Quality Teacher Prep. Is There Room for Alternative Certification?

 In Teaching Abroad

It has been five years since The International Educator reported findings from Gates Foundation research that the “key to better learning is more effective teaching and better-prepared teachers” (October 2009). Although a review of research since this time reports inconsistency in the relationship between teacher education and student achievement, there is “mounting evidence that teachers with more preparation for teaching have more confidence in their abilities… and show higher levels of engagement in continuing professional development” (OECD, 2014).

Still, only two-thirds of current international teachers’ surveyed report having specific formal education elements associated with preparing them to teach (OECD). Some of these educators and many more seeking to teach internationally have turned to professional teaching certification programs as one option for gaining such preparation; Ms. Berta Faber, founder and current director of curriculum and instruction at the International School of Iceland, is one of them.

Ms. Faber attended international schools in both Saudi Arabia and Italy growing up, and after earning a degree in business administration taught for many years across all levels, from kindergarten to university preparation. In 2004, she founded the International School of Iceland. In addition to earning a master’s degree and gaining additional experience teaching and leading a school, Ms. Faber never lost sight of the benefits of teacher preparation and certification.

In 2012, she enrolled in TeacherReady, the online alternative teacher certification program of the University of West Florida (UWF) and the state-approved educator preparation institute of the university’s NCATE accredited Professional Education Unit. Successful completion of TeacherReady earned Ms. Faber a Florida Professional Teaching Certificate and an added opportunity to share her experience from the teacher preparation program to inspire the teachers she works with; she conveys, “When we are inspired, we can inspire others, right?”

Although certification is not a requirement of all international schools, Ms. Faber recognizes the positive results in student learning and in classrooms associated with applying the theoretical and conceptual knowledge of teaching gained in TeacherReady’s research-based curriculum. She is one of more than 400 teachers and aspiring teachers placed by TeacherReady in 149 different international, private, and charter schools. Believe in the difference that earning professional certification makes in the lives of your students.

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