A comparative study of teacher education in the English speaking countries with special emphasis upon Canada
Sly, Hildreth Francis
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The purpose of the study is (1) to ascertain the nature and extent of the variations in procedure and practice of teacher education programs as conducted in the English speaking countries; (2) to analyse the effects of these variations; and (3) to suggest in what ways Canada may incorporate the more important features of each system into her own program of teacher education. More specifically, the study proposes to find answers to such questions as: (1) What is the relationship between university training departments and training colleges? (2) Are the ablest and most suitable candidates being selected for teacher education institutions? (3) What is the optimum length of a teacher education course? (4) What is the place of academic (general) and professional subjects in the training school curriculum? (5) Do training institutions satisfy the requirements for practice teaching? The countries whose programs are under review include England (and Wales), Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. An attempt will be made to indicate the essential differences and similarities of teacher education in the five first-mentioned countries in order to throw into relief the strong and weak points inherent in their respective programs. Canada's position will then be discussed in the light of these conclusions. This comparison will include an analysis of the institutions, the qualifications, curricula, practice teaching, probation, certification and in-service training. Education begins at birth and continues throughout life. In the past, formal compulsory education included the period from the age of six or seven to fourteen or fifteen with voluntary attendance during the high school period to about the age of seventeen or eighteen. More recently, the compulsory age has been extended downward in many countries to include nursery and kindergarten education from the ages of three, four and five. At the other end of the scale, the trend is for compulsory part-time education to eighteen with a continuous provision for education for adults up to old age. Within national systems of education there are schools for the blind, the deaf, and for the physically and mentally disabled. Commercial, vocational, technical and agricultural schools have been developing rapidly during recent years. Teachers must be trained and educated to meet these educational needs; hence, teacher education encompasses an extremely broad field. The present work covers only a small portion of this major field: the preparation of teachers for teaching children in the ordinary elementary and secondary schools; i.e., the preparation of teachers for the nursery and kindergarten grades, from the age of three, four or five, through the ordinary high school, terminating at seventeen or eighteen. Teachers for private schools are not discussed as such; nor are those private institutions that are not in the 'recognized', 'approved', or 'accredited' lists of the respective countries treated in this work. Throughout the report, the reader may be inclined to regret certain gaps which tend to leave the work incomplete. Difficulties in transportation and postal services during the period of compilation of data limited the amount of information obtainable from overseas countries. This condition is especially true in the case of New Zealand and, to a lesser degree, with respect to Australia, Scotland and England. However, the writer feels that the information received indicates the trend of educational practices in these countries. Again, the almost overwhelming magnitude of the problem of educating teachers in a country as large and as varied as the United States with its numerous state and local, public and private institutions, limits the discussion of teacher education to, at most, a few institutions for particular reference, with a general over-all view of conditions in an attempt to determine the trends.