TEACHER EDUCATION (8) [Archives:2006/1006/Education]

December 11 2006

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
Associate Professor
Department of English
University of Science and
Technology, Sana'a

Education is not a matter of merely imparting information and enforcing discipline. It is wrong and dangerous to assume that all children are more or less similar blank slates passively awaiting transmission of facts. Educators in public education system must prepare all students, not just a talented few, to face the challenges of the 21st century. This brings into focus preparing teachers to be adequately equipped to accomplish this task. Hence, the pressing need for teacher education.

Teaching is not everyone's cup of tea. The myth that any one can teach “so long as you know your subject matter” has long been exploded. Of course, one can never underplay the importance of subject knowledge in making a good teacher. Love and command of a subject certainly go a long way to make inspired and efficient teachers. But, over and above the subject knowledge, in this profession you need to have a typical bent of mind, lots of patience and confidence, understanding of children, good organizing capacity and friendly nature to be a successful professional.

Subject matter knowledge is indisputably important even for elementary teachers. Therefore, all prospective teachers should acquire a thorough grounding in the subject to be taught and go beyond a mere smattering of the “matter” of the subject. They must grapple with the fact that subjects include structures and built-in pedagogies that teachers must grasp in order to convey essential outlines and the related problem solving skills to the learners.

Teacher preparation should, by all means, take into account a sufficiently solid theoretical knowledge on the part of teacher trainees coupled with practical experience so that the teachers' command of this knowledge improves educational practice and learning outcomes and elevates the status of teachers and teaching within the academy and in the larger society as well.

Apart from subject knowledge, teachers ought to develop people skills and pedagogic skills that would stand them in good stead in the classroom. At the same time they are expected to be familiar with a set of managerial skills such as customer handling, hospitality, soft skills, and selling techniques. They must communicate well, and create a perception in the market about the school's professional excellence. They have to be flag bearers for marketing the school's educational system, thereby fulfilling a very vital aspect of professional commitment.