Education systems worldwide are under constant pressure to adapt to changes generated by the new needs of society and the economy. The national context is imposed in correlation to global orientation and European policies to which Romania has subscribed, as well as to the overall specificity of the knowledge society that brings a grid of values dominated by education, research, development and innovation. The impact of the European agreements and regulations is felt throughout society and at all levels of the education system, but this paper aims to achieve a concise analysis of the most significant challenges and changes that have occurred in recent years in the teaching profession felt at global and national level, as well as policymaking structures reactions in the field of training human resources in education. This study aims to explore the possibility of making the difference between the direct characterization of the teaching profession, where the competences and the character’s features are explicitly presented, and the indirect characterization, where the features must be analyses against the social perception an expectations, with opportunities and limits, all these having a meaning only if it emphasizes the typology of didactic style created at the mental level. Combining both perspectives, we propose to explore the different perspectives about the representative teaching profession profile for a society at institutional and personal level.
Keywords: Teaching profession challengessocial perception and expectationspolitics of development human resources in education
1.Introduction. Problematic and hypotheses
Education systems worldwide are under constant pressure to adapt to changes generated by the new
needs of society and the economy. Decentralization of education systems - assumed as a priority and
strategic direction of the EU member states - has proved to be a complex process involving cooperation
with a number and variety of social partners, with new roles and responsibilities. Employers and local
communities, as final beneficiaries, are now more attentive and informed about education and how
future graduates are trained; this is why schools are pressed to provide the best educational services to
meet the learning needs of children and young people. This context perceived on social level has
generated a global consensus on accepting the complexity of education and, with this, recognizing the
role of human resources and expectations towards teachers. Thus, the quality of teacher training and
how they are prepared for such a fundamental role in contemporary society has become a priority in the
new policies and has entered the European agenda.
Initial Teacher Education (Initial Teacher Education - ITE) is the first and most important step for a
future profession in education. Developing a system of knowledge, teaching skills and an intellectual
style for the future teacher, this first step actually wants to ensure a basic level of preparedness for the
ability to successfully lead and facilitate the learning of children and youth. Consolidation, further
development of teaching skills and sharing of best practices circumscribe the area of specific activities
for the second stage in the preparation of a teacher, known as continuing education and lifelong
learning (Continuous Professional Development for Teacher Education - CPDTE), which includes
various stages of training, from beginner to successful careers and status of professor emeritus.
Design and implementation of this continuum in training for the teaching career requires coherent
policies and new approaches to support the current challenges and combine guidance emerging in the
field of governance ITE – CPDTE with the need to create collaborative learning environments for
teachers to foster cooperation and partnerships between employers, official beneficiaries, ITE providers
and CPDTE, teachers, parents, experts, associations and professional communities.
The national context is imposed in correlation to global orientation and European policies to which
Romania has subscribed, as well as to the overall specificity of the knowledge society that brings a grid
of values dominated by education, research, development and innovation. The impact of the European
agreements and regulations is felt throughout society and at all levels of the education system, but this
paper aims to achieve a concise analysis of the most significant challenges and changes that have
occurred in recent years in the teaching profession felt at global and national level, as well as
policymaking structures reactions in the field of training human resources in education.
The complexity of issues addressed in the study on new approaches, challenges and changes in the
teaching career, implied delimitation of the investigation area and setting up the research directions
with hypotheses questions status: What is the European context in the field of initial and continuous training policies for human resources in education?
What are the new challenges and changes faced by teachers in schools in contemporary society?
What is the answer of the official structures and what are the options of the national system of
Romania in the field of human resources in education to these global challenges?
The answers to these questions are not easy and the research work required an integrated and
complementary approach between the study of specialty literature and legislative documents, the
official reports of the Council of Europe, and a qualitative investigation carried out through focus
groups and discussions with representative participants to the selected theme. This approach has
enabled the capture of official guidelines and actual effects reflected in the perception of the specialists
from Romania, actions that have favoured the collection of sufficient data to formulate some
conclusions and new discussion threads in the field.
2.The European context of policies in the field of teacher trainer
The study of European programmatic documents and specialized literature allows us to say that the
generally valid orientation assumed as a target for Europe 2020 is to ensure the quality and
attractiveness of the teaching profession, initial teacher education (ITE) and Continuous Professional
Development for Teacher Education (CPDTE) being recognized as priority objectives in the Strategic
Framework ET2020 (European Council, 2009), fundamental document of EU official policy in the
2015 STI (European Commission, 2015). The new policies and positions of the European Commission
are illustrated in the document entitled
the official support for teachers, managers and schools leaders, as well as teachers trainers is clearly
expressed through key policies to increase efficiency, consistency and coordination within the
educational system (European Commission, 2012b). The prominent role of the teacher seen as the main
factor in the effectiveness of acquisition for young people was highlighted in multiple surveys and
reports resulting from international assessments - Programme for International Student Assessment
(PISA) – interpreted in benchmarking of OECD. The reports show the direct correlation between the
quality of the didactic work seen as a key factor and the way in which schools manage to successfully
improve the outcomes for young people. The best practices of teacher training are associated with a
positive attitude of young people towards learning and problem solving and the assertive behaviour of
the teacher and teacher-student relationship generate good academic performance (OECD, 2009). PISA
results show that countries that have improved their performance and equity in education have
introduced clear requirements and standards for didactic qualification, have increased the attractiveness
of the teaching profession and have created benefits to attract quality people in education, teachers
motivated for career and professional development. The school systems that have achieved a high level
of educational equity indicator also improved the employer involvement in internal assessments in
schools regarding teaching related activities, the quality of teachers and resources. At the same time,
feedback on leadership, confidence and commitment to the school community is provided.
In 2014 the education ministers of member states agreed in consensus with the conclusions on the
initial teacher training that should be optimized and aligned with developments in the area by adding
key competences required in order to provide a high quality in the training process of teachers and, at
the same time, to stimulate their motivation to permanently optimize and update the teaching career
specific competences. At this official level, it was concluded that considering the entire national
context of different education systems, it is necessary for the optimization to be done not only through
the inclusion of new areas of knowledge and rethinking pedagogical skills by integrating teaching
practice strategies, and by supporting and encouraging the professional development directions:
reflection and self-professional development along with cooperation work, adaptation to a multicultural
learning environment present in the group of students/youth and complementary accountability of
specific leadership roles (OECD, 2013).
There is another perspective on the issues, challenges and new demands of the teaching profession.
The voice of the teachers and school leaders is taken into account and scientific reflected in the
necessary for optimizing and changing educational practices. It highlights the leadership in making
decisions, which is very different in the European countries and it depends on the degree of autonomy,
being considered a premise with great potential to increase learning outcomes. It is also considered that
the initial teaching education (ITE) must integrate at least three components: knowledge of academic
themes, theory and practice of training, counselling and motivational support for young people and for
the learning activity. 80% of EU teachers who completed the initial teaching education say that in the
2015 assessment the programme included three components. In TALIS 2013 the proportion was even
higher for three-quarters of the European education systems. It appears that a large proportion of
teachers in the EU feel very well prepared for their work in all three components covered in the initial
training program. However, the same report also highlight a number of urgent needs for professional
development, identified and ranked in a rating by teachers themselves, as well as a relatively low level
of collaboration between teachers.
3.Challenges and changes in the didactic career
From the analysis of official documents on educational policies adopted at European level and in
our country, it follows that the whole society assigns the teacher a fundamental role, being generally
considered one of the major agents of success in education, and specifically, the key factor in learning
and training of children and youth. Moreover, specialty studies show that the supportive relationship
between the role of the teacher and the learner is the most powerful generator of the school
optimization and development process (Eurydice, 2015). In this regard, in the face of the nowadays
challenges in education, it becomes essential that teachers understand that they are resource people for
learning and that the social duties and expectations towards them are in the process of expansion and
increasing the demands. With the recognition of the importance of the teaching profession, it is
necessary to integrate in the initial and continuous training process new content and activities that
develop skills related to new social and educational conditions. We will mention a summary of the
most important challenges and also the necessary adaptations in ITE and CPDTE:
prevention techniques. Leadership in the teaching career becomes the essential in the effort to
collaborate with others in any developing teaching experience and to promote expertise with the
ultimate goal of improving educational practice. The teachers who take on the leader role in front of or
behind the classroom are a contributing factor in school effectiveness, quality of teaching and increase
of student achievement.
The reaction and options of the Romanian education system in the field of teacher training
All these optimizations that didactic training needs in different career stages involve adjustments
and changes to both its official vision, but also to educational policies and an institutional and personal
acceptance. In the transformation process of the education reform in Romania into a reality, little
attention was given to teacher training process. As such, in training human resources in education field
the need to shift from specific actions to a strategic thinking is felt, as evidenced in multiple reports and
analyses made in recent years, which include among their priorities the development of professional
teacher training (Marin, 2013). The educational community has acknowledged the need to establish
standards specific to the teaching career and rethinking of the education staff training process, in
accordance with these standards. The existence of several models of initial didactic training resulted in
a long period of debate in our country, in order to arrive at an efficient and appropriate way for the
context of our country.
The model presented below is the result of several focus and debate groups at national level attended
by education specialists, representative of the official structures of decision, beneficiaries of the teacher
training and for providers of initial and continuous training in the Romanian education system. The
discussion sessions have revealed a clear feedback about the different ways of perceiving challenges
and changes at strategic level or at implementation level. The consensus has convened on the
recognition of the need to optimize the training system for the teaching career and to adapt to new
requirements. The successive changes occurring over time in initial training programs for the teaching
career, as well as the malfunctions in the system were highlighted. The highest frequency of responses
and testimonies of participants have highlighted the weaknesses of the system, of which we nominate
those with the highest frequency:
underfunding from the state budget of training programs for the teaching career;
lack of legislation in the field of teaching practice at university level and the arbitrary decision
at local level in this regard; difficulties in collaboration with school units regarding pedagogical practice in the context of a lack of regulations and methodological rules agreed at national level;
low attractiveness of the teaching profession and attracting candidates with average potential;
relative selection on admission and completion of the training programmes for a teaching
career; reduced number of hours for pedagogical issues related to the new teaching skills and challenges; specialized training that is dominantly theoretic, without didactic approaches to scientific content in different areas of specialization.
The result of the debate it generated an
Didactic Master is a level of expertise meant to contribute to the deepening of university training for the teaching career, with distinct and different types of finality, skills, curriculum and certification than the initial training.
The new requirements and guidelines require that the level of educational policies and official
bodies to articulate
mention a few topics for discussion and resolution: Stimulating the modular programmes offer and the differentiated routes for training in the teaching career; Extending the applicability of transferable professional credits system and establishing a minimum standard to certify the level of specific competences; Capitalization of legal regulations in the field of quality in education that created the favourable framework for optimizing the activity of the teacher training departments and their recognition as institutional structures specialized in psycho-pedagogic training, through the process of evaluation and accreditation according to criteria and specific standards; Ensuring the necessary financing for the teaching career training programmes (bachelor and masters);
Equal opportunities for all universities in developing teacher training programmes;
Correlation of qualification levels with the early labour market insertion of graduates;
Correlation of Master types (professional and didactic), of certification and of employment
legislation in the education system; Systemic approach and correlation of legislation regarding initial and continuous teacher training.
Conclusions and discussions
The requirement to optimize initial and continuous training of teachers and to make teaching career
more attractive is very clear and the specialists are in agreement. The methods of achieving are,
however, discussed and disputed. Different views on the teaching profession and school, in general, are
rooted in local and national culture and bear the imprint of time and past experiences. As such, these
new approaches and changes in the teaching career and employment status of the teacher are dependent
on social, economic and contextual factors, generating a wide variety of situations in the education
systems. Despite these differences, normal in a very extensive geographical and temporal area,
however, specialists and authorities can focus on adjusting a few minuses that international
assessments have highlighted, by focusing on: The best didactic practices are achieved through team work with others and not through solitude and isolation; Being reflexive in the didactic work and involved together with other colleagues in the school activity; Creating a collaborative learning environment, sharing ideas and supporting the learning communities; Promoting effective partnerships and clarifying employers’ roles and responsibilities;
Coherence, communication and coordination are becoming significant indicators in the balance
between regulation, responsibility, trust and autonomy.
Through thematic and manner of approach, the teacher training process is an educational component
with strategic and innovative character that allows development and optimization. Based on these
priorities, we believe that any action initiated by official or advisory bodies can help create a
favourable framework for the scientific approach of professionalization of the teaching career,
especially if it is based on exploitation and development of knowledge/experience in the field.
In the actual social context it comes, therefore, as a necessity to elaborate a modern and coherent
conception regarding teaching profession, a conception inspired from recent assets in pedagogical
theory and practice, and, mostly, from the scale of values in school, from the philosophy, culture and
socio-economic fundamental at the basis of the educational system. Teaching profession, in turn, brings
forth strategies, actions, as logistics, which is the reason why they have to be carefully planned
according to the context specific to the given school; but strategies only do not ensure improvement, at
the same time pre-university schools must bear in mind the internal circumstances which maintain and
support improvement, even if they are expected to appear the opportunities or limits.
- European Council (2009). Strategic Framework ET2020.
- European Commission (2015). Draft of Joint Report on implementation of Cooperation on Education and Training.
- European Commission (2012a, 2012b). Rethinking Education.
- OECD (2009). Education at a Glance. OECD INDICATORS OECD (2013). Education at a Glance. OECD INDICATORS Eurydice (2015). The European Higher Education Area in 2015: Bologna Process Implementation Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
- Marin, S.M. (2013). Politics and strategies for development human resources in education. București: EDP.
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04 October 2016
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Communication, communication studies, social interaction, moral purpose of education, social purpose of education
Cite this article as:
Marin, S. M. (2016). New Approaches, Challenges and Future Development of the Teaching Profession. In A. Sandu, T. Ciulei, & A. Frunza (Eds.), Logos Universality Mentality Education Novelty, vol 15. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 563-570). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2016.09.71