A Brief Review of Teacher Education in the U.S. and China

Xiumei Feng , Zixia Yu , Yuan Pi

Department of Physics, Huazhong Normal University, Wuhan, Hubei 430079, China
*Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received: 2009-9-19 / Accepted: 2010-2-6 / Published: 2010-4-30

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Abstract We compare the different teacher training models between China and the U.S. through their history of teacher education, including discussion of licensure/certificate requirements and the related content know-ledge in both countries are discussed in details. Comparison is made between the two countries with regard to current pre-college education factors such as the enrollments of students, the ratio of students to teachers, the percentage of qualified teachers and those with higher degrees. It is shown that, in China, teacher education is rather independent of other higher education systems, while in the U.S. the education departments/colleges of comprehensive universities are responsible for teacher education. Though these two countries agree that teacher education should contain both academic quality and rigorous professional education, their emphases vary in practice. Chinese teacher education programs focus more deeply on the major’s content knowledge. American graduates by comparison have broader knowledge coverage outside of their major in education. The student to teacher ratio is higher in China, and the percentage of qualified teachers or those with higher degrees in China is lower compared to that in the U.S.; however, American teachers are more likely to be assigned to teach out-of-field subjects.

Research Areas: Teacher preparation