Commonwealth Education Handbooks

2310-1482 (online)
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This series of practical handbooks are designed to assist educators in addressing the continuing task of teacher education especially where existing training facilities cannot keep pace with demand.
Training Teachers at a Distance

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Hilary Perraton
01 Jan 1984
9781848593725 (PDF)
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  • Preface

    Ministers of education at the Eighth Commonwealth Education Conference recommended the development of practical handbooks on areas of education which are of interest to member countries. In pursuit of this initiative the Commonwealth Secretariat has devised a common format for a series of Commonwealth Educational Handbooks of which the present publication is one. This volume is designed to assist educators in addressing the continuing task of teacher education especially where existing training facilities cannot keep pace with the demand.

  • Introduction

    It must be the largest profession in the world. There were 12 million teachers in 1960, 18 million in 1968, and over 29 million in 1978. The demand for universal primary education and the pressure to expand secondary and tertiary education mean that the teaching profession has also grown at unprecedented speed in the last quarter century.

  • What is Distance Education?

    Man has learnt at a distance for many generations. Books have carried information across the barriers of time and space. The development of writing and then of print mean that we can all learn from the distant words of Socrates or St Paul, of Gandhi or Marx. But distance teaching has come to mean something more than the distribution of books.

  • Organisation of Distance Education

    Distance education makes heavy administrative demands: the organisation of it is a different kind of activity from the running of a school. Any institution involved in distance education needs to work out how to provide the services which its students need and these, in turn, are different in kind from the services which a school or college provides to its students. As we saw, some distance teaching programmes are organised by specialist distance-teaching colleges, while some are organised as an extra activity by colleges of education or university departments.

  • Developing Educational Materials

    Before launching any distance education course, it is necessary to be clear about the audience, about the aims of the course and about the conditions under which the participants are working and will study.

  • Producing Educational Materials

    The equipment you need to produce good educational materials varies according to the scale and sophistication of what you want to do. At one extreme you can run distance teaching with one typewriter, a hand-operated duplicator and a bicycle. At the other extreme the production equipment at the British Open University is valued in millions of pounds.

  • Distributing Educational Materials

    Distance teaching grew up in north-west Europe and North America in the age of the railways. Expanding and improving postal services meant that lessons could be sent quickly through the post and students' work could quickly be returned to a headquarters for marking. Today it is widely used in countries which have much greater problems of communication and in which population densities are lower.

  • Tutoring and Counselling

    No matter how good our teaching materials, and how efficient our distribution system, distant students have to work by themselves without the support that comes from tutors, or from other students, in a conventional class. We need to consider how we can give them the individual encouragement, help, tuition and guidance which they need, and so overcome the barriers of distance and the remote student's feeling of isolation. In the previous chapter we suggested that some of those feelings, and some of our students' uncertainties, could be overcome if students met together, even without tutor.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation

    The term “evaluation” can have three different meanings for us. First, it may refer to evaluating individual students and so deciding whether they should pass or fail part or all of their course. Second, it may refer to the process of checking how well a programme is working and seeking information which will enable us to improve it.

  • Finance and Resources

    If you are starting a new distance-teaching programme, you are likely to ask two questions about finance: what will the programme cost, and will it be cheaper or dearer than the alternative? This chapter suggests ways of approaching both questions.

  • Appendices
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