Lifelong Learning Programme

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Initiatives in Chemistry Teacher Training in Ireland

Marie Walsh

Limerick Institute of Technology
Limerick/ROI (Ireland)

Marie.Walsh@lit.ie

Abstract

In Ireland, under the governance of The Teaching Council, there is a clear structure to Initial Teacher Education by one of two mechanisms, concurrent or consecutive, both of which have come under critical review in recent times. Chemistry at upper secondary school is a minority subject and Chemistry teachers generally will be timetabled to teach other subjects as well. In some cases budgetary and other logistical requirements within a school means that Chemistry may be taught by a non-specialist. Balancing Subject Content Knowledge with Pedagogical Skills Training requires skilful manoeuvring to ensure that teachers are not disadvantaged in their own Initial Teacher Education. They should be qualified and confident in their attempts to teach what is perceived to be a difficult and abstract subject and to motivate their students to study Chemistry. However, Chemistry teachers in Ireland are fortunate that they have access to skills development initiatives and sharing of expertise with experienced teachers and trainers, both in subject content and in pedagogical supports. The Professional Development Service for Teachers has evolved subject specific support teams, drawing on the state-of-the-art in educational theories and practice. There are several other sources of information, support and in-service training for Chemistry teachers. This paper summarises the current options for Initial Teacher Education in Chemistry and also for In-service Training, as well as the requirements for Induction Training of newly qualified teachers. It provides an overview in terms of the Conference on Initiatives in Chemistry Teacher Training since practitioners in the field will also share their work and views in greater depth.

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Comments about this Paper

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Date: 2014.03.29

Posted by Mariusz Jarocki (Poland)

Message: An introduction of the paper is focused on the Sahlberg Report. It made possible radical plans to overhaul the provision of initial teacher education. Next in the section, the authors consider two mechanisms currently achieved for teachers' training in Ireland. The introduction ends with review of Irish programs concentrated on increasing teaching qualifications. The second section describes in details pre-service training in science/chemistry education in Ireland, dividing the subject into particular levels and teachers' entitlements. Then a problem of newly qualified teachers is mentioned. Next, in-service training is discussed. The paper ends with conclusions with the most important ones that the reality for Chemistry teachers is that they must have sufficient subject content knowledge, confidence in their practical ability, pedagogical skills and be at the heart of development of 21st century skills for themselves and their learners to. Graduating as a Chemistry teacher is not an end point but a step towards the continuum of learning and excellent professional practice. The conclusions look little obvious but in the context of previous considerations they take additional effect.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.

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