Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New report finds new teachers in middle and high school feel most vulnerable to challenging teaching conditions.

There has been a lot in the news and research lately that questions how the education system is going to prepare students for the 21st century.

My question is how are we going to prepare existing and new teachers for the 21st century?

In universities across the world the number of students entering Education to become a teacher is going down. The number of teachers that are graduating as IT specialists is even less...sometimes in the single digits.

With the digital demands that exist now for our students and what is to come in the future....it greatly worries me that many graduating teachers have very, very basic digital literacy skills and understanding...sometimes at a primary student level.

A report just released by Public Agenda and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (reported from Docuticker) called: Lessons Learned: New Teachers Talk About Their Jobs, Challenges and Long-Range Plans, discusses 6 findings that came out of this research by Jonathan Rochkind, Amber Ott, John Immerwahr, John Doble and Jean Johnson. Download report [pdf]

The 6 findings were:

  1. Secondary School Teachers vs. Grade School Teachers - Why They Teach and How Long They'll Stay
  2. Secondary School Teachers vs. Elementary School Teachers: How Prepared Do They Feel?
  3. Secondary School Teachers vs. Elementary School Teachers - The Drawbacks of Teaching
  4. The Special Challenges of Teaching in High-Needs Schools
  5. How New Teachers Would Improve the Profession
  6. How Important is Salary?
This research shows that: "new teachers in middle and high school feel most vulnerable to challenging teaching conditions. Compared to new teachers in elementary schools, high school and middle school teachers are much more concerned about administrative support, more frustrated by student motivation and behavior, less likely to see teaching as a lifelong career choice and less likely to believe that all students can achieve in school than new teachers in elementary schools."

If many countries can not keep the number of qualified secondary teachers in their systems, will education systems around the world become "farmed out" to other countries with delivery online or with a "support advisor" in the classroom? Education administrators and ministries need to take a hard look at their education systems. Are we keeping up the support and training for teachers to prepare them for the 21st century?

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