The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is setting up a school to train all teachers on classroom management, effective teaching approaches and professionalism.
A concept report seen by the Saturday Standard shows the TSC has established that most teachers are inadequately trained while some do not adhere to prescribed professional standards, which adversely affect performance.
The teachers’ employer says the recent trends in Primary Teacher Education (PTE) revealed teachers’ weaknesses in ineffective teaching strategies, preparation of professional records, poor classroom management, incompetency in handling learners with special needs and weak assessment and feedback skills.
Citing findings of 2017 PTE examinations report, the TSC says some school heads are not able to analyse books of accounts, communicate effectively with teachers and parents, build a spirit of shared goals for school improvement and also have poor resource utilisation abilities.
In addition to these, TSC says content knowledge among a majority of teachers does not attain the set benchmark in English, Mathematics and Science due to poor content mastery.
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It is against this backdrop that TSC is seeking to establish a new learning centre – the Institute of Teacher Support and Professional Development – to provide teachers with peer collaboration and support throughout their teaching career.
“The over-arching goal of the Institute will be to enhance the quality of education by providing teachers, assisted by the education partners, with a formal structure for professional support and professional development,” reads the document.
The institute will operate within the TSC governance structure where it will exist as a directorate and will target all registered teachers and heads of institutions in the country.
The commission says for international students, customised programmes will be prepared.
According to the plan, the institute will certify the teachers after they complete professional standards course prescribed by the TSC.
The report says TSC has a statutory mandate through the TSC Act 212 section 11(e) to facilitate professional development for teachers.
“Section 35(2)(a) and (b) of the Act and Regulations 48 & 49 of Code of Regulations for Teachers states that, all teachers are obligated to undertake professional development courses as prescribed by the Commission from time to time,” reads report.
The commission now says the institute will assist and consult with teachers to diagnose classroom difficulties and challenges.
The institute will also establish procedures and criteria for the probation and full recognition of Teacher Professional Development (TPD) service providers.
In addition to this, the institute will develop and continuously review the framework for the professional development programmes of teachers.
“It will also guide teachers through integrated support approach that allows them to effectively appreciate the critical examination of experiences and issues in the broader community,” reads the report.
Promotion of teaching as a profession will also be enhanced by the institute through organisation of workshops and conferences and the publication of newsletters, research reports and articles on educational issues.
The institute will adopt face-to-face sessions with teachers, conduct online tutoring and embrace blended learning as its modes of delivery.
And to realise its functions, the institute shall establish school-based support groups as part of its strategies. Coaching, mentoring, classroom observations, lesson study/action research, book/journal reviews and collaborative subject mastery development will also form part of strategies.
Overall, the institute will accredit service providers offering the Teacher Professional Development programmes, reads the report.
The TSC said existing professional development activities established in the country by numerous providers are not coordinated.
It says many of the professional learning activities in these other institutions are disconnected from teachers’ actual practice and school improvement goals.
“They do not provide equal professional learning opportunities to all teachers yet professional learning of teachers is an equity issue on quality education,” reads the report.