Education is one area that contributes to national development by fostering the growth of productive human capital. A society that is made up of educated people who are capable of bringing about positive economic progress and social change can be established through the establishment of robust educational structures. As people put the skills they learned in school to use, a positive social transformation and the growth of the economy that comes with it are achieved. One person, whom we all refer to as our "teacher," facilitates the acquisition of these skills. As a result, nations seeking social and economic advancements need not overlook teachers and their contribution to national development.
The most important factor in determining how well students learn is their teachers. In general, not only is the standard of education determined by teachers' performance, but so is the general performance of the students they instruct. As a result, teachers should receive the best possible education so that they can assist students in learning in the best possible manner. It is common knowledge that one of the most significant influences on students' learning, social, and academic development is the quality of their teachers. Teachers who receive high-quality training will, in large part, be able to effectively manage classrooms and facilitate learning. Even in nations where students consistently score high on international exams like Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), teacher quality remains a concern. Because of its potential to improve students' outcomes, teacher education is of the utmost importance in these nations.
In almost all countries, the structure of teacher education is constantly evolving in response to the need for teachers or the goal of producing teachers who are aware of the current needs of students. The changes are attempts to produce high-quality teachers and, at times, to keep classrooms filled with teachers. According to Accomplished California Teachers (2015), the methods outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act have largely served as the impetus for debate regarding how to promote high-quality teachers in the United States. Issues pertaining to the teacher and teaching quality persist even in Japan and other Eastern nations, where there are more teachers than needed and structures have been established to ensure the production and employment of high-quality teachers (Ogawa, Fujii, & Ikuo, 2013). Therefore, teacher education is not a joke anywhere. There are two parts to this article. The first section discusses Ghana's teacher education system, and the second section examines some factors that contribute to high-quality instruction.
Ghana has made a concerted effort to train competent teachers for its elementary schools. According to Benneh (2006), Ghana's goal for teacher education is to provide a comprehensive program of initial teacher training and in-service training that will produce competent teachers who will contribute to enhancing the efficiency of classroom instruction. Until recently, only Colleges of Education (CoE) offered the initial teacher education program for Ghana's basic school teachers. Since then, University of Education, University of Cape Coast, Central University College, and other tertiary institutions have joined in. The Colleges of Education offer tuition while the University of Cape Coast, through the Institute of Education, examines and awards certificates, which is the most striking difference between the programs offered by the other tertiary institution and the Universities. These institutions' training programs aim to train a large number of qualified teachers to work in schools. To guarantee quality, teacher education programs are accredited by the National Accreditation Board.
Based on the structure and content of the courses offered by the program, the National Accreditation Board grants accreditation to teacher education programs. As a result, the content and structure of various institutions' courses differ. For instance, although they all award a Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) after three years of training, the Institute of Education, University of Cape Coast's course structure and content differ slightly from those of the Center for Continue Education, University of Cape Coast. Neither of these two programs is comparable to the CoEs. The CoEs' four-year Untrained Teacher's Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) and DBE programs are not identical, but they are very similar. The two-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education and four-year Bachelor's degree programs offered by the University of Cape Coast, the University of Education, Winneba, and other universities and university colleges can be characterized in the same way. Even though the same products are popular with the same customers, different steps are taken to prepare them.
Through these numerous programs, teachers are prepared for elementary through senior high schools. When there is a shortage of teachers and more teachers need to be trained quickly, alternative pathways or programs for teacher preparation are regarded as beneficial. The UTDBE program, which aims to give non-professional teachers professional skills, is a typical example. However, this effort to produce more teachers in response to the teacher shortage tends to compromise quality.
According to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci, and Stone (2010), there are numerous and intricate factors that contribute to the issues of teacher education and retention. However, one factor that teacher educators are concerned about is the alternative routes that teacher education takes. Many of the pathways' primary objective is to expedite teachers' entry into the teaching profession. As a result, prospective teachers were deprived of the necessary teacher preparation before becoming classroom teachers. According to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci, and Stone (2010), those in favor of alternative routes, such as Teach for America (TFA), have defended their alternatives by stating that, despite the fact that the students are participating in a brief period of pre-service training, they are academically brilliant and therefore have the capacity to learn a great deal in a short amount of time. Others argue that in subjects like English, science, and mathematics, where there is typically a shortage of teachers, alternative pathways must be open to qualified applicants who have taken undergraduate courses in these subjects. None of these justifications for alternative routes hold true for alternative teacher education programs in Ghana, where academically gifted students avoid teaching for reasons I'll get into later.
Quality teacher preparation is somehow overlooked when the objective is simply to fill vacant classrooms. The alternative routes make it easier to get into teacher education programs right from the selection stage. I am certain that the entry requirements into the CoEs were not adhered to when, for instance, the second batch of UTDBE students were admitted. It was emphasized that the applicant must hold a certificate above the Basic Education Certificate Examination and be a non-professional basic school teacher who has been hired by the Ghana Education Service. It did not matter what grades were earned. The CoEs would not have trained students who initially did not qualify for enrollment in the regular DBE program if this pathway had not been established. However, the debilitating effect of compromised quality is left behind.
I have only recently come to the realization that CoEs in particular are not attracting candidates with very high grades, even with regular DBE programs. As I have now discovered, this has a significant impact on teacher effectiveness and quality. Because teacher education programs in Ghana aren't thought of as highly regarded, applicants with good grades don't choose them. As a result, applicants to teacher education programs typically have relatively lower grades. I noticed that the minimum entry grades for candidates taking the West African Senior Secondary School Examination had been reduced from C6 to D8 when the entry requirements for the CoEs' DBE program for the 2016/2017 academic year were published. CoEs' efforts to attract more applicants could only account for this fall in standard. In order to draw in a larger number of applicants, universities also lower the entry requirements for their educational programs. According to Levine (2006), the universities, so to speak, regard their teacher education programs as "cash cows." In order to increase enrollment, they are compelled, as the CoEs have done, to lower admission requirements in order to make money. the fact that admission requirements are being lowered worldwide with the intention of increasing enrollment. Teacher education faces a significant obstacle as a result of this poor recruitment strategy or standard-lowering.
The Japanese have succeeded in elevating teacher education to a prestigious level, thereby attracting students with excellent grades. One possibility is that authorities in Japan do not feel any pressure to hire teachers because the number of available teachers far outweighs the number of applicants. If they do everything in their power to select students from higher grades for teacher education programs, their system will not suffer. They place more importance on issues related to teacher selection than they do on recruitment. However, recruitment issues are particularly pressing in Western and African nations. This is because there are more teachers needed than there are available. Due to the low regard for teachers and the teaching profession, countries in the West and Africa struggle to hire teachers. As a result, programs for teacher education do not draw students with exceptionally high grades. It is important to note that recruiting candidates with high grades ensures that teachers will exhibit the two qualities essential to effective teaching—quality and effectiveness—after training. However, it is not just the recruiting process that determines whether or not teacher education will be prestigious. If the teaching profession is valued highly and is able to attract the best candidates, teacher education can be successful. Otherwise, teacher education programs will not be able to fully fulfill their purpose, regardless of the measures that will be taken to strengthen teacher education or the incentives that are provided to attract applicants.
Teacher preparation programs must provide effective training during the initial phase of teacher training as well as support for the first few years after teachers are hired in order to improve teacher preparation. Because of this, Lumpe (2007) concurs with the notion that pre-service teacher education programs ought to ensure that teachers have a thorough comprehension of efficient teaching methods. Therefore, effective teaching methods should be the focus of methodology classes. Regardless of the course of the training program, it must be structured so that trainees acquire pedagogical knowledge in addition to subject matter knowledge. They should also get enough exposure to on- and off-campus teaching practices, which are real-world classroom experiences. Teacher preparation programs should not just focus on filling vacancies, regardless of whether there is a need to fill classroom vacancies as a result of the high rate of teacher attrition that many nations experience.
DETERMINANTS OF TEACHER QUALITY
The quality of a teacher has such a significant impact on the learning of students. Anyone who has ever worked as a teacher knows how important it is to improve teacher quality in education reform efforts. According to Priagula, Agam, and Solmon (2007), teacher quality has a significant impact on students' learning in the classroom. Students' success is positively impacted by qualified teachers. When teachers are good and effective, students learn more, whereas when teachers are ineffective, students learn less. Regarding classroom teachers, teacher quality is a never-ending process of self-evaluation for professional development and self-renewal to improve teaching. An effective or quality teacher, in the eyes of the teacher educator, possesses solid subject-matter and pedagogy knowledge on which to build.
Many exemplary qualities are possessed and displayed by great teachers. They have the expertise, subject matter, and teaching methods necessary to reach every child. They aid in providing students with the knowledge and breadth of awareness necessary to make sound judgments on their own. This section will focus on three factors that influence teacher quality. They exist; experience, subject-matter content knowledge, and pedagogical expertise.
PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE
Trainees in every field receive some kind of education that teaches them about the job ahead of them and helps them prepare for it. Pedagogical Content Knowledge or Pedagogical Knowledge refers to the teacher's knowledge. Pedagogical Content Knowledge is the knowledge that teachers use to organize their classrooms, teach the material that students must master, and manage the students in their care. In general, pedagogical knowledge is information that a teacher uses to help students learn. There are two main types of pedagogical content knowledge: teachers' knowledge of teaching methods and students' preconceptions. Preconceived notions about what they are learning are brought by students to class. The actual content that is presented may or may not match the preconceived notions. Educators should have a smart thought of the two sorts of bias, to help understudies, supplant the conflicting pre-originations or expand upon the reliable pre-originations to achieve significant learning. To help students learn, teachers must have a variety of teaching methods at their disposal. Students learn little or nothing when the methodologies are used incorrectly. In point of fact, if either of the two is weak, the teacher will become a bad one because he or she will not be able to carry out the responsibilities associated with the chosen profession. As a result, Pedagogical Content Knowledge is emphasized during teacher preparation.
Diverse sources help teachers acquire Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Three potential sources of Pedagogical Content Knowledge were identified by Friedrichsen, Abell, Pareja, Brown, Lankford, and Volkmann (2009). They listed professional development programs, teaching experiences, and teacher experiences as the sources. Pedagogical Content Knowledge is acquired by teachers in a variety of ways while they are students in teacher education programs. They learn, for instance, how to put the pedagogical skills they've learned into practice during practice. Through workshops, lectures, collaboration with colleagues, and teaching practice, teacher education and other professional development programs provide teachers with opportunities to acquire pedagogical content knowledge. Then, as they teach students in their classrooms, they learn which teaching methods are most effective in particular circumstances. Typically, that final source is ignored. It suggests that the teacher's professional knowledge develops long before the teacher becomes a candidate for teacher education. This indicates that prospective teachers' professional knowledge and beliefs are significantly influenced by how teachers teach. Because it is unintentional and informal, teachers at all levels typically overlook this type of learning.
Pedagogical Content There are both formal and informal ways to acquire knowledge. The formal means consist of formal learning opportunities for pedagogical content knowledge that are designed by institutions and based on learning objectives that typically serve as prerequisites for certification. Students in formal education are aware of the goal of acquiring pedagogical skills. On the other hand, informal learning is not planned out in advance. Since it occurs by accident, it qualifies as a "side effect." It lacks a focus on learning outcomes, as described by Kleickmann et al. (2012), and it is heavily contextualized. This is frequently referred to as "learning by doing." There are informal, deliberative learning situations. This occurs during activities like group learning, mentoring, and the deliberate application of particular tools or skills. Non-formal learning was referred to by Werquin (2010) as deliberative, informal learning. Non-formal learning, in contrast to formal learning, does not require certification and does not take place in educational establishments. Whether pedagogical content knowledge bridges the gap between content knowledge and actual teaching Pedagogical content knowledge It ensures that discussions of content are relevant to teaching and that the discussions themselves are focused on the content by bridging the gap. Teachers need to pay attention to Pedagogical Content Knowledge as a result. According to Harr, Eichler, & Renkl (2014), teachers with good pedagogical content knowledge have good control over classroom management and assessment, as well as knowledge of learning processes, teaching methods, and individual characteristics. These teachers are able to present or help even lazy students learn concepts while also creating an environment that encourages learning. Teachers with a high level of pedagogical content knowledge can be considered high-quality teachers because they are able to facilitate student learning. It's important to note that good teachers don't just have knowledge of pedagogical content. If a teacher is knowledgeable in pedagogy but not in the subject matter or content, they will not be effective.
The objective of education is to assist students in developing intellectual resources that will enable them to fully participate in the main areas of human learning and inquiry. The teacher's ability to assist students in learning is influenced by the subject matter she or he teaches. That is to say, teachers' efforts to help students learn a subject are influenced by their knowledge of the subject. If a teacher is not well-informed or ignorant, he or she will not only do students no favors but also a great deal of harm. When a teacher thinks of knowledge in a narrow way or does not have accurate information about a particular subject, students will receive the same shallow or inaccurate information. Students' persistent preconceptions and misconceptions will be hard to spot by this kind of teacher. Uncritically or inappropriately altering texts, such a teacher risks introducing misconceptions. The kind of questions the teacher asks, the ideas he or she reinforces, and the kinds of tasks the teacher creates are all influenced by the teacher's conception of knowledge.
The content knowledge of teachers' subject matter must extend beyond the curriculum's specific topics. This is due to the fact that the instructor not only explains concepts to students. Students are taught why a particular idea or definition is acceptable, why they should be familiar with it, and how it relates to other ideas or definitions. If the teacher is knowledgeable about the subject, this can be done correctly. Understanding the intellectual context and significance of the subject matter are two components of this kind of comprehension. The teacher's confidence in delivering lessons is typically bolstered by their subject knowledge, making them a good teacher.
One of the factors that contribute to global variations in teacher compensation is experience (Hanushek and Rivkin, 2006). Employers' belief that a teacher's experience makes him or her a better teacher suggests that teachers must be motivated to stay in the profession because salary differences are based on years of service. Despite the fact that some studies, such as Hanushek's (2011), have suggested that experience only has a positive impact on teacher quality in the first few years and ceases to have a positive impact on teacher efficacy after five years, common sense tells us that those who have been doing something for a long time perform better and more easily. Because more experienced teachers tend to know more about the subjects they teach, think and act appropriately in the classroom, and have much more positive attitudes toward their students, experience will continue to pay off.
Most of the time, teachers with more experience feel confident in their ability to use instructional and assessment tools. In their classrooms, these teachers are able to reach even the most difficult students. Additionally, they have a higher level of self-assurance in their ability to direct the class and prevent incidents that could hinder instruction and learning. According to Wolters & Daugherty (2007), those with more experience are more patient and tolerant than those with fewer years of experience. Teaching and classroom management skills necessary for effective teaching are acquired over time by novice teachers. They devote time to self-education, attempting to comprehend the position fully. The less experience teachers will attempt to acquire, the more knowledge teachers who have taught for a longer period of time have accumulated. Generally, positive attitudes, actions, and interactions with students are linked to a teacher's sense of effectiveness. The experienced teacher already possesses this skill. These give an explanation for why teachers with more experience typically perform better than those with less experience.
The fact that experienced teachers have received additional training and, as a result, have acquired additional teaching skills, which are required to be effective from direct experience, is another reason why teachers with more experience tend to be better than those with less experience. Typically, teacher education does not end at the initial stage of training. Teachers attend conferences, workshops, and capacity-building seminars after graduation. These give teachers a chance to learn new ways to teach and to refresh their memories of what they've learned. The majority of these conferences, seminars, and workshops add to the teacher's knowledge base. Another advantage of experienced teachers is that they have had more direct and sometimes indirect experiences that have helped them develop the skills they need to be effective teachers. That is to say, they have been put in challenging circumstances that have allowed them to improve their skills. It doesn't really matter if they were able to get through this difficult situation. The teachers gain knowledge from challenging situations in their classes. If the teachers are able to get through difficult situations, they learn how to do so at the next meeting. If not, their reflections and suggestions from co-teachers help them figure out how to handle similar or similar situations. Additionally, there is a greater likelihood that they will be exposed to current, competent models. Because they have learned the necessary classroom management and instructional skills from their colleagues, more experienced teachers have a better chance of demonstrating superior self-efficacy in most areas. Because of what they have learned from in-service training, capacity building workshops and seminars, their interactions with other teachers, and the experiences they have had in their classrooms, teachers who have been in active service for a significant amount of time are most likely to be regarded as high-quality educators.
The goal of teacher education is to provide a program that educates teachers through in-service training for practicing teachers and initial teacher training for teacher trainees in order to produce knowledgeable and committed educators who can effectively teach and learn. Teacher education programs have been established to train teachers in order to accomplish this goal. These programs vary from nation to nation. It is possible for different programs to train teachers for the same certificate in the same country. These alternative programs are made especially for areas with a teacher shortage and efforts to train a large number of teachers at once. These alternative programs make it easier to get a teacher's license, making it possible for people who wouldn't normally be able to become teachers. This presents significant difficulties. Because a large number of teachers are required in a short amount of time, their training is somewhat accelerated, resulting in teachers of lower quality who are typically referred to as "half-baked." People who applied to a program but were not accepted do not pursue a career in education because there is no other option. In the end, applicants like these are less likely to be committed to the teaching profession. The purpose for which the initial teacher training institutions were established is actually hindered by accelerating initial teacher preparation. This is due to the low quality of the teachers produced by such training.
The achievement of students is directly influenced by teacher preparation. A well-prepared teacher is one of the most crucial school factors that determines student success. A teacher who has completed a solid teacher preparation program is well-prepared. Therefore, educators must work toward necessary enhancements in teacher preparation. Teacher preparation programs must provide strong preparation during the initial teacher training period and support new teachers until they are hired in order to improve teacher preparation. The development of effective teaching methods should be emphasized in pre-service teacher education. This can be accomplished through field experiences and methodology classes. Having good teachers in the classroom has a positive effect on students' achievement because students with good teachers achieve more, while students with bad teachers achieve less.
The quality of a teacher is determined by pedagogical content knowledge, subject matter content knowledge, and experience. Using pedagogical content knowledge, teachers make subject matter accessible to students. There are two main areas of expertise in pedagogical content knowledge: teachers' knowledge of teaching strategies and students' preconceptions regarding the subject matter. Pedagogical content knowledge links subject-matter knowledge to the practice of teaching, ensuring that discussions about content are appropriate, that they focus on the content, and that they aid in students' retention of the material. Facilitating students' learning of subject matter is the teacher's responsibility. The teacher's subject-matter content knowledge determines the degree to which the teacher can assist students in learning. By passing on the same false or shallow subject-matter knowledge to their students, teachers who possess inaccurate information or comprehend the subject matter in a narrow manner harm students. Experience is the final of the three factors that determine a teacher's quality. By attending in-service training as well as seminars, conferences, and workshops, teachers with more experience tend to have a better understanding of their job. Additionally, they may have encountered and resolved numerous challenging classroom situations, ensuring that they are fully prepared for any circumstance.