MEASURES TO IMPROVE PRE-SERVICE TEACHER TRAINING: THE OPINION OF ACADEMIC STAFF
Adequate preparation and performance of teachers is a key factor for the proper functioning of the schools; in fact, there is a vast set of evidences to place it as the most influential aspect in the quality of school education (Hattie, 2003; Kane, Rockoff and Staiger, 2008). Consequently, it seems logical that any educational policy aimed at improving the school has to take teachers into consideration (Bonal and Verger, 2013). In fact, those countries whose educational systems achieve higher successes prioritize teacher quality in front of other measures (OECD, 2005).
In the present paper we describe the first results a research project based on a Delphi Panel methodology which has been carried out amongst all the academic staff at Balearic Islands University (UIB) that has teaching responsibilities in Primary Pre-service Teachers’ Training (PPTT). The study has the primary objective of gathering and harmonizing a set of potential improvements to be implemented in the studies of PPTT. The initial Delphi Panel questionnaire content has been divided into 5 main dimensions of analysis:
a) general measures;
b) measures linked with students;
c) measures linked with academic staff;
d) measures linked with teaching methodology;
e) measures linked with course content and planning.
In this paper we will focus on the first of the dimensions studied.
A total of 79 participants replied the initial questionnaire (Gender: 67,2% female and 32,8% male; Age: mean 42,4 years with SD 3,2; Position: 87,4% with permanent contract with the university and 15,3% with non-permanent contract). In the first dimension, participants had to express their level of agreement (using a Likert scale of 5 positions) regarding 19 general measures to improve PPTT and add other potential measures to be discussed in successive rounds of the questionnaire. From the initial 19 measures there was consensus of 11 of them, while in the other 8 results were divergent amongst participants. To establish a consensus threshold we calculated the mean and standard deviation (SD) for every measure presented to respondents and we established the consensus in the items when fulfilled two conditions: a) have a mean lower than 2,4 of higher than 3,6 and b) have a SD lower than 1. In general terms, there is a high consensus in measures aimed at: improving the PPTT students’ selection criteria and methods; implement policies to re-value and improve the social image of the Primary Teachers profession; reduce the ratio students/teacher; adopt innovative teaching methodologies.
This paper is part of the activities of a project entitled “LA MILLORA DE LA FORMACIÓ INCIAL DELS MESTRES. LA VISIÓ DEL PROFESSORAT DELS GRAUS D’INFANTIL I PRIMÀRIA DE LA UIB” (Code PID 151625) funded by the Education Sciences Research Institute of UIB.
 Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers Make a Difference. What is the research evidence?. Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference, October 2003.
 Kane, J., Rockoff, J.E. and Staiger, D.O. (2008). What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City, Economics of Education Review, 27, pp. 615–631.
 Bonal, X., and Verger, A. (2013). L’agenda de la política educativa a Catalunya: una anàlisi de les opcions de govern (2011-2013). Barcelona: Fundació Bofill.
 OECD (2005). Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers. Overview. París: OECD.