Term Paper: Teacher Education in Nigeria

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[. . .] Thus, private donations and federal support in the form of research grants are of utmost importance. At the same time, the public is demanding that tuition costs be reduced and that higher education provide better services for the cost ADDIN ENRfu (Matthews, 1999).

Both countries are experiencing teacher shortages. In Nigeria, this is blamed on the lack of focus on teaching for Nigeria. In the United States, there is an aggregate over-supply of elementary teachers in most states, but a shortage of special education teachers and teachers in the sciences and mathematics. Urban areas with rapid population growth face shortages (Laitsch, 2001).

U.S Problems and Solutions

Teacher education in the U.S. is also in a difficult position (LPA, 2003). After many years of reform and renewal efforts, academic achievement remains below what most Americans consider acceptable. American students are still viewed by the public as failing to achieve as much as students in some other countries. The difference between white and nonwhite students persists, and urban schools are chaotic. While many citizens acknowledge that there are no simple answers, their beliefs in education as a means to a better life and a stronger country demand that more be done, particularly in the area of teacher education.

The U.S. government has shown strong interest in new alternatives to meeting teacher demands and providing evidence of teacher competency. The National Council on Teacher Quality was recently awarded a huge grant to launch the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, which aims to increase the number of well-qualified teachers via an alternative certification process (U.S. Department of Education, 2001).

The National Alliance of Business (NAB) is one of the most dominant voices calling for changes in education. Its recent report calls for new models for teacher preparation, including higher admission standards, mandatory accreditation, the ending of the education major for elementary and middle school teachers, and mandatory performance testing for all teachers (Koppich, 2001). NAB believes that having a quality teacher in the classroom can be gained through these efforts.

Considerable effort is also taking place at the national level by professional education policy organizations (LPA, 2003). The National Council for the Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE), one of two national accrediting agencies, is a major player. It has set standards for teacher education for many years and is working with various discipline-based organizations, the teachers unions, AACTE, and state partners to ensure that all teacher education programs meet a new set of performance-based standards. These new standards are currently being implemented for all institutions seeking NCATE accreditation (Wise & Leibbrand, 2001).

At the state level, policy activity focuses on five general areas (Hirsch, Koppich, & Knapp, 2001):" (1) development and promotion of high standards for student learning and for teaching; (2) efforts to attract, reward, and retain capable teachers; (3) policies to support high-quality initial preparation and the induction of new teachers; (4) initiatives designed to support teachers' ongoing professional learning; and (5) efforts to enhance the school workplace. To ensure that standards are taken seriously, states are attaching consequences to assessments -- "high stakes" for students, teachers, and principals. Over one third of the states have created professional standards boards as mechanisms for setting new standards and maintaining professional standards. Consistent with other policy recommendations, states are also exploring a variety of alternative routes by which one becomes a teacher."

Certification and teacher testing are the most common strategies for improving the preparation of new teachers (LPA, 2003). Emphasis is on performance-based programs following the lead of NCATE. Critics, as noted earlier, suggest that certification need not be defined in traditional ways. Teacher testing, long a part of teacher education, has become a controversial issue. While many programs in the past have used some type of test to assess students' entry or exit knowledge, currently there is disagreement about how best to assess pre-service and in-service teachers. Teacher education institutions and their supporters favor looking at long-term impact on student learning, as well as specific levels of knowledge in the content area. Others advocate a series of what have become called high-stakes tests to measure subject matter and pedagogical knowledge. Most states favor both -- high-stakes tests and long-term impact.

Recommendations

In order to improve professional growth in teacher education programs, the following recommendations should be considered (Lawal, 2003):

1) Teacher education requirements should be uniform, not only reflecting the needs and aspirations of Nigerians but should also be geared towards professionalism of the individual teachers.

(2) Qualified and competent teachers should be given priority in appointments to teach. In their absence, non-qualified and auxiliary teachers should be sent for in-service courses in education to increase their qualifications. Teaching should remain a professional field in which only the qualified, trained and competent teachers are employed.

(3) Teaching practice exercise should be revisited in order to enhance the objectives, which the intended supervisors would be familiar with their areas of specialization for optimal assessment.

(4) The government should cooperate in the matter of financing teachers in the entire nation. Many colleges lack adequate infrastructure that promote good learning.

Conclusion

Almost all citizens in both Nigeria and the United States would agree that educating their nation's children and youth is vital to the future. They would also agree that having qualified teachers is crucial. However, opinions about who can be a teacher and how the teacher should be prepared or trained vary when comparing these two nations.

During the last several decades in the United States, a great deal of attention has been focused on student learning, teachers, and teacher educators. There has been significant questioning of higher education's role in teacher preparation, an increase in government regulation over teacher education, and a belief that lower schools should have more responsibility for training new teachers and the continuing education of current teachers.

The United States is becoming more and more regulated, counted, and ranked in an attempt to find "the right balance between the need to take complete professional responsibility for our students as we help them become new teachers, and the right and proper expectations of the public that we'll produce the kind of teachers for their children that they demand" ADDIN ENRfu (Newby, 2001).

The inspection and approval system in the United States is a decentralized system with considerable control by the individual 50 states. Each of the states has an agency that oversees the education of children and youth and makes sure that qualified educators are in the schools. Universities that provide teachers for the state are required to meet standards established by the state. On a regular basis, all teacher education programs is reviewed by the state to determine whether or not the program meets minimum state standards. In between site visits, institutions give reports and updates to the state. The de-certification of a teacher education program can occur if it does not comply.

In the United States, the federal government also shapes teacher education policy. Title II requires states and institutions to report on teacher licensing. Institutions must report how well individuals who complete a teacher preparation program perform on certification assessments and other factors ADDIN ENRfu (USDE, 2000).

Teacher education in Nigeria is extremely important as it sets the foundation for sound education of the nation at all levels of education (Lawal, 2003). For a nation to improve, its education must be based on a sound foundation. In addition, all educational facilities must be designed to enhance educational programs. It is also important to remember that only qualified, professional teachers who are interested in the educational development of the nation should be employed as teachers.

References

Adeniji (1972) Summary of Discussion and Recommendation in a Philosophy for Nigeria Education, Report of the National Curriculum Conference 1969, Nigeria: Heinemann Educational Books.

Adoke, I. (1995), "National Orientation for Self-Reliance" Department of Social Studies (Handout) F.C.E. Zaria

Akinyemi, J.A. (1972). "Teachers Education" In Fafunwa Babs, New Perspectives in African Education, London: George Allen and Unwin, p. 84.

Campbell, J.R. (1972) In Touch with Students, Columbia: Educational Affairs Publishers

Ema, A.J. (1972) "Teacher Education" In a Philosophy for Nigerian Education, Heinemen Educational Books.

Glenn, A. (December, 2001). Lessons in Teacher Education Reform. ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education.

Haines, A.C. (1960). Guiding the Student Process in Elementary Education Raid, USA: Macdonald Company

Haselkorn, D. Calkins, A. (2000). How to become a teacher: A complete guide. (2nd ed.). Belmont, MA: Recruiting New Teachers, Inc.

Laitsch, D. (2001). Press club panel discusses teacher shortages. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Lawal, H. (July, 2003). Teacher Education and the Professional Growth of the 21st Century Nigeria Teacher, The African Symposium. Vol. 3 No. 2.

Martin, A.I. And Westcott, A. (1963), Gateway to Teaching. Dubuque WMC Brown.

Matthews, A. (1999). Bright college years: Inside the American campus today. Chicago: University of Chicago… [END OF PREVIEW]

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