Monthly Archives: April 2017

Researching Teacher Education and Training in England

The present teacher education and training environment in England is characterised by schools and university partnerships and school-based only frameworks. There are however an increasing body of ‘independent’ teacher education providers. Out of this ‘new’ thinking has emerged labels and entities such as School Direct, Teach First, Troops to Teachers and School-Centred Initial Teacher Training.

This occurrence suggests that increasingly, research in teacher education and training is being carried out in a variety of schools’ contexts. This also provides researchers with a larger ‘ground’ in which to work and a diverse array of potential respondents and participants.

While there is always a ‘downside’ some may argue that the positives (such as the potential for ‘rich data’ and increased understanding of teacher education and training issue based on a wider pool of participants) out-weight the potential negatives–some are highlighted later in this article. Additionally, the highlighted negatives are also preventable with proper understanding and application of research knowledge and procedures. However, given this ‘new’ environment here are a few ethical and methodological concerns that I see as key.

Key Ethical Concerns

Increase in the pool of research participants and places means potentially, there is an increase in the number of people who can be negatively affected. This therefore lends importance to the need to promise and maintain both confidentiality and anonymity and for researchers to be vigilant in these matters.

A lapse in confidentiality and anonymity can have adverse effects on participants, bring the researcher and her or his affiliate University into disrepute and impact negatively relations between University, partnering schools and sometimes Local Educational Authority. On the extreme end of the spectrum of negative effects, a lapse in confidentiality and anonymity could lead to Job loss, or participants being ostracized especially when the research involves sensitive issues such as race, diversity, social Justice or culture.

It is my practice – where possible- to omit names and places in my research reports. However, if these are integral to your study they should only be included after obtaining appropriate consent from potential participants. The use of pseudonyms to conceal identities is a long-standing practice among researchers and continue to aid in achieving anonymity. Additionally, confidential information about children or staff should never be disclosed at any cost.

Other ethical issues which are akin to confidentiality and anonymity is openness, honesty and autonomy. As a researcher I always inform key people in the school and assure participants of their rights to withdraw from the researcher at any time, should they wish to do so, without fear of being penalised.

It is my opinion that if these ethical issues are not carefully attended to, they may lead to less than complete and honest responses from research participants which brings into question the research findings and conclusions.

Key Methodological/Procedural Concerns

The ‘new’ environment with its wide and diverse array of potential respondents and participants provides researchers with an enlarged participant pool from which to draw. This fact suggests the need for caution and care in selecting participants for your research. Participants must be ‘information rich’. Guba and Lincoln (1998) define ‘information rich’ participants as those who are able to provide insight into the issues being researched. It is worth stating here that inappropriate participants will affect the accuracy of the conclusions you draw and the potential impact your study could have.

The other key methodological or procedural concern is the need for a clearly defined research problem. In fact, getting this right, not only helps in selecting ‘information rich’ participants, but aid university based researchers to explain to potential respondents or participants in partnering schools the research focus and guides researchers’ actions and thoughts. Additionally, a clearly defined research problem also helps to determine an appropriate research framework or procedure (e.g. Biographical, Ethnographic, Phenomenological, or Applied Research) that could be used to solve a problem, data collection methods (Interview, survey, experimental) and data analysis approach (qualitative and/or quantitative)

So what have I said?

I said, key ethical concerns for researching teacher education in the ‘new’ teacher education environment in England are confidentiality and anonymity, openness, honesty and autonomy. Key methodological or procedural concerns are participants’ selection and clearly defined research problems. These are critical in light of the enlarged field of potential participant which emerges from the new environment.

Business Get From Ongoing Education and Training

Running a business requires hard work, and part of that includes ongoing education and training, not only for managers and executives, but also for staff members.

Today, not many people realize the value of trainings and seminars within organizations. In fact, many see them as an unnecessary expense and a complete waste of time. What they don’t know is that continuous business education is encouraged for all kinds of industries. To understand the importance of these trainings and workshops, read on.

1. Teach people how to teach others. When a person learns how to make $5000 in a month, for example, he or she will have the capacity to share the newly acquired knowledge to others. This becomes infectious as more and more people will have the ability to help others succeed in their own way.

2. Make people become important assets to their company. When staff members experts in their respective jobs, they can be assets to their team and to the company. They know the ins and outs of their jobs, thus they become valuable members whose opinions and skills contribute to the organization’s success.

3. Develop new talents and hone old skills. When employees and managers undergo skill-specific and developmental trainings, they learn new things as well as sharpen existing knowledge. As a result, they become better at their jobs. They are more efficient, more knowledgeable. This makes them effective and more productive. For new business owners, business education can make them effective social entrepreneurs.

4. Give people an advantage. Learning new things and honing one’s skills makes leaders and employees a chance to step up their game. They become more confident in everything they do. Thus, they are always one step ahead of their competitions.

5. Allow people to chase after their dreams. Education teaches us a lot of things and one of them is to be a free range human. What does this mean? When you’re able to run a business, earn substantial amounts each month and be able to frolic around the world, that’s what being a free range human mean. Simply put, you’re able to remotely oversee your business yet do the things you’ve always wanted to do. So if you’ve always dreamed of travelling around the globe, you can do so now. You can spend every fortnight in a different country if you so wish to without jeopardizing operations. With this kind of lifestyle, surely, running a business would never be the same again.

Education and Training

While usually associated with manufacturing and service activities, ISO 9001 should be considered equally as effective as a management system for education and training programs. If we consider the desired outcome (learning), education and training is just another form of service; the product is the knowledge, skill and/or ability that is achieved by the program attendees. As with other services, the delivery of education and training incorporates the processes of design, development, verification, validation, delivery, subsequent correction and ongoing improvement. Therefore, when we try to apply the requirements of ISO 9001 to education and training activities, we find that it aligns exceptionally well with generally accepted practices.

“Career advencement education training”

A fundamental objective of any quality management system is to ensure that customer needs are met. In order to define these needs as they relate to education and training, we must first define the primary customer of this service – the program attendee. I’ve used the term “primary customer” in this discussion, as numerous ancillary customers may also be involved, including the parents of the attendee, the state which provides funding to the institution, and possibly even the country in which the activity is performed (as skill development contributes to the national economy). In the case of corporate training, we must also consider the needs of the individual’s employer, the industry they serve, as well as regulatory bodies or other interested parties. The list of potential customers can be as varied as the number of offerings that are available; identification of both primary and ancillary customers is a critical part of the initial needs assessment process, and is essential to the overall success of any education or training effort.

Once the above customers have been defined, their needs must be translated into terms that can be understood by the organization, and that can be further developed to serve as a measurement of an individual’s competency. Typically, these needs are reflected through the establishment of learning outcome statements, commonly referred to as learning objectives. Upon completion of specific portion of a program (or upon the completion of the program as a whole), the participant should be able to demonstrate a defined level of mastery of the course content, or be able to demonstrate the ability to perform a specific task or activity. To determine if these needs are satisfied, the participants performance throughout this entire process is monitored, and at defined intervals, the individual’s ability to meet a defined learning objective is measured against an established set of criteria (be it quizzes, examinations, demonstrations or other evaluation methods). Once the criteria established for competency is met, the objective is considered to be achieved. This process then continues until all established objectives have been met for the program, at which point a certificate or other form of recognition is awarded.

When considering what would be required to properly design, develop and document such a system to meet the requirements of ISO 9001, we find that there is very little difference between the approach needed to develop a system for this application, in comparison to approaches commonly used to develop systems which address manufacturing activities and other services. Proper design should begin with a review of the key processes used by the institution or organization, their ability to meet the customer needs established above and their overall degree of compliance with the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard.

System documentation required by the ISO 9001 standard, including a quality manual, and the six “system” procedures required by the ISO 9001 standard – the control of documents, the control of records, internal audits, the control of nonconformances, corrective action and preventative action all have a place in this system (as do the 19 types of records addressed in the ISO 9001 standard); they are just as relevant in this application as they are with their counterparts in other industries. Additional documentation, addressing the various activities performed by the organization will also be needed, as necessary to address the critical nature of the activities performed, as well as to ensure the customer needs defined above are met.

While the ISO 9001 standard does allow for an organization to take exclusion to the requirements found in Clause 7, there are relatively few instances where such exclusion would be justified. Typical education and training activities encompass Design and Development (instructional design), Purchasing (materials and services) Validation of Processes (pilot programs and peer reviews), Customer property (information) and even the Control of Measurement and Monitoring Devices (quizzes and examinations). While the specific processes used may vary between different organizations and offerings, almost every clause of ISO 9001 could conceivably apply.

Distance Education and Training Council

Distance Education and Training Council is an accrediting body which gives certification to the institutes providing distance education and online training and affiliate courses. Almost all accredited institutes work under the aegis of this council. It is essential for the establishment of legitimacy and authenticity of the online institutes.

Getting registered with Distance Education and Training Council is not an easy task. Many formalities and regulations have to be properly complied with as it the matter of future of young generations. Normally, the working of Distance Education and Training Council is administered by a team or Board of Governors entrusted with various duties and responsibilities.

To get verification, proper maintenance of records, good and well qualified faculty, and updated course material along with a comprehensive course curriculum is required. Usually, a provisional certificate is granted initially which is made permanent after a few years of regular monitoring of the performance of the institute.

Institutes possessing accreditation from this council are able to attract more prospects because of their validity. Institutes not having the registration may somehow manage to get people enrolled in their courses but this does not last long. Moreover, it becomes a matter of social reputation and brand image also.

Those thinking of getting enrolled in online training courses should first confirm the above mentioned features available with the institute. Properly documented papers and credentials are essential to be judged by the people seeking enrollment. This becomes more important as a fake institute can take away the money and leave you in between, thereby causing a loss of both time and money.