Review of Teacher Education in Scotland
Scotland’s educational institutions have a long tradition and are among the best schools in the world. This clearly reveals that teacher education in Scotland is on a very high level and that it meets the highest quality standards. However, it is also true that the quality of educational institutions and school security in Scotland varies greatly from one school to another. As a result, there is a lot of room for improvement in order to create a better consistency throughout Scotland and facilitate access to quality education to all young people in the country.
In order to be able to make improvements and elevate teacher education in Scotland to a higher level, it is necessary to review the existing system and both its strengths and weaknesses. The world has changed dramatically over the last few decades in both social and technological aspects, while the pace of change requires a continuous learning in order to adapt to the changes in all segments of life and to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to function in the society. And in order to enable the Scottish population to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world, the Scottish schools should prepare young people on today’s world and yet unknown future. This, however, requires appropriate changes in teacher education as well as the educational system as a whole because teacher education must not end at the Standard for Full Registration (SFR).
In addition to achieving greater flexibility in order to provide young people with up-to-date knowledge and skills, teacher education should also make proper adjustment to the latest scientific discoveries in respect to learning and education. For instance, the newest research has revealed that the knowledge and skills acquired during the first three years of life has a major influence on the individual’s later life. This means that pre-school education should receive more attention than it did in the past considering that the youngest children were often left with staff who did not necessarily had a degree. Lowering of the age of puberty and adolescence is another important thing the educational system will have to pay more attention to in the future, especially in respect to the transition stages.
Lastly, the role of a teacher has changed dramatically in the last few decades as well. Teachers are still looked up to by young people as experts in their field who have the highest level of knowledge, training and qualification. However, they role as educator has been extended to that of a carer, psychologist, social worker and in a way, the second parent. As a result, teacher education should involve more cooperation with parents and carers. Many schools in Scotland have become more integrated into the community but the amount and quality of teacher-parent cooperation varies greatly from one school to another as well as from teacher to teacher. In order to achieve consistency in regard to the new role of a teacher throughout the country as well as to provide a “21st century” education to young people between 3 and 18 years of age, schools and universities are urged to establish closer collaboration.