Teacher education refers to the policies and procedures designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school and wider community.
Teacher education is often divided into:
The process of mentoring is also relevant.
There is a longstanding and ongoing debate about the most appropriate term to describe these activities. The term 'teacher training' (which may give the impression that the activity involves training staff to undertake relatively routine tasks) seems to be losing ground to 'teacher education' (with its connotation of preparing staff for a professional role as a reflective practitioner).
Initial teacher education may be organized according to two basic models.
In the 'consecutive' model, a teacher first obtains a qualification (often a first university degree), and then studies for a further period to gain an additional qualification in teaching; (in some systems this takes the form of a post-graduate degree, possibly even a Masters).
The alternative 'concurrent' model is where a student simultaneously studies both one or more academic subjects, and the ways of teaching that subject, leading to a qualification as a teacher of that subject.
Other pathways are also available. In some countries, it is possible for a person to receive training as a teacher under the responsibility of an accredited experienced practitioner in a school.
Teacher Education in many countries takes place in institutions of Higher Education. In the United States, approximately one-third of new teachers come through alternative routes to teacher certification, according to testimony given by Emily Feistritzer, the President of National Center for Alternative Certification and the National Center for Education Information, to a congressional subcommittee on May 17, 2007. However, many alternative pathways are affiliated with schools of education, where candidates still enroll in university-based coursework. A supplemental component of university-based coursework is community-based teacher education, where teacher candidates immerse themselves in communites that will allow them to apply teaching theory to practice. Community-based teacher education also challenges teacher candidates' assumptions about the issues of gender, race, and multicultural diversity. 
The question of what knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills teachers should possess is the subject of much debate in many cultures. This is understandable, as teachers are entrusted with the transmission to learners of society's beliefs, attitudes and deontology, as well as of information, advice and wisdom, and with facilitating learners' acquisition of the key knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that they will need to be active in society and the economy.
Generally, Teacher Education curricula can be broken down into these blocks:
These three areas reflect the organization of most teacher education programs in North America (though not necessarily elsewhere in the world)--courses, modules, and other activities are often organized to belong to one of the three major areas of teacher education. The organization makes the programs more rational or logical in structure. The conventional organization has sometimes also been criticized, however, as artificial and unrepresentative of how teachers actually experience their work. Problems of practice frequently (perhaps usually) concern foundational issues, curriculum, and practical knowledge simultaneously, and separating them during teacher education may therefore not be helpful.
Teaching involves a complex set of tasks. Many teachers experience their first years in the profession as stressful. The proportion of teachers who either do not enter the profession after completing initial training, or who leave the profession after their first teaching post, is high.
A distinction is sometimes made between inducting a teacher into a new school (explaining the school's vision, procedures etc), and inducting a new teacher into the teaching profession (providing the support necessary to help the beginning teacher develop a professional identity, and to develop the basic competences that were acquired in college.)
A number of countries and states have put in place comprehensive systems of support to help beginning teachers during their first years in the profession. Elements of such a programme can include:
Someresearch suggests that such programmes can: increase the retention of beginning teachers in the profession; improve teaching performance; promote the teachers' personal and professional well-being.
The most notable speakers on new teacher induction include Todd Whitaker, Robert Marzano, and Annette Breaux.
Because the world that teachers are preparing young people to enter is changing so rapidly, and because the teaching skills required are evolving likewise, no initial course of teacher education can be sufficient to prepare a teacher for a career of 30 or 40 years. Continuous Professional Development is the process by which teachers (like other professionals) reflect upon their competences, maintain them up to date, and develop them further.
The quality of the work undertaken by a teacher has significant effects upon his or her pupils or students. Further, those who pay teachers' salaries, whether through taxes or through school fees, wish to be assured that they are receiving value for money. Ways to measure the quality of work of individual teachers, of schools, or of education systems as a whole, are therefore often sought.
In most countries, teacher salary is not related to the perceived quality of his or her work. Some, however, have systems to identify the 'best-performing' teachers, and increase their remuneration accordingly. Elsewhere, assessments of teacher performance may be undertaken with a view to identifying teachers' needs for additional training or development, or, in extreme cases, to identify those teachers that should be required to leave the profession. In some countries, teachers are required to re-apply periodically for their license to teach, and in so doing, to prove that they still have the requisite skills.
Feedback on the performance of teachers is integral to many state and private education procedures, but takes many different forms. The 'no fault' approach is believed by some to be satisfactory, as weaknesses are carefully identified, assessed and then addressed through the provision of in
The process by which teachers are educated is the subject of political discussion in many countries, reflecting both the value attached by societies and cultures to the preparation of young people for life, and the fact that education systems consume significant financial resources (of which teacher salaries is often the largest single element).
However, the degree of political control over Teacher Education varies. Where TE is entirely in the hands of universities, the state may have no direct control whatever over what or how new teachers are taught. In other systems, TE may be the subject of detailed prescription (e.g. the state may specify the skills that all teachers must possess, or it may specify the content of TE courses).
In many states, the process of acquiring the relevant knowledge and skills to be a teacher (qualification) is separate from the process of acquiring the official permission to teach in public schools (registration, or licensing).
Policy cooperation in the European Union has led to a broad description of the kinds of attributes that teachers in EU Member States should possess: the [Common European Principle for Teacher Competences and Qualifications].
6. Frederick, R., et.al. Teacher candidates' transformative thinking on issues of social justice. Teaching and Teacher Education (2009).doi:10.1016/jtate.2009.05.004