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Caribbean Journal of Education

School Leadership, Teacher Qualifications and Student Achievement in the Lower Primary Grades: Case Study of a Jamaican School Principal’s Student Improvement Initiative

Publication Date: 
September 2009

The primary goal of teacher preparation programmes is to enable prospective teachers to develop the capacity and capability to support schools in the important mission of developing children and optimizing their learning outcomes. It is often assumed that the “trained” teacher will possess the skills to achieve this goal by the end of the pre-service training experience. This has been a very controversial topic in teacher education literature. Some studies have asserted that preservice training programmes have little or no influence  on  teachers’  pedagogical  practices  (Villegas-Reimers and Reimers, 2000; Bullough, 1992; Feiman-Nemser, 1983), while others have challenged such findings (Trotman and Kerr, 2001; Noel, 2000; Regan and Hannah, 1993; Grossman, 1992) on the basis that well designed and philosophically grounded teacher preparation programmes do have enduring positive effects on teachers’ classroom pedagogy. In spite of these polarized perspectives, it is generally agreed that good teachers are the most critical component of what schools need in order to be effective, hence potentially good teachers should benefit from relevant and effective teacher preparation programmes as, “what teachers know and do is one of the most important influences on what students learn “ (Darling-Hammond, 1998.)

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