Teacher Training should be about the practice of teaching

Natasha Bita’s column (Students to plug teacher shortage, 21/7) filled me with the hope that teacher training may be going ‘back to the future’. Rejuvenating the focus of student teachers undertaking training in classrooms, under the guidance of experienced classroom practitioners, is long overdue.

Teacher training, until the late 1970’s placed significant emphasis on practice teaching. Back in those years we completed two year training programs, with periods of time each term undertaken as teachers in classrooms. We worked with students and were answerable to practised classroom teachers and visiting teachers’ college lecturers. My best learning (1968/69) was done within classroom environments.

My only worry would be that preservice teachers under a revamped training scheme, not be given ‘Carte Blanche’ classroom exposure without coaching and supervision. If they are left without guidance, there could be negative consequences. Otherwise, this proposal is a step in the right direction, one which will help training teachers learn how to teach.

At the moment, they graduate with theoretically based teaching degrees and have very had little timer in school classrooms. It is left to schools to which they are appointed as full time staff members, to then teach them to teach. Small wonder that so many become disaffected and leave a profession which could offer enduring professional satisfaction.

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