Teacher preparation programs in America vary widely in both their entrance requirements and their graduation requirements. Most are very easy to get into and this means that virtually anyone can become a teacher as long as they find a school that would accept them and is easy to graduate from. The same cannot be said of medical schools, which have high standards for entrance and graduation.
In Finland, the teacher preparation schools have very high standards like our medical schools. This makes teaching a prestigious career, instead of just something that anyone can do. It would seem that this, in turn, attracts better, more serious and highly qualified candidates from the start. One example in the United States that can be compared to Finland is the teacher preparatory program, Peabody, at Vanderbilt University. This school is very selective and only admits the top students, similar to Finland.They also require 800 hours of classroom experience before graduation. All of the highest achieving nations, including Singapore, Finland, and South Korea, have very selective teacher preparation programs. Another factor that influences teaching in America is an individual’s ability to afford college.
We have a vast array of excellent universities and colleges in the U.S.; however, they come with a vast array of tuition expenses. It is more affordable to attend a college or university in your state of residence. Out of state students pay far more and this economic factor limits the student’s choice. College in Finland is free for everyone. This means anyone can go to the best schools, provided they are academically ready. The financial worries of high tuition and repayment of student loans are not a factor in Finland.
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