In Europe, there is a wide consensus that international mobility programmes bring many benefits to higher education students. This is particularly true for teachers training students : better foreign language skills, increased level of self-confidence, global (especially european) mindedness and cultural sensitivity are amongst the dispositions and attitudes necessary to handle culturally diverse classrooms, a common challenge faced by many european teachers nowadays.

EUROSTUDENT data reveals that teacher training students mobility in Europe is still very low, compared to other fields of study. Overall, the highest share of students who have been temporarily enrolled abroad during their studies is to be found in Nordic countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark), followed by the Central European countries in the mid-range and the South-Eastern and Eastern European countries at the bottom. Teacher training students are underrepresented among those studying abroad temporarily in most countries. Paradoxically, the largest underrepresentation of teacher training students is to be found in countries with a very high overall share of students who have been enrolled abroad.

The reasons why teacher training students are less mobile than other groups of students are manyfold. EUROSTUDENT highlights that european teacher training students are a very heterogeneous group and that there is no harmonised teacher training in Europe (Zgaga, 2008). The varying structures of teacher training course according to the teaching level that students are training for (e.g. primary vs. lower or upper secondary levels) may be an obstacle to credit mobility. Moreover, the duration of teacher training programmes varies substantially by teaching level, from two to seven years depending on the country under observation (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2013). Finally, teacher training programmes all tend to include pedagogical elements, but they differ greatly regarding the subject-related knowledge that students acquire, making it difficult to have qualifications acquired abroad recognised back home.

EUROSTUDENT invites existing exchange programmes (e.g. ERASMUS+) to place a stronger emphasis on improving the mobility opportunities of teacher training students.

Governments should also work together towards a harmonisation of the structures of teacher training across European countries or at least, a better recognition of credits acquired in another european country, in order to make international mobility more attractive for teacher training students.

 

What are funding opportunities for mobile teacher training students in Europe and elsewhere ? What was your experience as a mobile teacher training student abroad ? What difficulties have you faced abroad and returning back home ? Join our community to ask your questions and share your experience with others!

Reference

Ballowitz Jan, Netz Nicolai & Sanfilippo Danielle, "Intelligence brief: Are teacher training students internationally mobile?", EUROSTUDENT.