1 . 0 INTRODUCTION
One of the sectors which usually fosters national development is schooling by ensuring the development of a functional individual resource. The institution of solid educational structures leads to a community populated by enlightened people, who can cause positive economic progress and social transformation. A Positive social transformation and its associated economic growth are achieved as the people apply the abilities they learned while they were in school. The acquisition of these skills will be facilitated by one individual we all ‘teacher’. For this reason, nations seeking economic and social developments need not ignore educators and their role in national development.
Teachers are the major factor that drives students’ achievements in learning. The performance of teachers usually determines, not only, the quality of education, however the general performance of the students they will train. The teachers themselves thus ought to get the best of education, so they can in turn help train students in the most of ways. It is known, that the high quality of teachers and quality teaching are some of the most important factors that shape the learning and social and academic growth of students. Quality coaching will ensure, to a large extent, teachers are of very high quality, so as to be able to properly manage classrooms and help learning. That is why teacher quality remains a matter of concern, even, in nations where students consistently obtain high scores in international exams, like Trends in Mathematics and Technology Study (TIMSS). In such countries, instructor education of prime importance because of the potential it has to cause beneficial students’ achievements.
The structure associated with teacher education keeps changing in almost all countries in response to the quest of producing teachers who be familiar with current needs of students or just the demand for teachers. The changes are attempts to ensure that high quality teachers are produced and sometimes just to ensure that classrooms are not without any teachers. In the U. S. The, how to promote high quality teachers has been an issue of contention and, within the past decade or so, has been motivated, basically, through the methods prescribed by the No Child Left Behind Act (Accomplished Ca Teachers, 2015). Even in Japan as well as other Eastern countries where there are more instructors than needed, and structures have been instituted to ensure high quality teachers are usually produced and employed, issues in relation to the teacher and teaching high quality are still of concern (Ogawa, Fujii & Ikuo, 2013). Teacher education will be therefore no joke anywhere. This article is in two parts. It first talks about Ghana’s teacher education system and the second part looks at some determinants of quality teaching.
2 . zero TEACHER EDUCATION
Ghana has been producing deliberate attempts to produce quality educators for her basic school classrooms. Since Benneh (2006) indicated, Ghana’s aim of teacher education is to provide a finish teacher education program through the supply of initial teacher training and in-service training programs, that will produce competent teachers, who will help improve the effectiveness of the teaching and learning that goes on in schools. The Initial instructor education program for Ghana’s fundamental school teachers was offered in Colleges associated with Education (CoE) only, until very recently when, University of Schooling, University of Cape Coast, Main University College and other tertiary establishments joined in. The most striking difference between the programs offered by the other tertiary institution is that while the Universities teach, examine and award certificates for their students, the Colleges of Education and learning offer tuition while the University associated with Cape Coast, through the Institute of Education, examines and award certificates. The training programs offered by these institutions are attempts at providing several qualified teachers to teach in the schools. The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher training programs in order to ensure quality.
The National Accreditation Panel accredits teacher education programs in line with the structure and content of the courses proposed by the institution. Hence, the courses run by various organizations differ in content and framework. For example , the course content for the Institute of Education, University of Cape Coast is slightly completely different from the course structure and content material of the Center for Continue Education and learning, University of Cape Coast and none of these two programs matches that of the CoEs, though they all honor Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) after three years of training. The particular DBE and the Four-year Untrained Teacher’s Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) programs run by the CoEs are only similar, but not the same. The same can be said of the Two-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education, Four-year Bachelor’s education programs run by the University of Cape Coast, the University associated with Education, Winneba and the other Educational institutions and University Colleges. In effect despite the fact that, same products attract same clients, the preparation of the products are usually done in different ways.
It is through these types of many programs that teachers are ready for the basic schools – through nursery to senior high educational institutions. Alternative pathways, or programs through which teachers are prepared are seen to be great in situations where there are disadvantages of teachers and more teachers should be trained within a very short time. An average example is the UTDBE program, mentioned previously, which design to equip non-professional teachers with professional skills. Yet this attempt to produce more teachers, because of shortage of teachers, has the tendency of comprising quality.
Because noted by Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) the aspects that contribute to the problems of instructor education and teacher retention are varied and complex, but one particular factor that teacher educators are concerned about is the alternative pathways by which teacher education occur. The prime purpose of many of the pathways is to fast track educators into the teaching profession. This short-changed the necessary teacher preparation that potential teachers need before becoming classroom teachers. Those who favor alternative routes, like Teach for America (TFA), according to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) have defended their alternative pathways by saying that however the students are engaged in a short-period of pre-service training, the college students are academically brilliant and so possess the capacity to learn a lot in a short time. Others argue that in subjects such as English, Science and mathematics high are usually shortages of teachers, there must be a deliberate opening up of alternate pathways to good candidates which had done English, Mathematics plus Science courses at the undergraduate level. None of these arguments in support of alternative pathways, hold for the alternative instructor education programs in Ghana, in which the academically brilliant students shun teaching due to reasons I shall visit.
When the target is just to fill vacant classrooms, issues of quality teacher preparation is relegated towards the background, somehow. Right at the selection phase, the alternative pathways ease the requirement for attaining entry into teacher education programs. When, for example , the second batch associated with UTDBE students were admitted, I could say with confidence that entry requirements into the CoEs were not adhered to. The thing that was emphasized was that, the applicant must be a non-professional basic school teacher who has been engaged by the Ghana Education Service, and that the candidate holds a certificate above Simple Education Certificate Examination. The grades obtained did not matter. If this path had not been created, the CoEs may not have trained students who at first did not qualify to enroll in the regular DBE program. However , it simply leaves in its trail the debilitating impact compromised quality.
Even with regular DBE programs, I have realized, just recently I need to say, that CoEs in, specific, are not attracting the candidates with very high grades. This as I have learnt now has a huge impact on both teacher quality and teacher effectiveness. The fact is, teacher education applications in Ghana are not regarded as renowned programs and so applicants with higher grades do not opt for education programs. And so the majority of applicants who make an application for teacher education programs have, fairly, lower grades. When the entry requirement for CoEs’ DBE program for 2016/2017 academic year was published, I noticed the minimum entry grades have been dropped from C6 to D8 for West African Senior Secondary School Examination candidates. This fall in standard could only be attributed to CoEs’ attempt to attract more applicants. The universities too, lower their cut off point for education and learning programs so as attract more applicants. The universities as alleged by Levine (2006) see their instructor education programs, so to say, as cash cows. Their desire to generate income, force them to lower admission specifications, like the CoEs have done, in order to increase their enrollments. The fact that, admission standards are usually internationally lowered in order to achieve a goal associated with increasing numbers. This weak recruitment practice or lowering of criteria introduce a serious challenge to teacher education.
The Japanese have been able to make teacher education and teaching exclusive and therefor attract students with high grades. One may argue that within Japan, the supply of teachers considerably exceeds the demand and so regulators are not under any pressure to employ teachers. Their system won’t experience if they do all they can to choose higher grade student into instructor education programs. To them, the issues concerning the selection of teachers are more important that the difficulties relating to recruitment. However , in traditional western and African countries the issues concerning recruitment are prime. It is therefore because the demand for teachers far outweighs that of supply. Western plus African countries have difficulties recruiting teachers because teachers and the training profession is not held in high esteem. Teacher education programs consequently do not attract students who have very good grades. It is worth noting that, it is not the recruiting procedure just that determines whether or not teacher schooling will be prestigious, however recruiting candidates with high grades, ensures that after training, teachers will exhibit both characteristics essential to effective teaching — quality and effectiveness. Teacher education and learning can be effective if the teaching career is held in high esteem and therefore able to attract the best of applicants.
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Otherwise, irrespective of incentives put into place to attract applicants and regardless of the measures that will be put in place to strengthen teacher education, teacher schooling programs cannot fully achieve the purpose.
In order to strengthen teacher preparation, there is the need for teacher preparation applications to provide good training during the initial teacher training stage, and provide plus sustain support during the first couple of years after the teachers have been employed. For this reason Lumpe (2007) supports the idea that pre-service teacher education programs should make sure teachers have gained a good understanding of effective teaching strategies. Methodology classes therefore should center on effective training strategies. Irrespective of the pathway the courses program takes, the program must be structured such that trainees gain knowledge about pedagogy, besides the knowledge of subject matter. They should also get enough exposure to practical classroom encounter like the on-campus and off-campus training practice. Whether or not there is the need to fill up vacancies in the classroom due to the higher teacher attrition, many countries encounter, teacher preparation programs should aim at producing quality and efficient teacher and not just filling vacancies.
3 or more. 0 DETERMINANTS OF TEACHER HIGH QUALITY
Teacher quality has such huge influence on students’ learning. Anyone who has been in the teaching business will agree that teacher quality is central to education reform initiatives. Priagula, Agam & Solmon (2007) described teacher quality as an essential in-school factor that impact significantly on students’ learning. Quality educators have positive impact on the success of college students. Where the students have quality plus effective teachers the students create learning gains while those with ineffective teachers show declines. With respect to the classroom teacher, teacher quality is a constant process of doing self-assessment so as to have got professional development and a self-renewal, to be able to enhance teaching. For the teacher educator, an effective or quality teacher is one who has a good subject-matter and pedagogy knowledge, which the he/she can construct upon.
Outstanding teachers possess and exhibit many exemplary qualities. They have the skills, subject matter, and pedagogy to achieve every child. They help provide their students with the knowledge plus breadth of awareness to make nicely independent judgments. Three determinants of teacher quality will be considered here. They are; pedagogical knowledge, subject-matter articles knowledge and experience.