Educating talented schoolteachers
The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 7.5 million to Teach First Danmark, which strives to provide all children in Denmark the opportunity to get a good education, regardless of their social background.
The grant will help to motivate and educate more people with a university education to become talented primary and lower-secondary schoolteachers. The teachers will contribute to inspiring and strengthening the academic skills of disadvantaged students and provide them with optimal opportunities to improve themselves in such subjects as mathematics and the natural sciences. Primary and lower-secondary schools especially seek more qualified teachers in these subjects.
Teach First Danmark offers selected graduates with a bachelor or master degree a 2-year teacher and leader training programme, during which they teach full time at a primary and lower-secondary school in a socially disadvantaged area. Alongside their work as teachers, the graduates take an educational programme equivalent to 150 ECTS credits. This comprises a full merit teacher education and ongoing guidance from a mentor who graduated from a teachers’ college and supplementary courses and coaching in collaboration with partner companies. So far, about 2500 teachers have received training under the Teach First Danmark programme, which was conceived as a supplement to the talented teachers educated through the traditional 4-year teacher education.
The Foundation’s grant will be used to expand the educational programme and to extend the outreach of Teach First Danmark to cover the whole country. The aim is to strengthen the academic skills of up to 15,000 children in primary and lower-secondary schools in socially disadvantaged areas by 2020.
Thomas Alslev Christensen, Head of Operations, Novo Nordisk Foundation, says: “Good results in primary and lower-secondary school are important for ensuring that students subsequently complete upper-secondary school. By awarding the grant to Teach First Danmark, we want to reduce the shortage of teachers, especially within mathematics and the natural sciences, and provide lower-secondary school students the best conditions for improving their abilities. We also want to contribute to encourage students’ interest in the natural sciences, thereby stimulating them in the long term to choose a career in this field.”
About the 2-year graduate teacher training programme
Teach First Danmark offers graduates with a bachelor or master degree a 2-year programme, during which they teach full time at a primary and lower-secondary school in a socially disadvantaged area. Alongside their work as teachers, the graduates take an educational programme equivalent to 150 ECTS credits. Throughout the programme, the new teachers exchange ideas with an experienced Teach First Danmark mentor who graduated from a teachers’ college. In the second year of the programme, they also take supplementary courses and receive coaching in collaboration with partner companies. The graduates can continue as teachers at their school following the 2-year programme.
Thirty graduates were accepted into the programme’s first year in 2015 and were employed in primary and lower-secondary schools in socially disadvantaged areas. The second-year intake in 2016 attracted 634 applicants.