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1 The Implementation of the New Master Program in Secondary Education Teacher Training: An Approach to its Evolution from the Perspective of the UCM Students Domínguez Romero, Elena 1, Bobkina, Jelena 2 1,2 English I, UCM, Ciudad Universitaria s/n 28040, Madrid, Spain Received: ; Accepted: Abstract The new Master program in Secondary School Teacher Training was launched in the Spanish University during the academic year 2009/10, thus responding to the new demands of the Organic Education Law 2/2006 (Organic Law 2/2006, of 3 May) requiring prospective teachers to take a course on pedagogical skills. Being criticized since the beginning of its implementation due to lack of precision in planning and teaching organization as much as coordination and information, this Master can be said to have had turbulent beginnings. This year marks the fourth anniversary of its implementation in the Complutense University of Madrid. In this paper, we aim to analyze its trajectory throughout the opinions of the students majoring in Foreign Languages: English. Keywords Teacher Training, Secondary Education, Organic Education Law, CAP EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

2 1. Introduction The need for initial formation for the Secondary School teachers is and has always been a rather controversial issue in the field of education, both in relation to a general model of education and to its contents and overall organization. This comes as no surprise though since the vast majority of experts in the field admits that the new university degrees, introduced by the Bologna Process, do not guarantee the acquisition of the common teaching competencies (Barcala, 2011; Gutiérrez González, 2011). Traditionally, the pedagogical formation of the secondary school teachers has been oscillating between two extreme positions in most of the European countries: on the one hand, we have had discipline formation, centred on the content information of the different subjects and, on the other hand, we find methodological formation, mostly focused on the concepts that are more properly related to the educational field (Eurydice, 2003). There is no doubt that the best teaching practice needs to integrate both disciplines. Nevertheless, Bolivar (2007) explains that, except for some timid attempts undertaken during the past two centuries, there has never been any specific institution dedicated to the formation of secondary school teachers in Spain. For years, these teachers have been just expected to end up being university graduates with some notions of pedagogical formation (De Pulles, 2003: 8, own translation). To imporve this situation, the new Master program in Secondary School Teacher Training was launched in the Spanish University during the academic year 2009/10. In the vein of the LOE, and following the general European Guidalines for the adaptation of the Spanish universities to the European Space for Higher Education, this new Master came to replace the previous Certificate of Teaching Aptitude (CAP in Spanish) (Real Decreto 1834/2008 de 8 de noviembre, 2008). This qualitative change needs to be considered as a turning point in Spanish Secondary School teachers formation. The experts in the educational field hope that this new master program will be a useful tool to improve the quality of the teachers preparation, as well as to ensure prevention of school failure (Barcala, 2011). Therefore, given that this year marks the fourth anniversary of the Master s implantation in the Complutense University EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

3 of Madrid, this paper aims to analyze its trajectory through the opinions of the Master students majoring in Foreign Languages: English. 2. From CAP to the Master Program in Secondary School Teacher Training The CAP (Pedagogical Aptitude Course) came to life in 1970 as a response to the lack of education expertise at all levels to initially meet the basic demands of the Spanish system. Aimed at high school teachers and designed as a postgraduate course, the CAP was intended to be 300 hour course organized into two main blocks: the theoretical block, containing three subjects about the psychological and sociological foundations of education, educational technology and didactic education (150 hours), and the practical block (150 hours). Though it had been originally designed to be a high quality professional postgraduate course, the CAP never really managed to meet the initial goals. Among the many reasons that led to this discredit, González Gutiérrez (2011) points to the following: i) lack of an adequate legal framework, ii) scarce interest of the university institutions, iii) financial difficulties: unstable teachers, busy classrooms, or iv) little official recognition. With the time, these quality issues continued to worsen, linked to high rates of dropping out of school and indifference (Gutiérrez, 2005). As a result, some Spanish universities made important efforts to reach the way to the improvement of the quality of their teacher training courses. Among others, the following attempts should be highlighted: i) the proposal by the Group XV (1988) regarding the development of a Course on Didactics Training (TED) (Real Decreto 118/2004 por el que se regula el Título de Especialización Didáctica), ii) the Project of Initial Formation for Secondary School Teachers (FIPS) (Brincones et al., 1991) or the Course on Pedagogical Qualification (CCP) (Real Decreto 1692/1995 de 20 de octubre, por el que se regula el título profesional de especialización didáctica, 1995). EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

4 Quite unfortunately, though, these attempts never really overstepped the theoretical limits of institutional meetings, newspaper articles, or proposals for improvement. The final solution to the problem came in 2006, coupled with the new Organic Law of Education (LOE) that envisaged the implementation of the new Master Program in Teacher Training for those students who graduate to become Secondary School teachers. The Master consists of 60 credits organized as follows: i) Generic Module (12 ECTS credits): Learning and personality Development; Processes and educational contexts; Society, family and education; ii) Specific Module (30 ECTS credits): Disciplinary Training Supplement, Learning and teaching of the specific content, Teaching innovation and initiation to educational research; and iii) Teaching Practice and Master s Dissertation (12+6 ECTS credits). 3. Some considerations on the Master The implementation of the new Master has set a long-awaited change in the context of the Spanish university since the year 2009/10, which was hampered by the economic crisis in Spain. The unfavorable conditions aroused multiple criticism and general distrust among teachers and students alike (Sereno, 2010; Aunión, 2010). As reported by the speaker of ASPEPC, the leader of the Trade Union of Secondary School Teachers, the implantation of the Master has fallen on the shoulders of the educational centres of the universities whose budgets are clearly unrealistic and inadequate (Sereno, 2010:3, own translation).thus the Spanish newspaper El País (Aunión, 2010) comments upon the considerable differences existing among the Spanish universities in both the price of the Master (of 875 euros to 10.00) and its duration (192 hours at 900). In this vein, The ABC of Seville denounces the fact that the poor organization of the Master due to its fast implantation caused serious damages to more than 800 students of the university of Seville (Denuncian "los perjuicios" que el Máster de Secundaria ocasiona a 800 alumnos, 2010). The inexistent coordination of the teaching modules and the subjects is also an issue frequently criticized by students. Very often the content of the subjects results to be rather EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

5 repetitive or purely theoretical, with no relation to the practical objectives of the Master (González Gutiérrez, 2011; Sereno, 2010). Work overload and the lack of planning are two other common complaints. All in all, the Master s teaching staff concerns should be integrated by professional experts with a broad knowledge and experience in the field of Secondary Education. Yet this is not always the case in a context of economic crisis, especially if dealing with the subjects focused on didactics and educational innovation (Gutiérrez, 2011). Other complaints include the difficulties that the students find in the realization of their Master dissertation (TFM) or the lack of collaboration between the State Offices of Education (Conserjerías de Educación) and the universities (Gutiérrez González, 2011). According to Sereno (2010), most of the Spanish universities are active supporters of the Master program as far as this represents a major improvement if compared with the initial CAP in Spain. Its contents are ideally regarded to be essential for the development of the future teachers work. And Aunión (2010) thus characterizes the introduction of the Master as the answer to an old claim to improve the initial teachers education as one of the keys to progress in the quality of education. Among some of strengths of the master, this author points out the module focused on the Teaching Practice that guarantees the students a more direct contact with the world of education. Though the implementation of the Master, as Gutiérrez González (2011) affirms, represents a significant improvement in the quality of the teachers preparation, this is still far from reaching a desirable result. This initial process should be supported by all educational institutions so as to get a qualitative improvement in the teachers preparation, first, to be then extended to the Spanish education system in general. The opinion of the students is key in this sense, hence being the basis of our study. 4. Aims of the study In this paper, we aim to analyze the actual situation of the new Master s Degree in Secondary School Training launched in the Spanish University during the academic year EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

6 2009/10 through the analysis of the opinions of students majoring in Foreign Languages: English. The focus will be on organization as well as on teaching quality. 5. Method The study has been conducted to explore the so far hidden aspects of Master through the opinion of our students, majoring in Foreign Languages: English. Data has been obtained by means of one single questionnaire divided into three main parts: (i) Organization, (ii) Teaching Quality and (iii) Overall evaluation of the Master s Degree plus a set of three open questions. Results have first been analyzed quantitatively to be later on presented and discussed in the Results section of the present study. The conclusions and the pedagogical implications derived from the discussion of results can be found in the final section of the paper. 5.1 Participants Participants were 21 out of the 25 students registered in the University Complutense of Madrid Master s Program in Secondary School Teacher Training majoring in Foreign Languages: English. The average age of the respondents was about 24 years old. Their main concern was teaching, this being the only reason why they registered in this Master s degree. 5.2 Instruments A questionnaire organized into 4 main sections was designed to collect the data related to the students opinions. The first 3 sections were aimed to collect quantitative data regarding the students opinions towards aspects like organization, teaching quality or overall evaluation of the Master s degree. The items included in each of the sections were the following: (1) Organization: 1.1 Objectives are clear and are well organized according to the students needs, 1.2 Contents are adequate to the achievement of the objectives established, 1.3 The different subjects are well organized and do not overlap, 1.4 Credit number is adequate to the teaching timing, and 1.5 Information received by the EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

7 students is appropriate enough; (2) Teaching quality: 2.1 The objectives of the different subjects are well defined, 2.2 The contents of the different subjects are adequate to the achievement of the defined objectives, 2.3 Student working load is adequate to number of credits in the different subjects, 2.4 The teaching methodology followed in the different subjects is appropriate enough, 2.5 Assessment in the different subjects is appropriate enough, 2.6 Classes motivate the students interest and 2.7 In general terms, I am happy with the teaching quality of the different teachers; (3) Overall evaluation of the Master: 3.1 The Master motivated my interest and reflection, 3.2 The Master is going to be useful for the future development of my professional career, 3.3 In general terms, I am happy with the Master, and 3.4 The implementation of this Master as part of the curriculum for secondary education teacher formation is positive. There was a total of 16 items scored on a five-point Likert Scale (from 1 = Not at all to 5 = Very much). The fourth section consisted of a set of 3 open questions: 4.1 Mention some of the positive areas/aspects of the Master s Degree, 4.2 Mention some of the negative aspects/areas of the Master s Degree, and 4.3 How would you change/improve them? 6. Results and analysis 6.1 Questionnaire. Likert Scale Items Master s organization Table 1. Overall results for the Master s Organization section. MASTER S ORGANIZATION Objectives are clear and are well organized according to the students needs 1.2 Contents are adequate to the achievement of the objectives established 3/14.3% 3/14.3% 8/38.1% 6/28.6% 1/ 4.8% 2/9.5% 4/19% 8/38.1% 4/19% 3/14.3% 1.3 The different subjects are well organized and 3/14.3% 5/24% 7/33.3% 6/28.6% 0/0% EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

8 do not overlap 1.4 Credit number is adequate to the teaching timing 1.5 Information received by the students is appropriate enough 3/14.3% 4/19% 6/28.6% 3/14.3% 4/19% 0/0% 4/19% 7/33.3% 7/33.3% 3/14.3% The most positive results obtained in this first section of the questionnaire (80.9%) have to do with the appropriate information received by the students. Still positive are the results obtained for the organization of objectives and the definition of contents of the Master despite the 28.5% of negative responses in this sense. Nevertheless, these still positive results come to be shadowed by the extra 38.3% of students who reported that the subjects are not well organized because of the content overlap existing followed by another 33.3% of participants who considered that the number of credits is not adequate to the Master content organization timing Subject teaching quality Table 2. Overall results for the Subject Teaching Quality section. SUBJECT TEACHING QUALITY The objectives of the different subjects are well defined 2.2 The contents of the different subjects are adequate to the achievement of the defined objectives 2.3 Student working load is adequate to number of credits in the different subjects 2.4 The teaching methodology followed in the different subjects is appropriate enough 1/ 4.8% 1/ 4.8% 10/47.6% 1/ 4.8% 4/19% 10/47.6% 6/28.6% 1/ 4.8% 4/19% 10/47.6% 6/28.6% 1/ 4.8% 8/38.1% 3/14.3% 0/0% 0/0% 4/19% 13/62% 3/14.3% 0/0% 2.5 Assessment in the different subjects is 0/0% 2/9.5% 9/42.8% 7/33.3% 3/14.3% EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

9 appropriate enough 2.6 Classes motivate the students interest 4/19% 5/24% 7/33.3% 5/24% 0/0% 2.7 In general terms, I am happy with the teaching quality of the different teachers 0/0% 4/19% 7/33.3% 8/38.1% 3/14.3% Regarding the teaching quality of the different subjects included in the Master, it is worth noticing that 81% of the students reported the contents to be adequate to the achievement of the objectives, which had been previously considered to be well defined by another 81% of the participants under study. This is quite related to the more than 62% of the students who pointed to the methodology followed by the different teachers as appropriate enough. Equally revealing is the fact that 85.7% of the students provided a positive response to item 2.7, with a vast majority of them self-reporting to be happy (33.3%) or very happy (52.4%) with the quality of the different teachers instruction. Quite surprisingly, these highly positive results concerning the elevated degree of satisfaction with the teaching quality of the instruction received in the different subjects is preceded item 2.7 by a devastating 62.9% of negative or very negative responses affecting the inability of the classes to motivate the students interest. This is especially shocking if we consider the 47.6% of students who clearly admit that the Master motivated their interest and reflection, as shown in the analysis of results for item 3.1 in the following section of the questionnaire. Results obtained for items 2.3 and 2.5 are similarly controversial. On the one hand, 85.7% of the subjects participating in the study reported that the student working load was not appropriate to the number of credits. Indeed, answers to the open section of the questionnaire reveal a heavy complaint about the excess of mandatory homework based on the theory part of the Master. On the other hand, though, 90.4% of the students valued assessment in the different subjects as appropriate enough. EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

10 6.1.3 Overall evaluation of the Master Table 3. Overall results for the Ovarall Evaluation of the Master section. OVERALL EVALUATION OF THE MASTER 3.1 The Master motivated my interest and reflection 3.2 The Master is going to be useful for the future development of my professional career 1 2/9.5% 1/ 4.8% /14.3% 6/28.6% 7/33.3% 3/14.3% 1/ 4.8% 4/19% 9/42.8% 6/28.6% 3.3 In general terms, I am happy with the Master 1/ 4.8% 4/19% 9/42.8% 4/19% 3/14.3% 3.4 The implementation of this Master as part of the curriculum for secondary education teacher formation is positive 3/14.3% 3/14.3% 5/24% 3/14.3% 7/33.3% Results obtained in the third section of the questionnaire reveal quite positive global outcomes with a 47.6% of students who clearly admit that the Master motivated their interest and reflection and a 71.4% who are absolutely convinced of the usefulness of the Master for the development of their future teaching career. This comes supported by the 76.1% of students who reported to be happy or very happy with the Master and the 71.6% who either agreed or strongly agreed with the 3.4 statement The implementation of this Master as part of the curriculum for secondary education teacher formation is positive. Quite unfortunately, responses found in the open section of the questionnaire do not seem to show any light in this sense. EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

11 6.2 Questionnaire. Open questions Mention some of the positive aspects/areas of the Master s Degree On the positive side, students remarked the usefulness and the high quality content of the subjects most related to their future teaching activity: teaching methods, development of lesson plans, and design of didactic units. They especially valued the chance to learn how to design lessons plans and units; how to deal with students; and the possibility to learn about the structure of the secondary school system. Interaction and group work, or the practice of oral skills in a positive climate were also really valued aspects by the students Mention some of the negative aspects/areas of the Master s Degree On the negative side, students pointed to poor organization issues leading them to consider the Master to be too dense, with too many assignments for 4 months, too many school hours and some very long and content overlapping lessons. The most problematic issue, however, seems to be due to the fact that students report to have many subjects not related to the development of their teaching skills hence considered to be useless and repetitive. This is closely related to the idea of having too much theory accompanied by massive homework, of a theoretical nature, and not enough practice How would you change/improve them? Among students suggestions for improvement the idea of a better organization and a higher degree of involvement on the part of the organizers is to be highlighted. This should be aimed to the coordinated development of syllabuses for the different subjects, the main focus to be on fighting the overlap affecting some teaching modules. More useful content is also a demand. For students, useful content is that aimed to contributing to actually develop their teaching skills, which seems to be their main area of concern; they want and need to become good teachers. In this sense, students referred to subjects EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

12 like Fundamentación didáctica or Manifestaciones literarias as useless and repetitive enough so as not to be an essential part of the already over intensive curriculum. At the same time, they defended the need for more teaching practice in the subjects Diseño de unidades didácticas, Psicología, and Didáctica de competencias. More activities involving teaching, classroom management and discourse and speech practice should be implemented in these subjects according to students. All in all, students are concerned with the need to improve their teaching and to relate the theory part of the subjects with the practicum so as to use this theoretical part as a guide to the development of their Practicum activity. That is the reason why they stated that the theoretical part currently running from October to March should last at least 2 more months and be thus combined with the Practicum so that this theoretical part could include more practice related to the Practicum teaching programme. They would prefer to focus on class work rather than on homework only. Number of tasks and oral should be reduced in fact. 7. Conclusions and pedagogical implications To conclude, the overall results obtained from the research are rather satisfactory as they reveal quite positive global outcomes. Most of the students have reported to be in favor of this Master, having no doubts about its usefulness. It is worth noticing that most of the students have evaluated their teachers work rather positively, both in terms of contents and objectives or teaching quality and methodology. Among drawbacks of the course, though, it is to be mentioned that the content overlap in some of the subjects, the poor content organization timing in some cases, and the excess of mandatory homework were the most frequently criticized aspects. The other revealing point was the devastating percentage of students declaring their lack of motivation in the classroom. Our recommendations for the future development of this Master Program would go through the reduction of class hours to provide students with extra time for their home EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

13 research, the refinement of the number of subjects and the improvement of their coordination to avoid overlapping and excessive homework. Finally, we would insist on the learner-centered methodology to be used in the classroom in order to facilitate the development of students participation and interest. 8. References Aunión, J. (2010, 4 de octubre). El mismo título para ser profesor de instituto, en 1920 en 900 horas. Recuperado el 12 de octubre de 2013 de: Barcala, D. (2011, 24 de diciembre). Ser profesor sigue siendo la alternativa estrella al paro. Recuperado el 12 de octubre de 2013, de Bolivar, A. (2007). La formación inicial del profesorado de secundaria y su identidad profesional. Estudios sobre Educación, 12, págs Brincones, I.; Aparicio, J. Y Rodríguez, M. (1991). La Formación Inicial de Profesorado: El conocimiento de base, los métodos y su evaluación en la experiencia F.I.P.S. Madrid: Ediciones MEC. ICE de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. De Puelles, M. (2003). Las políticas del profesorado en España. En M. C. Pereira, El profesorado de enseñanza secundaria. Retos ante el nuevo milenio (págs ). Orense: Concello de Ourense / Fundación Santa María / Universidad de Vigo. Denuncian "los perjuicios" que el Máster de Secundaria ocasiona a 800 alumnos. (19 de marzo de 2010). ABC de Sevilla, pág. 28. Económico, O. (2005). Teachers Matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teacher. París: OCDE. Eurydice. (2003). La profesión docente en Europa: perfil, tendencias y problemática. Informe 1: Formación inicial del profesorado y transición a la vida laboral. Madrid: Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

14 GRUPO XV (1988). Informe sobre las titulaciones universitarias correspondientes a la formación del profesorado. Propuesta de nuevos títulos docentes elevada por la Comisión nº XV al Consejo de Universidades. Madrid: MEC. Gutiérrez González, J. (2011, 17 de julio). La Formación inicial del profesorado de Secundaria. Del CAP al Máster. Tribuna Abierta, Gutiérrez, J. M. (2005). El CAP. Crónica de una muerte anunciada. Aula de Innovación Educativa, , págs Ley Orgánica 2/2006, de 3 de mayo, de Educación. Boletín Oficial del Estado, 106, de 4 de mayo de Real Decreto 118/2004 por el que se regula el Título de Especialización Didáctica. Boletín Oficial del Estado, 30, págs Real Decreto 1692/1995 de 20 de octubre, por el que se regula el título profesional de especialización didáctica. Boletín Oficial del Estado, 9 de noviembre de Real Decreto 1834/2008, de 8 de noviembre, por el que se definen las condiciones de formación para el ejercicio de la docencia en la educación secundaria obligatoria, el bachillerato, la formación profesional. Boletín Oficial del Estado, 287, 28 de noviembre de Sereno, E. (2010). Máster en Secundaria: la asignatura pendiente para ser profesor. Recuperado el 11 de octubre de 2013, de EduRe Journal Vol. 1 Nº 2 (2014):

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