Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 18, No. 4, 530–545, 2014
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This research aimed to examine the profiles of the candidates who had applied to the alternative retraining programs at the selected college. The training’s duration in the alternative progarms was shorter, ranging from five to eight months instead of an average of a year and a half. The study then would compare them with those candidates who had been accepted onto the traditional programs.
The participants were 611 candidates who had applied to all the teacher retraining programs offered in 2009.
The data were collected through the application form that all candidates had to complete when applying to the program.
The authors found that the alternative programs attracted students with an academic and personal profile different from the one that characterizes students in the traditional teacher retraining programs. In all three alternative programs, the number of students with advanced postgraduate degrees was significantly higher than the number of students with advanced degrees in the traditional programs. Whereas in the alternative programs for teaching EFL and biology the number of candidates and students with advanced degrees was greater in comparison with the traditional programs, this was not the case for the math teaching. While the academic background of those applying to teach math in both programs was similar, about half of the students in the alternative programs had a postgraduate degree; in the traditional programs, only students with Bachelor’s degrees enrolled.
Regarding the gender of the candidates, it was found that more men applied for the alternative programs (especially for EFL and math) than for the corresponding traditional programs.
Furthermore, the applicants for all the alternative programs were older when compared with those applying for the traditional programs.
The unique characteristics of the students in the alternative programs stress the importance of creating custom-made retraining programs that take the unique needs of distinctive populations into account.
The findings of this study may provide relevant information for policy-makers in Israel and other countries regarding the factors to be considered when formulating future alternative teacher retraining programs, including the prerequisites for these programs. To that end, monitoring and assessment of these programs over the long term, using a combined qualitative/quantitative methodology, should be continued in order to obtain feedback on the training process and its various features. We also recommend that future studies focus on the possible long-term effect that alternative programs might have on the public’s image of the teaching profession.