Strengthening Teacher Education: New Strategies and Practices

Manila Bulletin, November 22, 2003 | Go to article overview

Strengthening Teacher Education: New Strategies and Practices


STRENGTHENING Teacher Education: New Strategies and Practices has nine sections which are inspired by the fact that teacher education throughout the world is confronted with fast moving changes not only along technology, academe, facilities, but most importantly by the demand of students and society from the teacher. He/she is that professional teacher who guides and assists in the human development of the students who will be pillars of the country.

It is therefore the concern of this writer to present to the reading public this first article on Strengthening Teacher Education: New Strategies and Practices. Which is Teaching College Teachers to Become Professionals.

There are two types of teachers. They are the non-professionals and the professionals. The non-professionals do not bother going beyond the job of teaching without outside direction. The professionals go beyond, being able to do the job, without outside direction. They are interested in quality. Professionals are interested in doing the job well and they continually improve the way their job is done.

How then can we help college teachers as well as the practice teachers to become professionals? First, they need to know how to teach, and that they are given an opportunity to do that job of teaching the way they believe is best. They are clear on what they are expected to accomplish, and are equally sure that they have the opportunity to use the professional skills they learned. They learn to accept suggestions and continue learning new and better ways to practice their profession.

Second, within the boundaries of their teaching assignments, the college teachers need to learn to: understand the curriculum which is in accordance with national and local guidelines; use materials and resources they know are best and are most effective; and use a variety of methods of teaching, such as cooperative learning, self-learning through short-term modules, oral and written discussions of assignments and others that are commonly used. The use of evaluative techniques should follow after each activity to measure the acquired knowledge and skills of the students.

Third, we need to teach the college teachers to be interested in quality, to learn to value the importance of doing quality work. They should know how to give evidence that the work they do is of quality. It is this concept of quality that likewise distinguishes the professionals from the non-professionals.

These three needs are dependent on the support of the educational system, the community that recognizes its duty to support and promote teacher professionalism. The college teachers need to be equally aware that they have the continuing support and opportunity to use their professional skills and that they should be treated as professionals to improve the quality of the lives of their students as well as theirs.

The hallmark of a professional teacher is a commitment and dedication to quality: an interest in quality, valuing the importance of quality, that the work they do is of quality. A generalization that is accepted is that quality teaching leads to quality learning on the part of the students. The teacher becomes the model for interest in quality, knowledge of the importance of quality and of being quality students themselves.

Aside from the three needs of professional teachers, there are strategies or guidelines for training college teachers to achieve professional quality. William Glassers (1993: 2225) from his book, The Quality Teacher, mentions six guidelines.

The first is creating a warm and supportive classroom environment. The classroom is the main center of the teaching-learning environment. It is here where the college teacher learns to create a microsystemic environment that will enhance quality school work among the students. In the process of creating and developing this warm, relaxing and supportive environment, trust is being manifested by the students. …

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