The purpose of this Report is to inform discussions, policy formulation, and strategic planning on teacher education in Ireland. The research gives priority to initial teacher education (ITE) and induction, their interface, and implications for the continuum of teacher education, including continuing professional development (CPD). The study involved a two-pronged approach: a narrative review of recent and relevant literature and a cross-national review of teacher education policies in nine countries, namely, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Finland, USA, Poland, Singapore and New Zealand. Adopting a broad, balanced and comprehensive understanding of the role of the contemporary teacher, it provides a framework for developing quality teacher education in Ireland. The Report incorporates exemplars of good practice and notes their implementation challenges for the Irish context.
Chapter One provides a framework for conceptualising quality teacher education and the continuum. Key features that emerge from the literature are discussed: teachers¿ practice, quality teaching, the professional life-cycle, teacher learning and relationships.
With more specific reference to the continuum, Chapter Two overviews initial teacher education, induction, learning outcomes and accreditation in the selected countries, including Ireland. Key features of policy in the various countries are summarised. Individual country profiles, incorporating descriptions of socio-political, teaching and teacher education contexts, are further detailed in Appendix A.
Chapter Three analyses relevant literature on initial teacher education, induction, learning outcomes/professional standards and accreditation. Along with previous chapters it provides the basis for recommendations for teacher education that are presented in Chapter Four.
Chapter Four draws together the findings emerging from the cross-national review in terms of the contemporary context of teacher education in Ireland and identifies key challenges and possible lines of policy development as well as recommendations for the Teaching Council and other teacher education stakeholders. Each generation has an opportunity to provide the vision and resources for renewing teacher education in light of ambitious social, economic and educational aspirations to meet perceived societal and education challenges (as occurred in the 1970s). Despite the publication of two key reviews of initial teacher education a number of years ago, there is considerable scope for further reform of teacher education. However, significant changes have occurred to teacher education course provision and content over the last 100 years. In this report, we have stressed the need for, and called for investment in, greater system and programme coherence, mentoring to support assisted practice, knowledge integration, critical reflective practice, inquiry and the development of vibrant partnerships between higher education institutions and schools as the basis for teacher education reform across the continuum.
This Executive Summary presents the Report¿s context, key findings and recommendations emerging from the analysis.