The Need for Teacher Education

As we all know, the societies of the world are at a dreadful impasse. The only things that are moving forward are human suffering, rampant materialism and fear for the future. Money is God. Everyone is afraid to have it and not to have it. Nations and Governments are paranoid about money — not education, not good teachers. Surprisingly, good education and good teachers will give us not only the prosperity we need but also happiness and peace.

I have always maintained that a good teacher is the most valuable asset of a nation. The teacher’s place in a community is the most important one. Teachers can be the redeemers of a void-filled society. To build a civilisation of caring and thoughtful people we need good teachers.

In preparing teachers for the School of Total Education, I always kept in my mind their need to be free of their private inhibitions, their hang-ups, their moods and impatience. Above all must be their capacity to give love to the child in their care and to be an example.

I can say this with absolute certainty: the teachers of this School are caring, thoughtful and consistent in giving their love to the children. The School of Total Education is a unique school and should be used as a model.

Looking at the present system of education, one can say most of teaching is theory — some practical participation and psychological involvement, but mostly theory. How can a 25-year-old graduate know the problems of a five or ten year old boy or girl? We need to re-educate these young teachers or select more mature people to be teachers who have more insight and depth in understanding the principles of living.

Think whether I am right in assuming that the governments of the world do not want good teachers, for they are afraid that a good teacher will make the community wise and wary of politicians and their platitudes.

Let us look at teacher education and see how it can be more contributive.

Firstly, there should be a selection process to see if the applicant has the right approach to the responsibilities of teaching and becoming a “teacher”.

Secondly, are we, through teacher education, developing in the teacher the ability to love the children?

Thirdly, are we in our programs giving guidance to the teachers in overcoming their negative feelings of impatience, anger, poor self-esteem, anxiety and fear of the future?

Fourthly, are the teachers given simple health formulas, that is, eating the right foods, routines, exercises, etc.?

Fifthly, do the teachers get help with their own problems of a psychosomatic nature?

Sixthly, does the curriculum include explanations regarding simple value-based principles of living?

Beyond these, teachers should clean up their own backyards and become interested in life principles of giving and caring. They should get out of moodiness, laziness and fatalistic thinking. They should try to become role models, not act, but be, and become what is right.

I would like to challenge the educationalists of our community to band together to find a correct approach to future training programs. Let us get together straightforward, integrated persons who have found answers to the suffering of mankind, and create a balanced training program for future teachers.

Time will pass, life will go on. Where do we and our children want to go and be?

About the Author

Vijayadev Yogendra was the founder of the School of Total Education. He personally trained the teachers and guided the development of the School from its inception in Melbourne in 1977 until his retirement in 1998. Vijay is the author of a number of books on education and related subjects, including “Total Education: The Urgent Need” and “Future Education”.

This article is based on a letter by School Founder, Vijayadev Yogendra, which was read to participants at a Teacher Education Seminar held at SOTE in June 2002. (Published on web site: July 2002)