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Research Options in Teacher Education: An In-Depth Review

Programme of Action (1992) observed that “Teacher’s performance is the most crucial input in the field of education.

Whatever policy may be laid down, in the ultimate analysis these have to be interpreted and implemented by teachers as much through their example as through the teaching-learning process.”

A teacher’s performance is the most crucial input in the field of education. If we want to have the best teachers in the schools of our country, we must also ensure that they are being educated by the best teacher education system. In present times the teacher education system needs to respond not only to school education but also to the national, socioeconomic and wider issues of human empowerment in the wake of the knowledge explosion and globalisation. Recognizing this potential of teacher education has a very crucial role to play in the development of the nation. Therefore it becomes pertinent to bring about certain innovations and initiatives in teacher education programmes.

For this purpose, there is an urgent need to conduct research in various areas of teacher education to have an idea about the strengths and weaknesses of our teacher education system. Research needs to be mainly concerned with the analytical examination of the facts and exploring new dimensions of knowledge. It ought to be an effort to promote qualitative improvement in the area concerned. Research and teaching are two inseparable components. Therefore, for the development and upliftment of teacher education, more research work is necessary.

As of now, there has been extensive research work in the area of teacher education. But one of the major inputs towards enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in teacher education institutions and schools is the extent to which research outcomes and outputs of innovations are utilized by the system. It is very important to disseminate information related to the results of the research studies.

The analysis of research on teacher education indicates that researchers have undertaken studies on different sub-areas of teacher education. So far research studies have been conducted in areas like teaching competency, job satisfaction of teachers, training needs of teachers, evaluation of teacher education curriculum, value pattern of teachers, burnout tendencies among teachers, skill of teaching etc. Some of the studies have been conducted on different social, personal and psychological characteristics of prospective teachers and teacher educators.

Compared to other countries in the world, Indian Universities are producing more research degrees in education. But there is a shortage of systematic and continuous efforts in this area. More rigorous and experimental studies need to be conducted in the field of teacher education. Research, innovation and surveys must become an integral part of the programmes of teacher education. Also, intensive qualitative studies are required to analyse different aspects of teacher education. A few suggested areas of research may be:

  • Effectiveness of different teaching strategies
  • Societal expectations from teacher education programmes of different stages
  • Ethnographic studies on different ethnic groups
  • Qualitative studies on teacher education programmes at different levels to have a better understanding of the effectiveness of these programmes
  • Perception of different stakeholders regarding various aspects of teacher education programmes
  • Development of multimedia packages and educational videos
  • Development of tools of research in the area of teacher education
  • Development of instructional packages for teaching teacher education courses
  • Effectiveness of e-learning in teacher education

Apart from the areas suggested above there are many more to make a system of education more innovative and futuristic. By doing this teacher education programmes would facilitate the updation and renovation of methods of work in vague at school. The whole system needs to change for the better to help the learning of children in the time available as the number of subjects and the amount of material in each subject has grown far beyond what it was some time ago.

Another important aspect of research is the appropriate documentation of the research studies conducted. As Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17) also suggests, “A proper system of documentation for research and best and innovative practices in secondary education needs to be evolved at various levels.

Moreover, research must not be limited to only providing research reports; there is also a need to evolve a mechanism for sharing these researches with various stakeholders including curriculum developers and policymakers.” The incorporation of the suggestions and implications of the research conducted is necessary to bring about qualitative improvement in both pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes. This in turn would have an impact on the education being provided in the schools by the teachers.

Prof (Dr) Madhavi Sharma
Associate Dean
Faculty of Education
SGT University