The Goal of Teacher Education Review
Scotland’s schools have a high reputation and respect both at home and abroad. However, not all are at the very top of the world’s best schools and not all teachers transmit knowledge and skills to their students in the best possible way. Many are described as being out of touch with the 21st century and the needs of the new generations which are very different to those in the early 1990s for instance. Young teachers, on the other hand, face great difficulties in finding employment, while many of them do not receive the necessary practical training before they start to work in classrooms. There will be always variations in teacher quality, however, there are ways to improve teacher education and achieve a higher level of consistency in respect to teacher quality.
One of the main goals of teacher education review is to determine which are the advantages of the existing system and which fields need improvements. A few weaknesses of the existing system were already mentioned above but there a number of other fields which need further improvement in order to prepare young teachers for the work in classrooms and help the longer serving ones to keep pace with the time. The example of the success of Scottish schools which have a history dating back a few centuries clearly indicates that experience and tradition is an advantage rather than disadvantages and the same counts for teachers who continue professional education and development throughout their career. These teachers are not only providing their students with the best education possible but they can also help their young colleagues to achieve their level of excellence and quality. At the same time, young teachers help their older colleagues by introducing them with up-to-date knowledge and pedagogical approach as well as enable them avoid the description of being out of touch with the 21st century and not understanding the specific needs of the new generations.
Another important goal of teacher education review is to prevent the teachers to sleep on their laurels because this is exactly what will earn them the reputation of being out of touch with the time a few years later. Teacher education is nearly a lifelong process and the Standard for Full Registration (SFR) is only the first step in the process. Being a good teacher requires continuing professional development but it also requires lots of communication, collaboration and sharing ideas with other teachers and educational institutions. Thanks to the progress of telecommunication technology, sharing experience, ideas and good practice has never been easier.
Through critical review of teacher education, the Scottish educational system will not only remain one the world’s best but it will also prepare the new generations for their future profession. After all, the school is intended to learn and to prepare for life after school in which the acquired knowledge and skills will have to be used in practice. And the society cannot afford to wait to see how well young people are prepared for life after school.