New Research on In-Service Teacher Educators

Given the important role that in-service teacher educators play in education systems worldwide, the volume of research that studies their work remains surprisingly scarce. One reason for this is that the role of the in-service teacher educator itself is not always officially defined in different educational contexts. Another is that the specialized knowledge and skills the role calls for are often not sufficiently understood (and so, for example, in-service teacher educators are often seen as simply more experienced, qualified or capable teachers). Clearly, though, the quality of professional development teachers receive is affected by teacher educator competence, and improved teacher educator effectiveness is an important element in the broader goal of improving educational outcomes.

The British Council has in recent years expanded the dedicated support it provides for teacher educators globally through a range of self-access and more formally organised resources and activities – information about these is available here. At country level, too, the British Council commissions research into the work of teacher educators and a recent study I conducted in Nepal with my colleague there Prem Prasad Poudel has just been published. Entitled, ‘The practices, perspectives and professional needs of in-service teacher educators in Nepal‘, the study focuses on teacher educators (referred to locally as trainers) who deliver in-service courses for Provincial Education Training Centres (PETCs). One defining feature of these teacher educators is that the vast majority of them work on a ‘roster’ basis – i.e. being a teacher educator is not their primary role in the education system (most are teachers) and they deliver courses for the PETCs periodically when called upon. The purpose of the research was to understand the experiences of these teacher educators (across a range of subjects) and to make recommendations for improving in-service trainer capacity and effectiveness in Nepal.

This study took place between October and December 2023, and evidence was collected from teachers, trainers and PETC officials in all seven provinces of Nepal through the observation of training sessions, face-to-face and remote individual and group interviews and an online trainer survey. The results highlighted strengths of the in-service training system in Nepal (such as motivated trainers) but also several factors that limit the quality of their work (such as lack of opportunities for professional development). These are discussed in the report, along with 20 recommendations for concrete measures that can be taken to strengthen several dimensions of Nepal’s in-service training system.

This study is of more general relevance to educational systems where centrally organised in-service training is the main form of professional development that teachers have access to.

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One Response to New Research on In-Service Teacher Educators

  1. Amna Mohamed Abdelkarim Bedri says:

    I totally agree with you on the importance of in-service teacher training. On reflecting on the situation in Sudan, we notice that the Ministry of education has deliberately undermined teacher training institutes both at pre-service and in-service levels. It has first shut down what was called the two-years colleges which is a pre-service training institutes for secondary school graduates. These trainee teachers came from different parts of the country and lived in the compound for two years. They had intensive training including teaching practice and material development from local resources. These institutes were affiliated to the universities and became education colleges.
    Then the training department in the ministry known as ‘ educational qualification’ was also shut down and the budget of teacher training was transferred to the Open University of Sudan in order to enrol teachers who do not hold a university degree following a new requirement for appointing teachers in the country.
    The other problem is that in-service training is not compensated and the reports presented by what is called ‘supervisors’ who visit schools to evaluate teachers’ performance is not recognised.

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