What evidence says about features of effective teacher pre- and in-service training in ECEC

During the 11th Policy Dialogue Forum of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 (TTF), ILO and UNESCO co-organized and facilitated a session on early childhood care and education (ECEC) teachers and facilitators on 7 November 2018 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Dr. Jan Peeters, senior advisor of VBJK gave an expert presentation on what evidence says about features of effective teacher pre- and in-service training in ECEC.

Jan Peeters noted the importance of developing and maintaining a competent system where teachers themselves are not solely responsible for the quality of ECEC provision; rather, the system as a whole must be designed so that all – institutions, training centers, local governments, ministries of education, and international networks and organizations – play a role in ensuring quality ECEC programmes. As part of this, teachers need to have reflective competence, meaning that they have to be provided with opportunities to think and talk about their own practice. Establishing professional communities enables a collaborative environment that will foster reflective practice, in-depth dialogue and collective responsibility for quality provision.

To strengthen the supply and quality of ECEC personnel, countries have to establish competence profiles that are broad enough to allow teachers autonomy in meeting their professional obligations. In countries with low qualification requirements, investing in continuous professional development (CPD), especially systematic coaching and mentoring for longer periods of time, has shown to have a positive impact on quality. It is vital that coaches are appropriately trained and that teachers receive training during non-contact hours. Research indicates that CPD and in-service training are just as important as pre-service training to the development of a quality ECEC sector. CPD and in-service training can produce positive outcomes in countries that do not have initial training. For unqualified teachers, it is important to have adapted career pathways.

Attracting and retaining a qualified workforce is proving difficult in many countries due to low professional status, inadequate salaries, poor working conditions, and large student-to-teacher ratios. Women make up the majority of the ECEC workforce. To create greater gender balance, it is important to attract more men to the profession. Interestingly, countries such as Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana and Liberia have more male personnel than the United States and some European countries. Active involvement of practitioners in the transformative process for the improvement of educational practices is essential. Governments have to play an active role in the monitoring of ECEC programmes and institutions, including by establishing accreditation systems.