Postgrad Diploma in Education programme gets key enhancements

Postgrad Diploma in Education programme gets key enhancements

Date
Saturday, 21 November 2015

Media Type
Today (Online), Today (Page 12)

SINGAPORE — To improve the quality of educators here, training for trainee teachers will be extended by four months at the end of next year.

The 12-month Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programme, which is for university graduates training to become primary, secondary school or junior college teachers, will be extended to 16 months to broaden the programme’s scope and depth. 

One enhancement is a new four-week Teaching Practice that would be added on to the current 10-week final Teaching Practice. 

During these four weeks, trainee teachers have to return to the National Institute of Education (NIE) once a week for discussions to improve their performance. 

Coursework will be structured between the two teaching stints to help trainee teachers better apply their theory in practice.

Trainee teachers will also be given more training on educational psychology and subject-specific teaching skills. And new courses will be introduced to equip trainee teachers in their future role as form teachers and to better engage parents.

The changes were announced by Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng during his visit to NIE today (Nov 20). The shift of intake from July to December is not expected to inconvenience new teachers entering the PGDE programme. However, the NIE expects a lower intake for both the July and December intake next year as they transition to the extended programme. 

The PGDE Physical Education programme, which is already two years long, will not be affected. 

NIE director Tan Oon Seng said of the enhancements: “The additional investment allows for better consolidation of professional learning and thinking ... With more time, pre-service teachers are also able to engage in more collaborative activities, develop stronger collegial bonds and build peer learning communities for longer-term professional growth.”

Mr Bernard Lim, 26, who is taking the PGDE (Secondary) programme, felt that the current 10 weeks for Teaching Practice is too short to gain enough experience teaching in schools. Commenting on the weekly discussions, he said: “We can really go back to that feedback (received) and really implement changes the next time we’re actually back in the school, in the classroom.”

Ms Divya Somasundram, 26, who is taking the PGDE (Junior College) programme, agreed: “Because, while we’re in the midst of (teaching practice), it helps us ground our theory as we go along, and then come back and see how we can integrate both theory and practice better.” 

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