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Title: A Singapore perspective on teacher education: The old man, the mountain, and the child
Authors: Tan, Oon Seng
Issue Date: Apr-2012
Citation: Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 13-17 April 2012
Abstract: Teacher development in Singapore is unique from the continuum approach from initial teacher education to life-long professional development where goal congruence and pragmatic policies and practices amongst university, schools and the Ministry of Education help steer the teaching profession towards high standards and commitment. Teaching is a calling and effective teachers have a unity of purpose in their personal aspirations, beliefs, interests and competencies with a view of impacting the next generation and a system of evaluation and accountability builds on (a) Learner-centred values, (b) Teacher identity values (c) The values of service to the profession and community. The challenges of diverse societal expectations, impact of rapid educational transformations and balancing accountability measures and autonomous professional trust will also be addressed. The Old Man represents the wisdom of traditions. In the case of Singapore the traditions are the fundamentals. In the case of teach education at the National Institute of Education, the fundaments include thing like teaching as calling, good content knowledge, the teacher symbol, values-based ideals, the university-based professional, apprenticeship model. The Mountain represents looking up and beyond, which means vision and viewing the big picture and long haul approach rather than politicised or quick fixes. The mountain reminds us of mould the teacher to mould the child for the future. Vision calls for the partnership of MOE, schools, NIE and the community. It calls for visionary professional building. Finally the idea of the Child is that it takes a village to prepare a child because teacher education is about the learner. It is preparing the teacher to care of even the most diverse and weakest child.
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