Some commented on that our teacher training institutes are not preparing pre-service teachers enough for the needs of teaching in Malaysian context.
Teacher education trainees are said not really ready for classroom teaching plus educational factors or policies instructed by the MOE.
So, what is really teacher education institutions are doing to make prospective teachers ready for the fourth industrial revolution (abide instructions are from IPGM)?
Infusing the so-called 21st century competencies across the school curriculum is already making teachers-in-schools feel the ‘burn-out’ syndrome.
Again, we have to talk on the curriculum that focuses on core and essential and curated for current and the future.
What can teacher trainees imagine on the school curriculum to prepare children for a fast-changing world and uncertain future?
Can current teachers provide ideas to redesign curriculum which holistic and who will listen and entertain such proposals?
Many had recently graduated as teachers. Many had voiced out the irrelevancy they had encountered in teacher education programs were immaterial for teaching.
They spoke about courses and themes that reflected lecturers’ personal interests or fields of expertise that had little relevance for their lives as teachers.
On reflection, they were yearning for ‘life skills’ of teacher education.
We are still using and particular concepts and theoretical perspectives having intrinsic value. This may be so. We are still following the theories of the west with little amount on ‘religious’ values.
Our minds hold on only to knowledge that we use in our lives. If knowledge is not used, we forget it.
Though teacher trainees undergo teaching practices, there are still doubts on whether the trainees are able to practice meaningful learning and transfer.
The core of transfer is recognizing when, how and why to apply previous learning to new problems or situations.
Teaching for transfer requires deep engagement with learning content, questioning claims and evaluating evidence, practicing self-monitoring, exploring multiple and varied representations of concepts and tasks and how they interrelate, engaging with challenging tasks and problems aided by supportive guidance, and engaging with examples and cases.
Teacher educators often make curriculum decisions based on long-held beliefs and ideological commitments instead of sound research. Because academics have invested much in their field of expertise, they find it difficult to discard parts that may be outdated.
The 21st century literacies that the pre-service teachers need to acquire are digital literacy and information literacy. Pre-service teachers need to learn how to search for relevant information and how to read, interpret and communicate digitally.
Importantly, they also need to learn how to evaluate the quality and reliability of information and how to manage information so as to enable them to also teach this in school.
Teaching with Information and Communication Technology (ICT), cannot be considered to be “new”, but initial teacher education programme may not have a sufficient focus on the use of ICT for teaching in a digital era.
Teacher education programme using ‘life-skills’ as yardsticks will increase the likelihood of preparing teachers adequately for now and the future.
Creating a ‘life-skills’ programme for pre-service teachers calls for teacher educators to collaborate closely to ensure as much programme coherence and cohesion as possible. This requires open minds, the willingness to let go of entrenched thinking and setting aside academic egos.