It is not hearsay that the educational sector plays a vital role in national development. A society populated by enlightened individuals is subject to rapid positive economic progress and transformation; this is achieved when these enlightened individuals apply the skills they learned in school. As you probably know, the acquisition of these skills is facilitated by the teacher. So, the question is; what happens when the teacher who is in a position to impart quality education to the student is not well trained? The resultant effect is poor education as well as student’s underperformance which will unarguably lead to societal underdevelopment.
There is no doubt when it comes to student performance many factors are involved. But of all the factors, the teacher remains a major determinant, and therefore, it is safe to say the teachers ought to get the best education to impart the same quality education to the students.
Quality teacher education is not to be taken lightly. To strengthen the educational system, and societal development in general, the teachers need to be well trained. This article will closely look at teacher education and factors that determine quality teaching, geared toward solving poor education and students’ underperformance.
According to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010), factors that contribute to the problem of teacher education, as well as teacher retention, are varied and complex. One of the prime factors of the problem of teacher education is the path through which learning occurs. In less developed nations where there are problems of shortage of teachers, the need to quickly fill in teachers have often resulted in shortchanged in the fair process of training teachers.
Inadequate training of teachers has often let to poor teaching. Therefore, the aim should be all about quality teacher training if we must save our educational system from failing.
Determinants of teacher quality
Teacher quality has such an enormous influence on students’ learning. Priagula, Agam & Solmon (2007) explained that teacher quality as an essential in-school factor impacts significantly on students’ learning. Quality teachers have a positive impact on the success of students. With active and quality teachers, the students make significant improvement while the reverse is the case without effective and quality teachers. Concerning the classroom teacher, teacher quality is a continuous process of doing self-assessment to have professional development and a self-renewal, to enhance teaching. For the teacher educator, an active or quality teacher is one who has a proper subject-matter and pedagogy knowledge, which they can build upon.
Effective and quality teachers have excellent qualities; skills, the subject matter as well as the pedagogy to teach the children effectively. This is the required skills by any teacher to reach the child and help equip him with the knowledge and right awareness to be independent and make sound decisions. Three things can be considered as factors to a quality teacher. These are pedagogical knowledge, subject-matter content knowledge, and experience.
Learners of every profession receive some education that will give them insight into and prepare them for the task ahead. This for the teacher is referred to as the Pedagogical Content Knowledge. According to Friedrichsen, Abell, Pareja, Brown, Lankford, and Volkmann (2009), there are three sources of Pedagogical Content Knowledge which includes professional development programs, teaching experiences, and teachers’ own learning experiences. During their education programs, teachers have assisted in a variety of ways to help gain Pedagogical Content Knowledge. For instance, they learn how to put the teaching skills they acquired into practice.
It is through teacher education programs and other professional development programs that teachers can gain pedagogical content knowledge – through lectures, workshops, interaction with fellow teachers and during teaching practice. Their experience in the classroom also counts enormously in guiding the students and dealing with their pedagogical challenges.
Pedagogical Content Knowledge is used to bridge the gap between content knowledge and actual teaching. A teacher will not excel if he is a master of pedagogical knowledge but lacks subject matter content knowledge.
The main aim of teaching is to assist the students to develop the intellectual capacity to enable them to participate in all societal development. On how the teacher can help the students learn is mainly dependent on the subject matter the teacher possesses. This implies that teachers’ knowledge of subject-matter influences their efforts to assist students to learn that subject-matter.
Teachers with great experience, usually those that have taught for more years, do feel self-assured in their skills to use instructional and assessment tools. These teachers can reach even the most difficult-to-reach students in their classrooms. They also have greater confidence in their capacity to take charge of the class and prevent any situation that would make the teaching-learning process difficult. Their many years of experience makes them more patient and tolerant than their counterpart with a few years of experience.
Another reason that set apart more experienced teachers to the new ones is that experienced teachers have acquired not only expertise but also the skills needed to be useful from direct experience. It is essential to understand that teachers training don’t end at the first training stage of teachers. Teachers undergo capacity building seminars, workshops, and conferences to keep themselves updated.
Teachers who have been engaged in teaching for many years are most likely to be classified as quality teachers than those who have not. This is because of what they have learned from in-service training, capacity building workshops and seminars, their interaction with other teachers and what they have learned from experience in their classrooms.
To this end, it is apparent that the bedrock of quality education is the teacher, and without well-trained teachers with the required experienced and knowledge, educational standard will continue to dwindle, poor performance by students will be on the increase and as mentioned in the beginning of this article; any nation without quality education is undoubtedly a failing nation.
Therefore, to solve the problem of poor education and students’ underperformance, teacher education should be given high priority. We must ensure our teachers are well-trained and retrained to meet up with the current trend in the educational system.