05/03/2012Two recent stories prove that Finland is far from the only country offering international lessons on how to improve the quality of the teacher workforce.
For starters, there's a lot to be learned from Michigan State University's six-year study of teacher preparation programs for mathematics teachers in 17 countries (notably, not including Finland!), nicely distilled in an interview with Maria Teresa Tatto, study director. They found that effective teachers uniformly come from rigorous and selective teacher prep programs—and candidates are only let in to those programs if they have demonstrated strong math skills in their high school years.
Revamping hiring practices is also on the agenda in India. In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the government recently challenged the status quo by raising the standards for future educators. The new Tamil Nadu Teacher Eligibility Test (TNTET) will serve to base eligibility to work in government schools on content and pedagogy knowledge—rather than seniority. Sound familiar?