An "innovative" programme has been drawn up, based on the UOC's "excellence and experience" in teacher training
The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) will launch its Bachelor's Degree in Primary Education in September 2021. It will have a hundred students this year and will be taught in Catalan only. With this degree, the UOC completes its course offering for future teachers since the founding of the university and its Faculty in Psychology and Education Sciences 25 years ago, and strengthens its alliance with the university system in training teachers from the start.
"The UOC has a long history in teacher training", explains Teresa Guasch, dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, highlighting the experience accumulated and the research conducted at the University as key elements to offering an "innovative" programme based on "excellence". Throughout these 25 years, more than ten thousand teachers have been trained in the UOC's virtual classrooms. They have trained programmes such as the second-cycle degree in Educational Psychology or the joint university master's degrees in Learning Difficulties and Language Disorders, Educational Psychology, or Teacher Training for Secondary Education, Vocational Training and Language Teaching.
UOC methods for training the teachers of the future
"We have integrated components into the programme that will help us develop the skills necessary for the teachers of the future", adds Guasch, stressing this need for evolution in these subjects because "the hundred students that will start their studies in September will join the labour market in five or six years' time".
"Our hallmark will be our methods, and we will complement these with specific knowledge of digital skills", she explains. Guasch insists that the online educational models fostered by the UOC are "consolidated" and have demonstrated "consistency, quality and the ability to adapt to the times". In addition, she highlights that this year a new programme has been verified for the Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.
Antoni Badia, director of the degree in primary education, said that "we have taken into account the tradition and extremely high quality in teacher training that already existed in our university system, and we have combined it with our educational models and with the hallmarks of our identity and experience". He explained that a programme has been drawn up "with an updated vision of education", in which the school is not separate from society, but is an integrated alongside the other stakeholders within and beyond the classroom. "A teacher has to be aware that education is all around; school is the most important place, but it has to be interconnected", he argues.
An inclusive school focused on knowledge and skills
The programme includes the training of teachers who see "schools as inclusive for all: from handling gender to respecting differences of race, culture, ability, etc.", he explained. "We want all our training to produce teachers who are sensitive to fairness and equal opportunities". The programme assumes that, in the classrooms, all children are different and have diverse needs, "so the teacher has to be prepared to guarantee they all make progress".
Another hallmark of identity of the new UOC degree is a vision of school education that is very much centred on developing skills, as highlighted by Guasch. Badia stressed this idea explaining that "the teacher must combine both the promotion of knowledge and the development of these skills in their students. This knowledge must be agile and practical, and must solve problems so that the students become competent and do not simply repeat what they have learned". The director of the degree highlights the changes that will be seen in primary education in coming years. The programme includes "in-depth reflection" on the objectives of school education in current society and of training that instils in teachers an all-encompassing and ethical perspective.
Practical work and theory, in the classroom and virtually
The programme does not divide theory and practice – a practice that is fundamental for this type of university studies – into two separate stages. As Badia says, "it includes five placements distributed throughout the course. We want to create bridges between online and practical classrooms". Guasch explained that the practical work is "integrated" right from the start of the programme so that the content is "interconnected" throughout.
Education cannot currently be conceived without the essential contribution of the technological advances that have taken place in recent years in this field. "The UOC is the clearest example of this", said Badia. This contribution must not be limited merely to the use of "new technologies" in the classroom. So, the students of the Bachelor's Degree in Primary Education will develop a "broad and critical overview" of the internet, the information society and current communications, and the impact of all this on the digital transformation necessary in education, schools and classrooms. In tune with this new reality, the programme will combine the use of "virtual learning environments" and "multimedia materials", and a very high level of educational interaction between the students and the instructors and the students among themselves, with in-classroom practical work and close contact with the professionals at the schools.
- The Bachelor's Degree in Primary Education has 240 ECTS credits and is scheduled to last four years full time. The main aim of the degree is to train education professionals with the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to work as a primary school teacher.
- The programme will begin with a hundred students in September 2021. The language of instruction will be Catalan and students need to have passed the PAP (personal aptitude test).
Antoni Badia Garganté
Professor in the Psychology and Education Sciences Department
Programme Director of the Joint Master's Degree in Improving Teaching for Early Childhood and Primary Education (UVic-UCC, UOC)
Expert in: Learning strategies; teacher training; educational uses of ICT in the classroom; knowledge construction in e-learning environments.
Knowledge area: Educational psychology.