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Once pre service teachers have finished their degree, they are left to their own devices to teach their classes on their own. When our newly qualified English language teachers are let loose on society after completing five year’s training, there might be the possibility that some would like a little support in the early stages to help them on their way.

 

 

I have often wondered how my students teachers were going to feel once they had completed their training were plying their trade at their new schools.  I appreciate that they have had a year teaching before graduation; however, do they really feel confident to throw away the “L” plates and step into the hectic world of teaching? 

 

It is not uncommon for newly qualified teachers to feel intimidated once they start their new careers as they are often faced with “the old and bold” who have been round the block a few times, who maybe feel a little threatened by this “new kid on the block” with all the new ideas and methodologies that have been tried, tested and doomed to failure in Thailand over the years.

 

I am concerned as to how long it will take before all the new found enthusiasm for their chosen career is left behind and the adoption of the more trusted ways of grammar exercises and rote learning are used contrary to the 1999 Education Act, which advocates learner centeredness and communicative activities.

 

Shouldn’t there be some kind of support for these new teachers to allow them to experiment with their new skills; and encouragement given to help them during their early years? Once they have gained confidence it would then be time to reduce the amount of support gradually, so they can gain independence at their own speed.

 

One of my students has opened a Flickr account on the photographic social networking site for his class of pre service English language teachers in the hope that they will keep in touch when they are involved in their teaching practices.

 

Having some kind of network would be beneficial to all teachers who join as it would be a way to share experiences and problems amongst themselves, giving them confidence to cope with all the difficulties newly qualified teachers face in their new day to day employment.

 

This could also provide a base for the sharing of resources and the catalyst for teacher training events keeping all teachers informed of the latest news about technology and methodology that can be used in Thailand’s classrooms today.

 

There is also the possibility that teachers can help colleagues in their respective classrooms to try out new materials with a view to using them in mainstream classes in their schools.

 

This form of cooperation is bound to build confidence and make the early years much more enjoyable and less frightening.

 

It seems to me that once a student graduates from university that this is when the responsibility ends. In my opinion, this is an area that needs to be investigated as there could be fruitful interaction between newly qualified teachers and the university they have graduated from.

 

The universities can learn about the problems facing the newly qualified graduates and there can be the possibility of support from the university, for the development of materials and pedagogical practice.

 

With regard to quality control, contact with graduates who are teaching locally would be an ideal way to assess the Bachelor of Education programmes they have just completed and identify new areas that could be considered for inclusion on future courses.

 

Once again, we come down to finance. Just how many teachers would give up some of their free time to assist their newfound colleagues? I, for one would do so, as I am really happy to see my students develop into my colleagues and feel quite proud of the fact. It is something I look forward to.

 

For any of this to work, it will take the time and dedication of the trainee teachers and their universities, as there will be the added burden of the cost in time and money. A programme such as this does not have any tangible results, nothing that you can touch; however, in my opinion, it could prove beneficial to both the newly qualified teachers and the universities whilst they strive for improvement in Thailand’s education system. What price a better education?


 

Support for teachers


Pre service teachers would no doubt benefit from assistance from their universities once they have graduated.

(Unedited article published in the Bangkok Post 07th October 2008)

 

 
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