Journal of Social Sciences

The Implications of Teacher Effectiveness Requirements for Initial Teacher Education Reform

S. G. Pretorius

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2012.310.317

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 3

Pages 310-317

Abstract

Problem statement: School effectiveness research shows that teacher effectiveness is the single most important school-based factor in student success. The effects of poor teaching linger and can be measured for at least three years after students have left the classroom. It is too late to wait until secondary school level for backlogs to be eradicated. Education systems, such as the South African system, which grapple with large numbers of dysfunctional schools, should look anew at teacher effectiveness in all school phases. The urgent need for highly effective teachers in every classroom requires that education systems develop a comprehensive definition of teacher effectiveness and create training programmes to develop it. Thus, the problem investigated is: What are the characteristics, skills, attitudes and behaviors associated with effective teachers and what is the best way in which schools of education can adapt initial teacher education to meet the challenges of today’s classrooms? Approach: A mixed method approach was adopted. In addition to an in-depth literature review, open-ended questionnaires, probing perceptions of teacher effectiveness issues were distributed to teachers, school principals, policy officials and teacher educators. Interviews were conducted with a variety of educational experts. Classroom observations of experienced and novice teachers were conducted in a variety of contexts using open-ended classroom observation checklists. Results: Based on the findings of the research a synthesis of the characteristics, knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors associated with effective teachers was developed. Conclusion: If teachers are to be effective their initial training will have to be effective. This study has identified the characteristics and behaviours associated with effective teachers. These indicators are broad guidelines for schools of education to stimulate teacher education reform. Covering the curriculum, structuring of content, appropriate pacing and alignment, clear goal setting, clarity of content and presentation, are a few requirements for effective teachers which have direct implications for teacher education.

Copyright

© 2012 S. G. Pretorius. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.