International teacher training – Nick McKie
The international schools market is growing rapidly. International Schools research has predicted that the market will continue to develop at a healthy pace, forecasting that within five years (2021), the number of students attending international schools will have reached 6.3 million.
The biggest challenge for the market is professional capital; maintaining high skills and qualified teachers. With the number of teachers working in international schools expected to increase from 426,200 in Dec 2016 to 581,000 in 2021, the need to attract more teachers of the calibre demanded by schools is becoming a concern (ISC, International Schools Statistics, 2017).
Extensive research has been carried out by the University of Warwick which has engaged international head teachers, Post Graduate Certificate in Education international (PGCEi) alumni as well as international school federations to ascertain the current teacher training landscape. There are a number of other UK universities offering international PGCEs, however, nobody currently offers a blend of face-to-face contact, ‘live’ online sessions and an assessed Teaching Practice. By working with international schools to affirm acceptance of a higher quality programme, more in line with the rigor of a local UK PGCE, is maybe where the gap in the market is.
The Post Graduate Certificate in Education (international) is a one year course designed to prepare trainees for teaching in international settings. In terms of the Warwick offering, we are proposing to design a robust programme which is very much in line with the existing local course, comprising of three distinct modules: Subject Studies, Reflective Practice and Professional Practice. Initially, this PGCEi programme will be delivered jointly with an international education provider whose responsibilities will include admissions as well as recruitment of trainees in the particular locale.
We are aiming to equip our trainees to be effective, competent and professionally aware international educators through a unique blended learning programme that includes:
- A face to face induction week in the cohort country.
- ‘Live’ on-line sessions in Subject Studies and Reflective Practice delivered from the University of Warwick throughout the academic year.
- ‘Off-line’ tasks that supplement the ‘live’ lectures.
- Completion of an e-portfolio, with its enhanced evidence of reflection and final assessment against UK Teacher Standards.
- The completion of two Master’s assignments across the year, one based on a subject-related issue and one on a comparative international theme.
- A minimum of 90 days teaching practice throughout the year with assessment points and a summative observation from a Warwick link tutor.
- Three personal tutorials from Teaching Fellows at the University of Warwick and on-going mentor support provided by schools throughout the year.
The main challenges around this policy initiative relate to establishing brand equity, costings and delivery of the course. The University of Warwick will be a new player in a congested teacher training market hence the institutions ability to become recognised whilst remaining agile enough to sustain competitive advantage will be key. Due to the robust nature of the proposed PGCEi programme, the price point will be high in relation to competitors, however, as previously discussed, research suggests that there is a demand for a high quality teaching training alternative from a top UK University. In terms of delivery, intensive training on how to design and teach an online course as well as ongoing review will be crucial in ensuring the high quality and effectiveness of the course.