New president's warning

8th December 2000 at 00:00
NEW teachers are inadequately prepared for today's classroom realities, John Mulgrew, director of education in East Ayrshire and incoming president, warned.

Teacher education institutions were out of touch and directors could not be confident that student teachers were being prepared as best they should.

"We urgently require a review of how teachers are trained," Mr Mulgrew said.

"They are our colleagues of the future and have a right to expect better than they are receiving in teacher education institutions. Many will begin their new careers in areas of considerable social deprivation where they will face demanding challenges.

"Those involved in the training of teachers have to keep their knowledge and experience up to date in what it's like to teach in the educational world of today. I do have great confidence in our teachers but I believe their preparation for the world of work could be very much better," Mr Mulgrew continued.

Recent contact with teacher trainers in compiling the imminent report on modern languages, which he chaired, had shown lecturers to be divorced from the mainstream. "There seemed to be little coherence in what was on offer for languages, a resistance to change and technology was not at the heart of developments. Response to external needs and pressures was limited and this was not simply for languages," the director added.

Mr Mulgrew also called for an ovehaul of educationbusiness partnerships to respond to the new economies. "We are selling our students in schools short and that's a concern," he said.

The partnerships, now 18 years old, failed to provide a quality experience across Scotland, although they were often quoted as achieving much. "Some do and I recognise that, but the majority do not," he said.

Activities were too project-based and funding strategies varied, placing questions against the ability of the existing structure to deliver purposeful school-business links.

"I am also concerned at the disappointing performance of the National Centre: Education for Work and Enterprise at Jordanhill. It certainly has not fulfilled whatever intention it had. It is not the national strategy for the world of work that we in ADES have argued for," he said.

A fundamental review of educationbusiness links, enterprise education and the national centre was more urgent than ever. "The somewhat outdated and amateurish approach that is on offer today is simply inadequate," Mr Mulgrew continued.

Picking up a common directors' theme, he argued for curriculum changes to release greater creativity in young people. Mr Mulgrew urged the Scottish Arts Council to pump more cash into its education activities and increase the scope of the forthcoming cultural champions in schools, the new initiative promoted by the national cultural strategy.

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