Problem Based Learning for Quality Teacher Education

Shetty, Geeta S
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Teachers are potentially the single most important asset in the achievement of the vision of a learning society. The modern day teacher should be prepared to take on roles of not just knowledge disseminators but also knowledge creators, and knowledge managers. The National Curricular Framework (NCERT, 2005) expects teachers to ‘play a more active role in relation to the process of knowledge construction in which children are engaged’. Teachers therefore ought to be trained in using their own individual learning curricula as a means of generating and regenerating the understandings, critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, craft skills and intellectual flexibility to be committed to life long learning. // Teacher education courses will have a responsibility, to develop the higher order thinking and decision-making skills of their own student-teachers - skills that are becoming widely accepted as necessary for lifelong learning. Teacher Education is faced with many challenges, some of which are; • A wide gap between theory and practice (Nagpal, 2000) • Use of didactic approaches for instruction, especially the lecture method that has limited scope in developing professional skills (Griffin C., 2002) • Dearth of tried and tested approaches that would help in the development of pedagogical judgment in student teachers, besides pedagogical skills and make them ‘reflective practitioners’(Schon, 1983 cited in Day C., 2003) // There should be an emphasis on experiential and self directed learning. Teacher education should focus on learning ‘which combines knowledge with understanding’ and which requires encouraging aspiring teachers to work with ‘surface learning (knowledge components or facts) and deep learning (connections, relationships, holistic understanding)’. (Svingby 1993, cited in Day C., 2003). Just as classrooms must be learning environments in which pupils receive, respond to and actively participate in generating knowledge, so professional development opportunities must provide a range of learning experiences which encourage teachers to reflect upon and inquire into their thinking and practice through interaction between their own and others’ experience, so that they are able to embrace the challenge of new teaching roles and see these as challenges rather than burdens to be borne. One of the approaches that serves to meet the challenges of teacher education is Problem Based Learning.

Teacher Education,Lifelong Learning,Skills Development