What is really happening in education departments and faculties?

What is really happening in education departments and faculties?
What is really happening in education departments and faculties?

Criticism of education departments and faculties is never far away. In the public space, many commentators do indeed stray into distressing clichés. As education professors we would like to contribute a few elements to this discussion.

• Read also: The root causes of the education crisis

• Read also: A lecturer sounds the alarm about future teachers: our universities are graduating “functionally illiterate people”

First, we often read or hear that there is a single theoretical thought. Certain trends are certainly more popular, but the same is true in other areas.

Moreover, the theoretical background of our fellow professors and lecturers is very diverse: some are trained in education, while others come from disciplines such as philosophy, economics, politics, psychology, sociology, physics, etc.

Confrontation of ideas

Even if some refuse to see it: ideas about education confront each other, within our walls. A simple participation in an assembly of professors allows us to see how difficult it is to reach a consensus precisely because of a dialogue between people who do not have the same theoretical reference points.

Then, some commentators like to say that the teaching programs are of poor quality. We can obviously always do better, but note that substantial efforts in this direction are being made in all departments and all faculties of education.

For example, the new versions of the secondary school teacher training programs in mathematics as well as in science and technology at the University of Montreal are the result of collaboration between our faculty and the departments of mathematics and statistics, physics, and biology. and chemistry. Our students are therefore also trained by professors from these departments, which enriches their wealth of knowledge and educational perspectives.

Best in the world

Furthermore, what do we know about the teachers we train? Some indicators are rather encouraging. According to the results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) analyzed by the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada, Quebec students rank among the best in the world in reading and mathematics.

Even if these statistics only constitute an image captured every four years, they suggest that teachers in these disciplines have been doing remarkable work since the test was first administered in 2000. The quality of the teachers’ work also seems to be recognized by the Quebec population.

In the Professions Barometer produced by Léger Marketing in 2021, 88% of respondents said they trusted the teachers we train. And if we go back a little, their confidence was also high, for example with a rate of 91% in 2016. So, although it is important to recognize that our training programs are – and always will be – perfectible, it is important to also highlight the good moves.

And then, as Faulkner would say, “We have failed to achieve our dreams of perfection. So I judge us by our admirable failure to achieve the impossible. »

Sébastien Béland (University of Montreal)

Marc-André Ethier (University of Montreal)

David Lefrançois (University of Quebec in Outaouais)

Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise (Bishop University)

Christelle Lison (University of Sherbrooke)

Jonathan Smith (University of Sherbrooke)

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