Teacher trainers think global

November 24, 2000

The first international conference for heads of teacher-training institutions has laid the foundations for setting up a worldwide teacher-training network.

The three-day Paris conference, "Priorities", included a large delegation from the United Kingdom. Other issues discussed were initial and in-service training, student and teacher exchanges and linking theory and practice in teacher-training.

The conference was organised by the Conférence des Directeurs d'Instituts Universitaires de Formation des Maîtres, an association that brings together the directors of France's 29 teacher-training colleges.

The association was established ten years ago under major reforms that introduced university-level training for primary teachers, giving them the same status as their secondary colleagues.

Among the speakers were representatives from East Asia, North America, Latin America, Arab states and Africa south of the Sahara. Speakers covered issues such as striking the right balance between pedagogical theory and practice, matching demand and supply of teachers and establishing school-university partnerships.

The participants came from countries with widely differing economic conditions and at different stages of development.

On the last day, debate centred on the increasingly international dimension of teachers' work, with an assessment of exchanges between students, teachers and teacher-trainers and of international research programmes.

The conference ended with a proposal that networks be established to enable teacher trainers to communicate and cooperate with each other.

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