“Great teachers are not born, they are made”
I again and again talk about Pre-service Teachers’ Preparation in order to be professional in their fields because of many reasons, including my personal observation as a part of Education Department students in the past. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, together with ILO, UNICEF, UNDP, and Education International representatives in The Joint Message on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day in 2014, suggest that “[a]n education system is only as good as its teachers.” She and her team believe that “teachers are an investment for the future.” They then continue that “[e]quipping teachers to succeed is therefore a priority.” However, in the report from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) entitled Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments, First Results From TALIS, published in 2009, it is expressed that “[n]o matter how good pre-service training for teachers is, it cannot be expected to prepare teachers for all the challenges they will face throughout their careers.”. In relation to my project “A Community Learning Centre” that can be run by a university in order to facilitate its Education Department students to build professionalism, I will now elaborate the ideas around “Pre-service Teacher Training Concepts”, particularly what they need to know and to do.
Multiple studies suggest that there are many compelling points that teachers should know. In general, effective teaching can be possible through an on-going and continuous learning process and practice (OECD 2005; OECD, 2009). As mentioned earlier that even learning in the university cannot fully accommodate students with experience they need, pre-service students should be firm to start practicing teaching as early as possible. While teaching, student teachers should also be able to reflect themselves, so that they will constantly improve (Loughran, 2002). Loughran emphasises that “experience alone does not lead to learning; reflection on experience is essential”. In addition, teachers should be really motivated and passionate about their profession (Ames, 1990). By being so, they can also encourage and easily lead their students to gain knowledge and learn values of life both inside and outside the classrooms as they are the students’ role models. Similarly, Low and Ang (2011, p. 1119) state that:
“To be a teacher is really not about just getting a job, earning a living or scoring Brownie points with the principal in raising the school’s key performance indicators (KPI). The willingness to teach and serve must indeed be underscored. And with that comes the serving and caring of the students and looking after their interests and needs, the very reason for the existence of the teachers.”
Finally, those above-mentioned aspects (continual practices, self-reflection, self-determination) are for me paramount important that pre-service teachers should know after being pedagogically knowledgeable, as the foundation of teaching in the real class rooms. If we still really want to explore more what experts suggest, there are many other technical recommendations. Coming back to that beautiful and powerful quote, written in the beginning, that “Great teachers are not born, they are made”, we should now have understood that being a teacher is a matter of learning and practicing, and it surely needs time. If we are really willing to try and learn, we surely can do it.
Ames, C.A. (1990) Motivation: What Teachers Need to Know Teachers. College Record Vol. 91, No. 3, pp 409-421 DOI 0161-4681/90/9103/409$1.25/0 Columbia University. Retrieved from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1623/e9f4540535eaef691375127de7686145a616.pdf
Loughran J.J. (2002) Effective Reflective Practice: In Search of Meaning in Learning about Teaching Journal of Teacher Education 2002; Vol. 53 No.1 pp.33-43 DOI: 10.1177/0022487102053001004 Retrieved from http://jte.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/53/1/33
Low, P.K.C., & Ang, SL. (2011). How to be a good teacher. Educational Research. Educ. Res. Vol. 2(5) p.1118-1123. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235930355
OECD (2005) Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/education/school/48627229.pdf
OECD (2009) Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments: First Results from TALIS. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/education/school/43023606.pdf
Todorescu, L., et.al (2015) Changes in Students’ Expectations from Teachers’ Roles in Secondary Education, 7th World Conference on Educational Sciences, PP 190-196. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.07.122
Image 1 by Cindy Swindell. Retrieved from https://pngtree.com/freepng/character-study_1785854.html
Note: This article was written for the 2nd Blog Entry of “Innovation (ED5009)” unit, Master of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne – Victoria, Australia.