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Training Tomorrow's Outstanding Teachers: The Education Practicum Excellence Award

Training Tomorrow's Outstanding Teachers: The Education Practicum Excellence Award
Pedagogy, teaching materials and class management have far-reaching effects on students. Thus, the enhancement of teacher quality has become an important direction of educational promotion. The Education Practicum Excellence Award, initiated by the Ministry of Education, has as a goal the selection and reward of teachers' dedication to practicum work, and the improvement of the functions of practicum programs. Through sharing with three teachers including Tamkang University 's Huang Shu-hsing, we get a better understanding of the importance of promoting training of excellent teachers.

Huang Shu-hsing-a dedicated promoter of excellent education

Huang Shu-hsing received this year's Education Practicum Model Award for Teacher Counselors. After retiring as a senior high school principal, Huang became a part-time lecturer at Tamkang University . According to her, while involved in the planning and revision of teacher counselors practicum courses at Tamkang, she engaged in building a database for students' practice record files and detailed recording of course teaching, class management, research and studies, as well as personal specialties background. These not only show their growth process during the practicum but also allows them a better understanding of future work in student selection of excellent teachers.

Huang made sure to meet her students at least three times in the schools involved in the practicum program. She inquired about students' learning conditions through the practicum guidance teachers. Near the end of semesters, she also initiated trial teaching exercises, and allowed students to make self-evaluations and give feedback.

Huang has shared her many decades of practical teaching experience inspired by her belief in the need to train excellent teachers. In providing guidance to practicum students, she provides practical examples that help students put greater emphasis on practicum courses and on training teachers to obtain professional knowledge and skills. The most satisfying feedback she received from a student went like this: "In the future, I wish to be like you-a teacher who loves students more than herself!"

Lin Mei-hua-Emphasizing behavior education for practicum teachers

Lin Mei-hua, who works at the kindergarten affiliated to the Kaohsiung City Chungshan Elementary School , stresses behavior formation of practicum teachers in carrying out her guidance work. She requires all practicum teachers to write a journal of self-reflection on a daily basis, and put down what they have observed, the steps in learning things and their daily communication with students or their parents. Lin Mei-hua then shares her views and methods with the practicum participants.

Furthermore, she guides practicum teachers in their assimilation into the different classes, making them realize that they are not just assisting but are important players in class management. This way, they are encouraged to exercise their skills and talents.

She encourages practicum teachers in the development of critical thinking capabilities, necessary for the rational consideration of things that happen around them. She teaches them to respect the views of other people, listen to others' opinions and voice their own views. Lin Mei-hua also encourages practicum teachers to develop diverse abilities, such as linguistic and musical skills, preparatory school education, etc. so as to make themselves more competitive.

"When the right time comes, the caterpillar will turn into a butterfly" Lin Mei-hua always tells herself when thinking about the practicum teachers. She believes that practicum teachers can one day become great teachers through growth and development over time.

The awardees selected by the Ministry this year all show highly commendable performance in education practicum. From the teachers we have interviewed, we discern some common traits, i.e., passion and persistence in their teaching jobs. Through the process of cooperative teaching and class handling, they help practicum students grow professionally and build excellent partnership relationships with them. That way, they successfully guide practicum students in setting clear life goals and career direction.