Teacher training should be defined by teachers’ needs and not employers’ interests, as well as based on a good balance between theory and practice and lead to career and salary progress. These are the conclusions of the second regional seminar of the ETUCE project “Education Trade Unions for the Teaching Profession - Strengthening the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers’ professional needs in social dialogue” which took place in Berlin, Germany, on 5-6 March 2018.

Trade union representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK had the opportunity to examine various teacher training systems in Western and Northern Europe and assess how different education trade unions contribute to the improvement of initial and continuous teacher training through means of social dialogue.

Participants learned about the teacher training system in Germany which is fragmented in 16 different systems following the federal structure of the German state. Representatives of the education trade unions GEW and VBE in Germany, presented their strategies on addressing such challenges as too much theoretical and little practical initial teacher training, different teacher qualification requirements of the Länder, and the fact that teacher training is based on the type of schools rather than age of students. They underlined the need for teachers to collaborate to prepare young teachers for the profession. In order to obtain a more practical insight into teacher training in Germany, a young teacher from Berlin secondary school and GEW Youth member shared his first-hand experience of the three-phases  in teacher training in Berlin. Participants also learned about the Berlin reform to integrate inclusive and special education in all subjects of teacher training.

In working groups, participants proposed solutions for strengthening the capacity of education trade unions in improving teacher training, including being part of both designing and implementing teacher training policies, conducting evidence-based research on teacher training, and involving all trade unions’ members in evaluating teacher training programmes.

European Director Susan Flocken commented: “Social dialogue with the education unions is an essential tool to improve initial and continuous professional development of teachers to ensure high quality education. Continuous professional development of teachers should take place during working hours and contribute to salary increase and promotion of teachers”.

The next regional seminar is going to take place in Rome on 26-27 April 2018 organised for education trade unions in Southern Europe.

The project outcomes will be presented in a final conference in Brussels on 19-20 September 2018 whereto ETUCE member organisations and interested stakeholders will be invited.

See pictures of the training here.