There are many limitations of teacher training and development in Thailand
Lack of access new international literature and professional practices
Pillay (2002:7) reports that the current focus of the teacher education institutions is narrow. They focus on only national and local issues. It is commented that these are results that the teacher education institutions have not routinely participated in international learning community or been involved in or become familiar with innovative research in teacher development (Pillay, 2002: 8).
Lack of systematic management leading to duplication
Pillay (2002:7) reports that the Ministry of Education (MOE) allocate budgets for sub-organizations such as DGE, ONPEC, and OPEC to conduct teacher training and development. This lead to duplication and inefficiency. Moreover, the teacher education institutions also lack of cross-institution dialog and investment in education (Pillay, 2002: 8).
Lack of solid understanding of educational theories and practices among teacher educators
Teacher educators lack an ability to simplify learning theories and demonstrate practical applications. Moreover, they often make the theories too abstract, limiting their usefulness (Pillay, 2002: 12). The present approach to teacher development is very fragmented causing a lot of confusion and duplication (Pillay, 2002: 20). This leads to proposing that a national framework for teacher development should be provided (Pillay, 2002: 20).
There is the urgent need to upgrade the knowledge and skills of the teacher educators before they can train teachers in new teaching approaches such as student-centered learning (Pillay, 2002: 32).
Many of the incumbent staff in Rajabhats do not have capacity to train teachers in student-centered learning (Pillay, 2002: 32).
Lack of promoting teachers to adopt student-centered learning and other new practices
Little attention has been given to develop an inservice training program to help teachers to adopt students-centered learning and other new practices (Pillay, 2002: 22).
Lack of promoting teachers to consider innovative approaches
Little attention has been given to consider innovative approaches (Pillay, 2002: 22).
Lack of quality of technical equipments and accessible resources
In case of distance learning, quality of the educational programs broadcasting through Educational Television and Radio is needed to be upgraded (Pillay, 2002: 31).
Resources such as library materials, computers and other electronic equipments, which are necessary for teacher development, are not readily accessible (Pillay, 2002: 31).
Some key international literature is needed to be translated in Thai (Pillay, 2002: 33).
Lack of promotion of self-development among teachers
Professional disposition or self-development through action research is never considered or encouraged (Pillay, 2002: 33).
Lack of a link between theories and practices
The nexus between theory and practice is not fully appreciated (Pillay, 2002: 33). There is a serious need to translate learning theories into simple and practical languages (Pillay, 2002: 33).
Pillay (2002: 35) summarizes the major constraints to the design and delivery of teacher development programs that are:
- lack of necessary knowledge and skills about new learning strategies at all levels;
- lack of accreditation of the current teacher training and staff development programs offered by various providers;
- lack of a critical mass of local experts to spread the new knowledge and skills throughout the teachers in the country;
- lack of suitable alternative model for inservice training;
- lack of any teacher registration and/or teacher incentive framework;
- lack of a plan for national implementation and indication of support and commitment by the Government.
The quality of teacher training and development is increasingly becoming a concern for all stakeholders in the country. In recent years, those responsible for teacher training and development have not provided the necessary leadership for understanding and implementing the education reform and teacher development. This is partly attributed to a lack of cross-institution dialog among teacher development institutions and lack of investment in human resource development. Principals, and local and central administrators generally do not have the skills to facilitate and nurture teacher development. Furthermore, teachers and educators have not routinely participated in international learning communities and have not become familiar with innovative research in teacher development (Atagi, 2002: 55).
There is a widening gap between the current knowledge and practice of Thai educators and their institutions, and the necessary level of knowledge, skills, and practices expected of people in an emerging knowledge-based society (Atagi, 2002: 55).
The major constraints to design and delivery of educators training and development programs are a lack of (Atagi, 2002: 55-56):
- Necessary knowledge and skills about new learning strategies at all levels;
- Accreditation of the current teacher training and staff development programs offered by various providers;
- A critical mass of local experts to spread the new knowledge and skills throughout the teachers in the country;
- Suitable alternative model for in-service training;
- Any teacher registration and/or teacher incentive framework;
- A plan for national implementation;
- indication of support and commitment by th government.
A variety of professional development opportunities including seminars, college courses, teacher networks, workshops, research journals have traditionally been available to teachers. This type of professional development has been of a top-down nature and often does not result in significant long-term change in what happens in classrooms (Briscoe and Wells, 2002: 417-418).
The research findings reveal that the honor given to the teachers for multiplication of the reform efforts to the networks of their colleagues have caused problems to the leading teachers workload in providing technical support to the teachers of their own schools as well as those of the external networks (Piya-Ajariya, 2002: 25).
Fry (2002: 3-4) summarized finding of the Pillay's study (2002) about major issues in teacher development that:
- inadequate dialog among institutions involved in teacher training;
- authoritative top-down system of supervision;
- teachers' inadequate access to international dimensions of their profession and to become familiar with the latest trends, innovative research, and best practices in teacher education;
- overly theoretical and abstract approacher to teacher education.
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