Quick supplementary education to provide more maths and science teachers

Intensive studies, work placement training at special university schools and exchanges between universities and schools. These are some of the features of supplementary teacher education for scientists and mathematicians to be launched by the University of Gothenburg in spring 2015.

The shortage of qualified maths and science teachers is a real problem for society, and it is hard to attract enough students for teacher education in these subjects. The University of Gothenburg is therefore working in partnership with the City of Gothenburg to launch intensive supplementary education in spring 2015 for those who already have a degree in science or maths, within the framework of the Brobyggaren pilot project.

“The Swedish school system currently has a shortage of maths and science teachers, and there’s a need for organisational and pedagogical innovation,” says Elisabet Ahlberg, Dean of the Faculty of Science. “The idea of teacher education based on existing subject skills is nothing new, and the aim is to attract students with expertise in maths and science to the teaching profession. We want to offer these students a new, faster educational route to achieve a secondary education degree, where students come into early contact with classroom experience.”

In addition to the more intensive pace, the difference between the current short teacher education programme and the new programme is that the work placement element is integrated more clearly with other courses. The inspiration is mainly drawn from Stanford University in the USA, where teacher education features extensive close cooperation between academia and schools, with the work placement element occupying a central position.
“The idea is that students should study courses alongside their work placement training,” explains Tommy Gustavsson, a senior lecturer at the Department of Mathematical Sciences and part of the project team that drew up the proposal for the new education. “But there’s also deeper integration between the pedagogical core and the practical side. For example, they should be able to demonstrate in practice what they’ve learnt on their courses, and the examination should also be integrated.”

The education will be one year long, but will be worth a full 90 credits. This means a rate of study of 125 percent.
“The rate of study is extremely intense and we use the entire year, including the summer,” continues Tommy. “This means that the entry requirements are strict, to ensure that the students already have sufficient prior knowledge to cope with the education.”

Elisabet believes that the education will primarily attract those with master’s degrees or doctoral degrees in science and maths.
“There are many students who are passionate about their subject, and who want to be involved in education. It’s these students that we hope to entice with attractive but intense teacher education, where the contact with specially selected schools plays a key role.”

Annette Mitiche is a Development Manager at the City of Gothenburg’s Centre for School Development, and is part of the project management team for the new education. She also believes that people who are passionate about their subject will apply.
“Those who are particularly interested in a subject, and who want a challenging, stimulating career where they can really make a difference.”

The lower and upper secondary schools involved in the project are called university schools, and in addition to hosting students carrying out their work placement training they will also play a more active role in the students’ education while developing their own skills.
“Through close cooperation between academia and schools, the University’s teaching staff and researchers can develop the education together with teachers at the selected university schools,” says Maria Jarl, Chair of Teacher Education at the University of Gothenburg. “They will also have the opportunity to contribute towards and take part in skills development.”

The education is one year long, but a longer version leading to a master’s degree is also planned. Elisabet hopes that students studying at the Faculty of Science will see the teacher education as a natural career path, regardless of whether or not they have their sights set on research education in the future.

“Just as is currently the case, students will be able to choose to study a subject master’s degree after their basic studies, but it will also be possible to study a master’s linked to teacher education that includes the teaching diploma. Students who choose a subject master’s degree will have every opportunity to become a teacher by taking a one-year supplementary course after their first degree, master’s degree or third-cycle education. I believe that this flexibility will attract more students to study science and maths.”

Brobyggaren

Brobyggaren is a collaboration between the Faculty of Science, Teacher Education at the University of Gothenburg and the Faculty of Education at the University of Gothenburg, and the City of Gothenburg. As well as training new teachers, the project also aims to develop teaching skills at both schools and the University, thus contributing towards the development of teacher education.

It has been proposed that the new education should be called supplementary pedagogical education specialising in mathematics and science.

Rate of study: 125 percent, 90 credits
Starts: Spring semester 2015
Application deadline: 15 October 2014
Entry requirements: A decision on entry requirements will be made during the spring. See our website for more information.

For more information, visit (in Swedish) lun.gu.se/utbildning/kpu

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