Teacher Education and Teacher Quality

One of the sectors which fosters national development is education by ensuring the development of a functional human resource. The institution of strong educational structures leads to a society inhabited by enlightened people, who can cause positive economic progress and social transformation. A confident social transformation and its associated economic growth are achieved as the people apply the skills they learned while these were in school. The buy of these skills is triggerred by one individual we all ‘teacher’. For this reason, nations seeking economic and social developments need not ignore teachers and their role in national development.

Teachers are the major factor that drives Dr. Philipp Heinrich Kindt students’ achievements in learning. The performance of teachers generally determines, not only, the standard of education, but the general performance of the students they train. The teachers themselves therefore really need to get the best of education, for them to in turn help train students in the best of ways. It is known, that the standard of teachers and quality teaching are probably the most critical indicators that shape the training and social and educational growth of students. Quality training will ensure, to a large extent, teachers are of very good quality, so as to be able to properly manage classes and facilitate learning. That is why teacher quality is still a matter of concern, even, in countries where students consistently obtain high scores in international assessments, such as Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). In such countries, teacher education of prime importance because of the potential it has to cause positive students’ achievements.

The structure of teacher education keeps changing in almost all countries in respond to the quest of producing teachers who understand the current needs of students or just the demand for teachers. The changes are attempts to ensure that quality teachers are produced and sometimes just to ensure that classes are not without any teachers. In the You. S. A, how to promote high quality teachers has been an issue of contention and, for the past decade or so, has been motivated, basically, through the methods prescribed by the No Child Left behind Act (Accomplished California Teachers, 2015). Even in The japanese and other Eastern countries where there are more teachers than needed, and structures have been instituted to ensure high quality teachers are produced and employed, issues relating to the teacher and teaching quality are still of concern (Ogawa, Fujii & Ikuo, 2013). Teacher education is therefore no ruse anywhere. This article is in two parts. It first discusses Ghana’s teacher education system and in the second part talks about some determinants of quality teaching.


Ghana has been making strategic attempts to produce quality teachers for her basic school classes. As Benneh (2006) indicated, Ghana’s purpose of teacher education is to provide a complete teacher education program through the provision of initial teacher training and in-service training programs, that will produce competent teachers, that will improve the effectiveness of the teaching and learning that goes on in schools. The initial teacher education program for Ghana’s basic school teachers was offered in Colleges of Education (CoE) only, until quite recently when, University of Education, University of Cape Shoreline, Central University College and other tertiary institutions joined in. The most striking difference between the programs offered by the other tertiary institution is that while the Universities teach, examine and award certificates to their students, the Colleges of Education offer tuition while the University of Cape Shoreline, through the Institute of Education, has a look at and award certificates. The training programs offered by these institutions are attempts at providing many qualified teachers to explain to in the schools. The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher training programs in order to ensure quality.

The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher education programs based on the structure and content of the courses planned by the institution. Hence, the courses run by various institutions differ in content and structure. For example, the course content for the Institute of Education, University of Cape Shoreline is slightly not the same as the course structure and content of the Center for Continue Education, University of Cape Shoreline and none of these two programs matches that of the CoEs, though they all award Diploma or degree in Basic Education (DBE) after four years of training. The DBE and the Four-year Inexperienced Teacher’s Diploma or degree in Basic Education (UTDBE) programs run by the CoEs are merely similar, but different. The same can be said of the Two-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education, Four-year 4-year college degree programs run by the University of Cape Shoreline, the University of Education, Winneba and the other Universities and University Colleges. In effect even though, same products attract same clients, the preparation of the products are done in numerous ways.

It is through these many programs that teachers are ready for the basic schools — from nursery to senior high schools. Alternative trails, or programs where teachers are ready are seen to be good in situations where there are shortages of teachers and more teachers ought to be trained within a very small amount of time. A typical example is the UTDBE program, mentioned above, which design to render non-professional teachers with professional skills. But this attempt to produce more teachers, because of scarcity of teachers, has the tendency of comprising quality.

As noted by Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) the factors that contribute to the difficulties of teacher education and teacher maintenance are varied and complex, but one factor that teacher educators are concerned about is the alternative trails where teacher education occur. The prime purpose of many of the trails is to fast track teachers into the teaching profession. This short-changed the required teacher preparation that prospective teachers need before becoming class room teachers. Those who favor alternative avenues, like Teach for America (TFA), according to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) have defended their alternative trails by saying that even though the students are engaged in a short-period of pre-service training, the students are academically brilliant and so have the capacity to learn a lot in a brief period. Others claim that in subjects like English, Science and mathematics where there are usually shortages of teachers, there needs to be a strategic checking of alternative trails to good candidates who had done English, Mathematics and Science courses at the undergrad level. None of these arguments for alternative trails, hold for the alternative teacher education programs in Ghana, where the academically brilliant students shun teaching due to reasons I will come to.

When the target is just to fill empty classes, issues of quality teacher preparation is relegated to the background, somehow. Right at the selection stage, the alternative trails ease the requirement for gaining entry into teacher education programs. When, for example, the second portion of UTDBE students were said, I can say with full confidence that entry requirements into the CoEs just weren’t followed. What was highlighted was that, the applicant must be a non-professional basic school teacher who has been engaged by the Ghana Education Service, and that the applicant holds a certificate above Basic Education Certificate Examination. The grades obtained did not matter. If this walkway wasn’t created, the CoEs would not have trained students who initially did not qualify to enroll in the regular DBE program. However, it leaves in its trek the debilitating effect sacrificed quality.

Even with regular DBE programs, I have realized, just lately I need to say, that CoEs in, particular, are not attracting the candidates with very high grades. This as i have trained now has a huge influence on both teacher quality and teacher effectiveness. The fact is, teacher education programs in Ghana are not regarded as prestigious programs and so applicants with high grades do not opt for education programs. And the majority of applicants who apply for teacher education programs have, relatively, lower grades. When the entry dependence on CoEs’ DBE program for 2016/2017 educational year was published, I noticed the minimum entry grades had been dropped from C6 to D8 for Western side African-american Senior Supplementary School Examination candidates. This drop in standard could only be caused by CoEs’ attempt to attract more applicants. The universities too, lower their cut off point for education programs so as attract more candidates. The universities as supposed by Levine (2006) see their teacher education programs, to say, as cash cows. Their desire to make money, force them to lower everyone standards, like the CoEs have inked, in order to increase their enrollments. The fact that, everyone standards are internationally lowered to experience a target of increasing numbers. This weak recruitment practice or lowering of standards introduce a serious challenge to teacher education.

The japanese have been able to make teacher education and teaching prestigious and because of this attract students with high grades. It’s possible to claim that in The japanese, the method of getting teachers far is higher than the demand and so authorities are not under any pressure to rent teachers. Their system won’t suffer if they do all they can to select higher grade student into teacher education programs. To them, the difficulties relating to picking a teachers are more important that the issues relating to recruitment. However, in western and African-american countries the difficulties relating to recruitment are prime. It is so because the demand for teachers far outweighs that of supply. Western and African-american countries have difficulties prospecting teachers because teachers and the teaching profession is not held in high worth. Teacher education programs therefore do not attract students who have very good grades. It is worth noting that, it is not the prospecting procedure only that determines whether or not teacher education will be prestigious, however prospecting candidates with high grades, ensures that after training, teachers will exhibit the two characteristics necessary to effective teaching — quality and effectiveness. Teacher education can be effective if the teaching profession is held in high worth and therefore able to attract the best of applicants. Otherwise, irrespective of rewards put into destination for a attract applicants and irrespective of the measures which will be executed to strengthen teacher education, teacher education programs cannot fully achieve its purpose.

In order to strengthen teacher preparation, there is the requirement for teacher preparation programs to provide good training during the initial teacher training stage, and provide and sustain support during the first few years after the teachers have been employed. That is why Lumpe (2007) supports the idea that pre-service teacher education programs should ensure teachers have gained a good understanding of effective teaching strategies. Technique classes therefore should give attention to effective teaching strategies. Irrespective of the walkway the training program takes, the program must be structured in a way that students gain knowledge about pedagogy, besides the familiarity with subject material. They should also get enough contact with practical class room experience like the on-campus and off-campus teaching practice. Whether or not there is the need to fill vacancies in the class room due to the high teacher attrition, many countries face, teacher preparation programs should aim at producing quality and effective teacher and not just filling vacancies.


Teacher quality has such enormous influence on students’ learning. Anyone who has experienced the teaching business will agree that teacher quality is central to education reform efforts. Priagula, Agam & Solmon (2007) described teacher quality as an important in-school factor that impact significantly on students’ learning. Quality teachers have positive affect the success of students. Where the students have quality and effective teachers the students make learning gains while people that have ineffective teachers show diminishes. Depending on class room teacher, teacher quality is a continuous process of doing self-assessment so as to have professional development and a self-renewal, in order to enhance teaching. For the teacher instructor, an effective or quality teacher is one who has a good subject-matter and pedagogy knowledge, how the he/she can build upon.

Outstanding teachers possess and exhibit many exemplary qualities. They have the skills, subject material, and pedagogy to reach every child. They help render their students with the knowledge and breadth of awareness to make sound and independent judgments. Three determinants of teacher quality will be considered here. They are; pedagogical knowledge, subject-matter content knowledge and experience.


Students of the profession receive some sort of education that will give them insight into and prepare them for the task ahead. That of the teacher is called Pedagogical Content Knowledge or Pedagogical Knowledge. Pedagogical Content Knowledge serves as a, knowledge the teachers utilization in organizing classes, delivering the content the students must show mastery over and for managing the students entrusted into their care. Generally speaking, pedagogical knowledge is knowledge the teacher uses to facilitate students’ learning. Pedagogical Content Knowledge is in two major forms — teachers’ familiarity with the students’ pre-conceptions and teachers’ familiarity with teaching methodologies. Students come to class with a host of pre-conceptions relating to the things they are learning. The pre-conceptions may or may not be in step with the actual subject-matter that is delivered. Teachers must have a good idea of both kinds of preconception, in order to help students, replace the inconsistent pre-conceptions or build upon the consistent pre-conceptions to bring about meaningful learning. Teachers must have a repertoire of teaching methodologies for assisting students’ learning. When the methodologies are applied mistakenly no learning occurs in students. In effect when either of the two is weak, the teacher becomes a bad one because that teacher will not be able to execute his/her responsibility in the vocation he/she has chosen. Due to this during teacher preparation, Pedagogical Content Knowledge is highlighted.

Teachers gain Pedagogical Content Knowledge from various sources. Friedrichsen, Abell, Pareja, Brown, Lankford and Volkmann (2009) famous three potential sources of Pedagogical Content Knowledge. They listed the sources as professional development programs, teaching experiences not only that teachers’ own learning experiences. Throughout their days as students in teacher education programs, teachers are made it easier for in variety ways to gain Pedagogical Content Knowledge. For examples, during practice, they learn how to put the pedagogical skills they trained. Teacher education programs and other professional development programs create avenues for teachers to gain pedagogical content knowledge through workshops, lectures, working together with fellow workers, and in teaching practice. Then their experiences in their classes as they teach students cause them to gain insight into which methodologies work under best under specific situations. That last source is usually ignored. This implies that the professional familiarity with the teacher begins to develop a long time before the teacher becomes a candidate stepping into teacher education. This means, the way teachers teach influences to a large extent the prospective teachers’ professional knowledge and beliefs. This type of learning is, generally, overlooked by teachers at all levels because unintended and informal, it is.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge can be gained through formal and informal means. Learning opportunities for pedagogical content knowledge, technically, designed by institutions, based on learning objectives which generally are prerequisite for certification, make up the formal means. In formal learning, students have clear ideas about the reason for acquiring pedagogical skills. Informal learning, on the other hand, is not organized intentionally. It takes place that brings to mind and so may very well be as ‘side effect’. As Kleickmann et ing (2012) described it, it has no goal with respect to learning outcomes, and it is contextualized to a large extent. This is often called learning by experience. Informal, but deliberative, learning situations exists. This occurs in situations such as learning in groups, mentoring, and deliberate practicing of some skills or tools. Werquin (2010) described informal, but deliberative, learning as non-formal learning. Unlike formal learning, non-formal learning does not occur in educational institutions and does not attract certification. Whether pedagogical content knowledge

Pedagogical Content Knowledge is used to links the hole between content knowledge and actual teaching. By linking the hole, it ensures that discussions of content are relevant to teaching and that discussions themselves are focused on the content. As a result, Pedagogical Content Knowledge is something teachers must pay attention to. Teachers who possess and use good Pedagogical content knowledge have good control over class room management and assessment, knowledge about learning processes, teaching methods, and individual characteristics (Harr, Eichler, & Renkl, 2014). Such teachers are able to create an atmosphere that facilitates learning and can present or facilitate the training of concepts by even lazy students. They are able to make learning easier by students hence teacher with high pedagogical content knowledge can be classified as quality teachers. It is worth noting that it is not pedagogical content knowledge only that makes good teachers. A teacher will not be good if he/she is master of pedagogical knowledge but lacks subject material content knowledge.


The purpose of teaching is to help individuals develop intelligent resources that will enable them participate fully mainly areas of human taught and enquiry. Their education to how the teacher can help students to learn depends on the subject-matter the teacher possesses. In other words, teachers’ familiarity with subject-matter has influence on their efforts to assist students to learn that subject-matter. If a teacher is ignorant or not knowledgeable he/she cannot do students any good, he/she will rather much harm them. When the teacher conceives knowledge such that it is narrow, or do not have accurate information relating to a particular subject-matter, he/she will pass around these same low or wrong information to students. This kind of teacher will hardly recognize the consistent pre-conceptions and challenge the misconceptions of students. Such a teacher can introduce misconceptions as he/she uses text messages uncritically or wrongly alter them. It is the teacher’s pregnancy of knowledge that shapes the kind of questions he/she asks and the ideas he/she reinforces as well as the sorts of tasks the teacher designs.

Teachers’ subject-matter matter content knowledge must go beyond the particular topics of their course load. This is because the teacher does not only define concepts for students. Teachers show students why a particular concept or definition is acceptable, why individuals need to know it and how it relates to other concepts or descriptions. This can be done properly if the teacher possesses a good understanding of the subject-matter. This type of understanding includes a knowledge of the intelligent context and value of the subject-matter. The understanding of subject material generally reinforces the teacher’s confidence in delivering lessons, thereby making him/her a good teacher.


Experience is one of the factors that be the cause of variations in teacher salary, the world over (Hanushek and Rivkin, 2006). The fact that salary differences use the number of years the teacher has served, suggests that employers believe the teachers experience makes him/her a better teacher and such a teacher must be motivated to stay in the service. Though some studies like that Hanushek (2011) have suggested that the experience positively influences teacher quality only in the first few years, and that beyond five years, experience ends to have positive affect teacher efficacy, common sense tells us the one who has been doing something for a long time does better and with ease. Experience will therefore continue to pay, since, more capable teachers have the predisposition to know more about the subject-matter they teach, and think and behave appropriately in the class room, and have much more positive thought patterns toward their students.

Teachers who have spent more years of teaching, usually, feel self-assured in their skill to use tutorial and assessment tools. These teachers are able to reach even the most difficult-to-reach students in their classes. Next to your skin greater confidence in their capacity to control the class and forestall incidence that might make the teaching and learning process difficult. Their experience makes them much more patient and tolerant than their counterpart with few years of experience (Wolters & Daugherty, 2007). Novice teachers progressively gain and develop teaching and class room management skills needed to make them effective teachers. They hang out learning themselves — trying to understand fully the job they have entered. The teachers who have spent more years teaching have gained a rich store of knowledge the less experience teachers will be trying to build. Teachers’ sense of effectiveness is generally associated with good thought patterns, behaviors and connections with their students. This is something the experienced teacher has recently acquired. These explain why more capable teachers are usually more effective teachers than the newcomers.

Another reason more capable teachers tend to be better teachers than their inexperienced counterparts, is that, experienced teachers have gained additional training, so because of this, have acquired additional teaching skills, must be effective from direct experience. Usually the training of teachers does not end at the initial teacher training stage. After college, teachers attend capacity building seminars, workshops and meetings. These give teachers the opportunity to learn emerging teaching techniques and also refresh their memories on the things they have trained. Such seminars, workshops and meetings mostly add to the teacher’s store of knowledge. The other advantage the experienced teachers have is they may have encountered more situations to develop the skills must be effective teachers through additional direct, and sometimes roundabout experiences. In other words, they have encountered challenging situations which gave them the opportunity to build their skills. Whether or not they made it possible to overcome these challenging situation or not, does not matter so much. If the teachers encounter difficult situations in their classes, they study from them. If the teachers are able to overcome difficult situations, they get to know how to resolve such situations at the next encounter, otherwise their insights and suggestions from co-teachers gives them ideas about how to approach same or similar situations. Next to your skin a greater chance of being exposed to current and competent models. More capable teachers have a higher chance of indicating superior self-efficacy in most areas, because they discovered the needed class room management and tutorial skills from their fellow workers. Teachers who have been in active service for many years are likely to be classified as quality teachers, because of what they have trained from in-service training, capacity building workshops and seminars, their interaction with other teachers and what they have trained from experience in their classes.


Teacher education aims at providing teacher education program through initial teacher training for teacher students, and in-service training for practicing teachers in order to produce knowledgeable and committed teachers for effective teaching and learning. To realize this mission, teacher education programs have been instituted for the training of teachers. These programs change from one country to another. Even within the same country, there may be different programs training teachers for the same certificate. These alternative programs are a created, specially, where there are shortages of teachers, and attempts are increasingly being built to train large numbers of teachers at a time. These alternative programs ease the teacher certification requirement, allowing those who under normal circumstances would not become teachers. This features serious challenges. Because large numbers of teachers are essential within a brief period, their training is somewhat fast-tracked resulting in what is usually referred to as half-baked teachers — teachers of lower quality. Applicants who did not gain everyone into the program of their choice come into teaching only because they have no place else to go. Such applicants usually do not be dedicated to the teaching service in the end. Fast-tracking initial teacher preparation actually harm the mission which is the initial teacher training institutions were created. This is because the teacher produced through such training are usually not of high quality.

Teacher preparation has a direct affect students’ achievement. The most important in-school factors upon which scholar’s success knobs, is a teacher who has been well prepared. A well-prepared teacher is one who is now via a strong teacher preparation program. It is therefore required for educators to work to create needed improvements in teacher preparation. To strengthen teacher preparation, teacher preparation programs must provide strong preparation during the initial teacher training period and give support to fresh teachers until they are inducted. Pre-service teacher education should emphasize the buy of effective teaching strategies. This can be done in technique classes and related field experiences. Students who have quality teachers make achievement gains, while people that have ineffective teachers show diminishes, therefore having high quality teachers in classes has a positive affect students’ achievements.

Pedagogical content knowledge, subject material content knowledge and experience determines the standard of a teacher. Teachers make subject-matter accessible to students by using Pedagogical content knowledge. Pedagogical content knowledge has two broad areas of knowledge: teachers’ familiarity with students’ subject-matter pre-conceptions and teachers’ familiarity with teaching strategies. What Pedagogical content knowledge does is that, it links subject-matter content knowledge and the practice of teaching, making sure that discussions on content are appropriate and that, discussions focus on the content and help students to retain the content. The teacher’s job is to facilitate the training of subject-matter by students. Their education to how the teacher can help students to learn depends on the subject-matter content knowledge the teacher possesses. Teachers who possess wrong information or comprehend the subject-matter in narrow ways, harm students by passing for a passing fancy false or low subject-matter knowledge to their students. The last of the three determinants of teacher quality is experience. Teachers who have served more years gain additional and more specific training by attending seminars, meetings and workshops and in-service training and so tend to understand their job better. They also might have met and sorted many challenging situations in their class room and therefore know exactly what to do in a situation.

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