M. Nicolae

University of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
This paper explains the permanent call for today’s teachers’ professional development as they face an increasing number of challenges. High quality teacher education and high quality teaching are directly influencing student achievement and so, the learning outcomes. New roles of the ,,networked teacher’’ have been derived from the concept of “knowledge society” at all educational levels.

This paper aims at reviewing teacher training programs impact on teaching and learning.Being a qualitative study-in-progress, it uses as data sources curricula of Romanian teacher training programs to emphasize their characteristics and limitations. Although considerable amount of research has been focused on the impact of the teacher training programs on teaching and learning, there is still a need for the improvement of teachers’ knowledge and skills. Romania has been implementing during the last decade a series of programs which aimed to increase teachers’ access to the latest educational theories and practices, in order to decrease the gap between the conventional, old-fashioned way of teaching and the proactive, interactive strategies that maximize learning, stimulate creative and critical thinking, develop the capacity to initiate and cope with change and innovate.

As we will see, even if there are teachers trained to implement the latest pedagogical models, even if they learned different ways in which the most innovative techniques can both enhance students learning and raise the educational quality, they still not use it properly in the classroom. What is it so? What are the reasons for which they do not explore the advantages of new ways of dealing in education? How can teachers overcome these barriers? Researchers in the field have been indicating several impediments of teacher training programs such as: lack of time, lack of money, lack of/ poor support from governments, local or school authorities, poor training content relevance, etc. Teachers complain about the local trainers who spend countless hours on lecture-methods. Current Romanian teaching training programs leave limited time to actually assess the training programs’ strengths and weaknesses. Some of the teachers don’t have positive attitudes towards teacher training programs. They consider themselves under-challenged by the training curricula as they are sufficiently covered in their basic teacher training. A back to future perspective as personal experience is valued but requires a professional update to the society of knowledge changes and challenges.

While there is no single model of teacher education, in-school teacher training programs demonstrate to be a more effective way of preparing teachers to face a wide spectrum of student differences in their classroom. This paper outlines the positive changes of an innovative in-school teacher training program based on a school environment which empowers teachers to share experiences, ask questions, and value best practice. Findings are contextualized within international trends related to contemporary professional development programs that contribute to substantive improvements in student achievement.In schools where teachers got more practical training, the effects on their work with students were significantly better.