand the dynamics in the process of teaching and learning and assist teachers in thinking extensively about the problems encountered while teaching so as to find rational solutions to the problems. On the other hand, some writers claim that there should not be any foundational courses in teacher education programs since teaching can be learned only by practice. Opponents argue that foundational courses cannot help teacher candidates. Since the 1950's, foundational courses have been taught in teacher education programs in Turkey. However, foundational courses were eliminated from teacher education programs, except psychology courses, by the Higher Educational Council (HEC) in the process of restructuring educational faculties in 1997. Even though there were not any scientific data supporting this decision, the decision has not been criticized. The HEC decided to bring new arrangements to teacher education programs in 2006. The foundational courses have been added back to teacher education programs with this arrangement. In this study, after examining the opinions and practices that are for and against the foundational courses, these courses have been evaluated in the light of the arrangements done by the HEC.

Key Words

Education Faculty, Teacher Education, Teaching Courses, Foundational Courses.

Teaching courses contain information and skills that teachers need in order to help their students understand a subject matter. Foundational courses take place in teaching courses in teacher education programs

The Place and Importance of Foundational Courses in Teacher Education

Foundational courses are the theoretical bases of educational practices. For this reason, these courses are called the foundational courses. These courses are provided to teacher candidates in the first years of teacher education programs. However, some educators argue that these courses should be distributed throughout the teacher education programs and be taught every semester. Those writers, who consider the importance of the role of history, philosophy, and sociology, claim that foundational courses are the center of the theory and practices related to education (Arnstine, 1984; Bernier & McClelland, 1982; Broudy, 1968; Greene, 1981; Jones, 1982; Nash & Agne, 1982).

The benefits of the foundational courses that have a considerable weight in teachers' sufficiency areas are as follows (Arnstine, 1984; Broudy, 1967; Cruickshank, 1985; Feiman- Nemser & Norman, 2000; Howell & Shimahara, 1969; Jones- Wilson, 1984; Reynolds, 1993; Sirotnik, 1990):

1) They create a bridge between the subject matter and teaching method courses

2) The foundational courses help teachers make connections between their experiences in schools and outside of schools.

3) They give teachers a foundation to overcome the problems that they meet in classrooms.

4) They enable teachers to analyze better the meaning, purpose, and effects of educational organizations.

5) They help teachers to better understand current social and psychological conditions and teach effectively.

6) Teacher can gain perspectives about the development of human beings in different social conditions, the formation of educational organizations, thus, making generalizations about various personal, economical, and political objectives.

7) They provide more extensive educational understanding than other courses do.

8) They help teachers understand better their role and responsibility as teachers.

9) Foundational courses enable the fragmented information that belongs to different scientific branches to be used in education. Experts in many scientific branches do not need to transfer the findings they have found to education. …

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