TEQ Professional Development in Higher Education Research Project
Further education teachers must hold a professional teacher education qualification (TEQ) in order to register with the Teaching Council of Ireland. The TEQ research project is a longitudinal study examining how professional training programmes can prepare teachers to engage deeply with ways of thinking and practicing that are unique to the world of adult learning.
Adults return to formal education for a reason. Perhaps they want to learn or improve a skill, gain a qualification to increase job prospects, bridge a gap in their knowledge, or become more comfortable with new technology. However varied and complex the motivation, one thing is certain: their learning experiences will often conflict with their world. They very often have to resolve significant personal and emotional difficulties in their learning journey in order to move on forward in their lives. Professional training programmes for adult educators must recognise these experiences of adult learners; and train teachers to create, offer and facilitate a supportive teaching-learning environment (TLE) for their adult learners.
As Einstein said ‘The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking’. We have to think in a different way when developing and delivering these new TEQ programmes for adult educators. We have an opportunity to approach professional development for teachers in an innovative and creative way that meets the needs of Irish society into the 21st Century. This research project will inform that thinking and the development of new programmes.
The findings from the research will contribute to the economic and cultural wellbeing of Ireland through the provision of excellent TEQ programmes for educators in adult education at a national level. The findings should also provide insights for education policy makers into how they can adapt current policy to improve educational opportunity for everyone in our society.