UBC’s Teacher Education Program gets a makeover

The continuously evolving role of educators along with growing concerns over job-shortages for new teachers prompted the overhaul of UBC’s one-year Teacher Education Program at the Vancouver campus.

Starting in September 2012, the Education program includes a focus on research and inquiry, new courses and a mandatory practicum in a non-traditional teaching setting. These changes aim to better prepare grads for the diversity they will encounter in the classroom and give them a taste of the variety of career options they face.

“We’re very aware schools have changed so we have to be responsive to those changes,” says Rita Irwin, associate dean of Teacher Education in UBC’s Faculty of Education.
“We also recognized a growing need to prepare life-long educators. Education isn’t limited to Kindergarten through Grade 12 and our graduates will be equipped to teach a variety of levels in a variety of contexts.”

With the new curriculum, students must complete a three-week alternative practicum where they work as educators outside the classroom. Future art teachers may try teaching art in a senior citizens’ residence, gallery or museum.

The one-year program also includes new mandatory classes on Aboriginal perspectives, teaching English as an additional language, teaching French in elementary school, special education, and research and inquiry seminars. Running throughout the program is an emphasis on social and ecological justice and diversity to help teachers infuse this awareness into their teaching.

“Today’s teachers work with students from a variety of backgrounds and a broad range of abilities,” says Irwin. “Teachers need to know how to effectively cater to each individual student to help him or her learn.”

To read about the job market for teachers today, visit: www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2011/12/01/preparing-teachers-for-the-job-market/

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