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Article

Usree Bhattacharya

In India, the teaching of English, a British colonial import and imposition, occurs within an ideologically contested, socioeconomically stratified, and politically charged terrain. Several centuries after its first arrival on Indian shores, English remains a minority, elite language, accessible mostly to urban dwellers and those in the middle and upper classes. Therefore, its present-day circulation helps reproduce and sustain colonial language hierarchies. Significantly, ideologies about English span a wide spectrum, from the language being cast as an illness, to its being seen as a necessary evil for progress, to its being heralded as a vital instrument for uplifting the poor and marginalized. Furthermore, the idea of an indigenized “Indian English” holds sway in the scholarly imagination, even as it is unclear what shape its porous boundaries take within the national consciousness. In perpetual dialog with other Indian languages, English is constantly negotiating a role in India’s rich multilingual networks. Crucially, it functions as the most powerful medium of instruction in the country, firmly regulating access to socioeconomic mobility and higher education. English instruction in India was established to serve colonial interests, and the traces of this past remain in contemporary pedagogical practices. Further, English instruction faces a variety of challenges in India today, including infrastructure constraints, complexities of multilingual pedagogy, rigid grammar translation pedagogy and rote-learning practices, teaching to the test, widespread use of inappropriate and culturally insensitive textbooks, and inadequate investment in teacher training. English controls access to power, prestige, and privilege in modern India; these factors, among others, play a determining role in perpetuating educational inequality across classes. Shining a light on the context in which English instruction occurs in India is thus both an educational and a social justice imperative.

Article

Ensuring quality teachers and quality teacher education programmes have been fundamental global concerns over the decades. High quality teachers are critical to the future development of national educational systems and economic vitality. Teachers’ quality and professionalism are closely linked to their professional standards, preparation and development. Teacher education, therefore, plays a central role in preparing quality teacher and also laying foundation for the development of teacher as a professional. Worldwide, professional standards, teacher standards, teaching- leaning standards and teacher education standards are considered instrumental for improving teacher preparation, their quality and professionalism. In this context, it becomes pertinent to deliberate upon the multiple standards frameworks in operation and how these frameworks are informing teacher education programmes for preparing quality teachers. The discourses on standards and benchmarking provide effective platforms for measuring and improving performance, practice, and knowledge of teachers. Standard framework can be considered a diagnostic approach to the delivery of education which evolves through research and practice to generate new knowledge and to maintain an accountable profession. The analysis of teacher standards in both developed and developing countries clearly indicates that standards contribute to the professionalization of teaching and raise the status of the profession. Therefore standards and quality dimensions form the cornerstone for the teacher education policy, planning, and implementation. The ideas, concepts, and constructs for standards and benchmarking in teacher education are derived from comparative perspectives and implications on quality dimension processes. The concepts of standards and benchmarks in teacher education around the globe are interpreted and used in diverse ways. The developed countries of the world have specific or explicit teacher education standard frameworks, as per their country-specific expectations and requirements. Countries such as the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Scotland, and Singapore have exclusive standards frameworks for initial teacher education. Singapore and Finland have recognised the implication of teacher education standards and benchmarking on improving teaching profession. The implementation of standards is considered an important part of the solution to the problem of assessment, accreditation, and maintenance of teacher quality by the United States of America and Australia. Acknowledging the potential of standards to raise teacher quality, the East and South Asian countries are using implicit models by drawing essence from teacher, teaching and learning and professional standards frameworks as guiding reference for teacher education .The comparative analysis of standards frameworks across different countries reveals common features such as professional knowledge, professional competencies, professional skills, and professional conduct. Therefore, it can be argued that teaching learning and professional standards make teacher education programmes accountable to deliver quality and to prepare competent teachers. Though the use of a standards framework is highly acknowledged, it is equally critiqued by many researchers. In order to substantiate the deliberation, the major question of whether standard frameworks are facilitating teacher education or act as a trap can be explored. This question rallies around both the merits and demerits of the multiple use of standards in teacher education. Though explicit and implicit models for teacher education standards are in operation, it is recommended that standard framework should be flexible and dynamic in nature in order to be replicated and adopted by various teacher education programs. Despite the raised criticism, once can argue that standards frameworks are necessary for ensuring teacher education quality. The teacher education framework model necessitates continuous research and innovation support to make it more dynamic and contextual.

Article

Bhujendra Nath Panda, Laxmidhar Behera, and Tapan Kumar Basantia

The regulation of teacher education is important to promote quality educator preparation across the world, and many countries have regulatory bodies in the attempt to ensure this. Yet, the quality of teacher education in many corners of the globe is falling. Lack of maintenance and deterioration of professional standards are found in various programs and policies, for example, in access or admission policies, appointment of personnel, infrastructure maintenance, and modes or styles of delivering pedagogical skills, among others. Teacher education programs around the world are not governed by a single system. There are various modes though which teacher education is offered, such as departments of education in universities or institutions, independent teacher education universities or institutions, and the like. Regulatory bodies regarding teacher education, which originated after the middle of the 20th century, mainly perform these prime functions: provide recognition or affiliation to the teacher education institutions based on certain criteria; set standards for the infrastructure of the institutions for running the programs; define or regulate the curricula of the programs; and formulate guidelines for the award of certificates, diplomas, and degrees. The nature and functions of regulatory bodies vary from country to country, keeping in mind the contextual demand of teacher education in the respective countries. Teacher education regulatory bodies are more visible in federal or decentralized countries because of the diverse features and complex nature of their teacher education systems. A regulatory body becomes dysfunctional when it deviates from its main concerns and objectives; for example, it is observed in some cases a regulatory body of teacher education performs accreditation-related functions, whereas in other cases the accreditation body of education performs the regulatory function of teacher education. Yet, the regulatory bodies of teacher education should work according to the mandates and objectives entrusted to them. When a regulatory body of teacher education system is free from impediments that affect it and works with zeal to achieve its mandates, it can effectively increase the quality of the teacher education system. The stakeholders of a teacher education system feel better about the system when its regulatory body is transparent, constructive, and trustworthy.

Article

John McCollow

Teacher unions (or alternatively “education unions”) are organizations formed to protect and advance the collective interests of teachers and other education workers. What the collective interests of educators entail and how they should be pursued have been and remain active matters for debate within these organizations. Different unions at different times have responded differently to these questions, for example, in relation to the degree to which an industrial versus a professional orientation should be adopted, and the degree to which a wider political and social justice agenda should be embraced. Several ideal-type models of teacher unionism have been identified, as well as various strategic options that these unions might employ. A spirited debate is ongoing about the legitimacy and power of teacher unions. One perspective portrays them as self-interested special interest groups, and another as social movements advocating for public education. The status of teacher unions as stakeholders in educational policymaking is contested, and union–government relations occur across a spectrum of arrangements ranging from those that encourage negotiation to those characterized by confrontation and hostility. Internationally, education unions face significant challenges in the early decades of the 21st century. Neoliberal economic and industrial policies and legislation have eroded the capacity of unions to collectively organize and bargain, and the global education reform movement (GERM) has created a hostile environment for education unions and their members. Despite these challenges, education unions remain among the most important critics of GERM and of global neoliberal social policy generally. The challenges posed and the strategies adopted play out differently across the globe. There is evidence that at least some unions are now prepared to be far more flexible in adopting a “tapestry” of strategies, to examine their internal organization, build alliances, and develop alternative conceptions of the future of education. Researchers, however, have identified certain internal factors in many teacher unions that pose significant obstacles to these tasks. Unions face difficult choices that could lead to marginalization on the one hand or incorporation on the other.