10 SES 08 C, Programmes and Approaches: (Re)View on programmes and measurements
Teacher preparation in many countries has evolved in response to changing educational landscapes. A report on teacher preparation programs in Ireland (Department of Education and Skills, 2012), linking the prioritisation of national policy on teacher education with the emergence of high-performing education systems, also indicated that such systems have a number of common features. Teachers are educated in academic universities that combine both theory and practice, teacher education is research-based and, because the career is an attractive one, admission to teacher education is highly competitive. In many countries, policy relating to the preparation of teachers has tended to focus on primary and secondary teacher preparation i.e. the period of compulsory education, with little attention to the preparation of staff for early childhood, adult or higher education systems. Teacher preparation has evolved in response to changing educational landscapes. But has it evolved as one system with unifying principles and concepts at the heart of it, or as a group of systems that have grown in a more ad hoc manner?
This paper considers that question by using a systems theory framework to examine teacher preparation in three countries, Ireland, Finland and Singapore. All three countries have similar population sizes, have previously been ruled by another country and gained independence within the last 100 years. They all participate in PISA and were all significantly above the OECD average in all three domains in PISA 2012. Ireland, in common with countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States, has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon tradition. Teacher preparation in Finland represents a Northern model of education while Singapore represents the East-Asian model (Bulle, 2011).
Drawing primarily on the work of Banathy (1992), supported by Banathy and Jenlink (2003) and Bronfenbenner (1977), the chapter examines teacher preparation structures and processes for staff of Early Childhood Education (ECE), Primary, Secondary, University and Further Education in these three countries. It considers the admission criteria, the location of the teacher preparation programs, the staffing of such programs, the role of the State and other bodies in the certification and registration of staff in educational institutions. Banathy’s (1992) three lenses (systems/environment, functions/structure, process) provide the theoretical framework for the paper.
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