Objectives of the study:
To review the existing structures of early childhood teacher education programmes in the country.
To conduct case studies of existing early childhood teacher education programmes (both formal and nonformal) in the country.
To compare the early childhood teacher education programmes in India with those of other developing and developed countries.
To extrapolate the future teacher education needs for education of the children at early stage.
To prepare policy guideliness for future early childhood teacher education programmes.
To suggest alternate models of early childhood teacher education programmes with respect to structures, duration, curriculum and evaluation.
To prepare programme of action for organizing future early childhood teacher education programmes.
Sample of the study:
88 nursery teacher education institutions in the country became sample of the study.
A Questionnaire consisting of seven parts: general nature of the institution and infrastructure available with the training institution for training purposes, admission procedure, curriculum and procedure of its transaction, practice teaching aspect, evaluation procedure, employability of the trained teachers, suggestions from the staff as well as head of the institutions about required improvements in the programme.
Design of the study:
Frequency count and Percentage
Most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions are named as Nursery Teacher Training, Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions etc.,
Generally, the successful trainees are awarded nomenclature of certificate in Early Childhood Teacher Education.
Most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions were having principals room, staff room, lecture room and office. Of course these rooms were not specious enough. However there were some institutions, which were lacking the facilities of seminar room, library, hobby room, computer room and other room like kitchen.
It was observed that most of the Early childhood Teacher Training Institutions were having the facilities for co-curricular activities like play ground, gymnasiums etc. where a number of co-curricular activities might be conducted.
It was also found that most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training institutions were having Nursery or KG schools as a part of their institutions.
Most of the teachers in the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions not having well qualified in training nursery teachers. These teachers were possessing Master degree in subject & B.Ed, etc.
None of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions were having qualified physicians and Nurses for the maintenance of health and hygiene.
In most, the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions the teaching staff and other workers were servicing on fixed pay.
The training institutions rarely invited guest lecturers to deliver lectures on specific topics.
The curriculum comprised of theory and practical components. The theory papers includes six papers namely Philosophy of Nursery education, Psychology of teaching and learning, Preschool education and management, health and nutrition, community participation, Teaching of languages, Teaching of General Science. All the theory papers were compulsory and each paper contains 60% of marks. The theory papers were being taught through lecture, discussion, lecture cum- discussion and self-preparation methods. The few institutions were having provisions for Audio-visual Aids as mode of teaching the papers in theory.
Most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions allotted six period of each theory papers and each theory paper continued for 45 minutes. The staff member was teaching all the theory papers themselves and rarely guest lecturers had been invited for specific topics.
The curriculum comprised of theory and practical components. The theory papers include six papers namely Philosophy of Nursery education, Psychology of teaching and learning, Pre-school education and management, health and nutrition, community participation, Teaching of languages, Teaching of General Science. All the theory papers were compulsory and each paper contains 60% of marks. The theory papers were being taught through lecture, discussion, lecture-cum-discussion and self-preparation methods. The few institutions were having provisions for Audio-Visual Aids as mode of teaching the papers in the theory.
Most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions allotted six period of each theory papers and each theory paper continued for forty-five minutes. The staff member was teaching all the theory papers themselves and rarely guest lecturers had been invited for specific topics.
Most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions could not organized seminar for general discussion. Of course, group discussions were organized for developing awareness among the student teachers.
The second part of the Early Childhood Teacher Training course was practical teaching or practical training. The practical work was given weight-age 40 per cent marks.
The practical training or practical teaching was made up of 56 lessons. Four lessons were conducted for one hour a day for fourteen days at nursery school. Before going to the actual teaching practice the demonstration lesson was followed by discussion that helped the student teachers in lesson preparation. After a demonstration of a lesson the student teachers were sent to classroom teaching. The teacher educator supervised all the classroom lessons and feed back was given to them. In this way, the trainees got demonstration lesson first and then they were sent to actual classroom situation.
Most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions conducted craft works so that the trainees could learn how to make aids. The skills in craft work were developed through demonstration and practice.
Most of the Early childhood Teacher Training Institutions organized the co-curricular activities including annual indoor & outdoor games, debate, extempore speech, quiz, music, dance etc. Co-curricular activities did not have separate weight-age of mark.
The Assessment of the performance of the student teachers was done in the form of internal and external evaluation. The internal evaluation of theory papers and practical training or practice teaching and craft works was done by observation, correction and feedback.
Most of the Early Childhood Teacher Training Institutions were conducting the Examinations and Teacher made tests were used in the said examination to assess their performance. On the basis of obtained marks the trainees were assessed and graded.
Above comparison shows that in some countries like Japan and Korea graduates of both two-year and four- year programs are qualified to become kindergarten teachers. Many countries like England, Australia, Israel extended early childhood teacher preparatory programmes from two to three years.
There are six main components of teacher education programme like recruitment, selection, general education, professional foundation, instructional knowledge and practice.
The practice component makes up relatively a small portion of teacher education programme in Japan and Korea while it is extensive part of American Childhood Teacher Education Programme.
The children's literature is a component of teacher education programme along with art and music for teachers. Along with it Curriculum provides understanding of children's literature and parental functioning.
There is a professional aspect included in the teacher education programme like history, philosophy, sociology, economics, psychology and anthropology. Teachers are expected to have a broad background in educational foundations.
The instructional procedure for the teacher trainees is linked with organizing, preparing and evaluating. Instructional knowledge that includes content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and curricular knowledge.
The practice component of the programme includes field experiences such as workshops, observations, simulations, practice and student teaching.
Each candidate is assessed in 13 functional areas with in 6 competency goals. These competency areas includes setting up and maintaining safe and healthy learning environment, advancing physical and intellectual competence, building positive self-concept in children, organizing and sustaining positive functioning, bringing about optimal co-ordination and child rearing practices and carrying out and supplementing responsibilities to children's programmes.
In the developed countries, it is the national or State education authorities that establishes teacher education programmes. In the United States qualifications for child care personnel are a part of licensing process. In Japan and Korea the child-care personnel must have bachelor's degree.
Teachers in child-care centers are regularly subjected to occupational health hazards, as poor conditions are source job dissatisfaction.
There is little difference in the non-formal and formal teacher education programme. Even the duration of the teacher education programme at early childhood stage does not make any difference in the process of training.
The formal as well as non-formal teacher education programmes at early childhood stage are more theory oriented and less practical based.
The trainees are not trained to solve the problems of learning of the children.
The required emphasis on developing skills of story telling or singing etc. are not well looked after during the training programme.
The teachers are trained in craft work that is more of routine type. They are not trained in coping up with the creativity or imagination of the children.
The major needs of the young children concerned with cognitive development, physical development, and social development are not taken care of while training the teachers for teaching the children.
The student teachers are given orientation in health and hygiene, but it is more theoretical than practical.
In both the programmes, as per case studies the students are exposed to psychology of children.
In case of non-formal teacher education programme some innovative programmes for self-learning are carried out. The programmes like ANKUR are useful self-learning programmes for regularly refreshing the student teachers.
The formal teacher education programmes are more tuned to the secondary teacher education programmes like B.Ed.
Evaluation of the trainees is more based on theory and less on practice. Also it is more in numerical terms rather than quality based.
Employability aspect of the student teachers is not taken care of by the training institutions.
For Froebel the teacher in the early childhood teaching should possess abilities as teaching through songs, teaching through occupation of the child, teaching through providing freedom to the child
For Montessori the teacher at the nursery stage must possess abilities like-teaching through daily exercises, and training in providing exercises of sensory training to the child.
Gandhi's teacher of pre-primary stage needs to possess abilities to teach through craft, and correlate different subjects with craft. His teacher should be well versed to teach through mother tongue.
For the NCTE the training need of the early childhood teacher is to understand early childhood care and education in its realistic perspective. They do not visualize any formal teaching at early childhood stage.
On the basis of extrapolation exercise it was concluded that the teacher should have abilities to develop physical, mental and social aspects of the children studying at early childhood stage. Their training needs can be summarized as:
1. The teacher should be able to design exercises that could develop general physique and muscular coordination amongst children.
2. In order to develop language of the children the teacher should have the abilities to sing songs in a rhythmic fashion, design games for the verbal development of the child and tell stories in an imaginative manner.
3. To develop the social aspect of the young children the teacher should possess the abilities to develop exercises so those children could sit with others, interact with them and sharing the material with others.
4. For environmental awareness the teacher should have abilities make the children differentiate between various colours, different seasons etc.
5. Apart from all this the teacher should be trained to keep record of the children (both health and academic).
6. They should be able to arrange different functions in the school to get the maximum participation of the children.
Based on the findings and experiences so gained a model for future Early Childhood Teacher Education four semester programme has been proposed. The assumptions underlying the proposed model, competencies to be developed in the teachers, Curriculum for the teacher education programme, scheme of yearly, weekly, and daily activities has been proposed along with valuation scheme.
Keyword(s): Teacher Education Programme