Page: 501-518 Author: Oelkers, J. Key words: teachers, undergraduate education, reform, pedagogic university, orientation to practice, teacher competence, Switzerland
The report describes and analyses the form of undergraduate training of teachers in Switzerland and compares it to development in other European countries (Sweden, Germany, and England). In the mid-1990s the training of future Swiss teachers in teaching seminaries was phased out and the task was transferred to pedagogic universities. This was the start of major reform of teacher education that can be characterised as follows: orientation to the needs of graduates in real practice, and emphasis on the acquisition of teaching competences and an early start to teaching practice. All this represented an attempt at the functional integration of the theoretical and practical parts of studies. The efficacy of the new form of undergraduate training of teachers is being tested among teachers who have already been working for 2–3 years. The results suggest that overall the new teachers have been well prepared. They are not showing signs of “reality shock” but are more stressed by the quantity, diversity and complexity of the tasks that they must tackle at schools. Their skills have been developing since they started employment, including in the fields that initially caused them problems (the planning of teaching matter, creation of curriculum, how to take account of differences in the learning needs of pupils, work with parents, how to take on the role of class teacher).