撰文及考題設計／British Council 英協教育中心 Melissa Henry 中譯／陳昱婷（中央社編譯）
In the past few years, British schools have suffered from a large teacher shortage, which in some schools and areas has caused larger class sizes or forced children to take places in another school further from their home. Various schemes have been introduced to train teachers in order to fill vacancies, one of them being the ‘Troops to Teachers’ program that recently started in 2014. This £2 million government-run program allows some ex-military service personnel to train to become teachers after completing a two-year program, as well as aids in transitioning back to civilian life.
‘Troops to Teachers’ is a joint program between the Department of Education and the Ministry of Defence. Trainees spend four days a week in the classroom for on-the-job training and one day of academic preparation at the University of Brighton, who has partnered in the scheme. At the end of two years, trainees earn an honours degree in education, with a specialization in either becoming a primary school teacher or a secondary school, subject specific teacher. They also earn a yearly salary ranging from £12,000-£16,000 whilst training. In its first year, the program recruited 41 trainees in 2014 and 28 of them graduated in 2016. The number of applicants and trainees have been increasing each year; however, the numbers are still lower than expected.
The program is supported by Education Minister David Laws, who stated that during active military service, personnel learn values such as teamwork, discipline, leadership, and motivation, which have primed them to become good teachers. ‘Troops to Teachers’ also require good service records and pre¬requisites, such as a minimum grade C in English and math GCSEs and a minimum grade C science GCSE for prospective primary teachers. Therefore, it is argued that the criteria to enter the program are of a high standard, and thus the trainees who enroll are capable and committed to becoming excellent educationalists. However, like any scheme, there are its critics.
支持這項計畫的教育部部長勞斯表示，服兵役時，軍職人員學到團隊合作、紀律、領導力和激勵等價值觀，這些都是讓他們成為好老師的要素。「軍轉教」計畫也需要好的服役紀錄和一些必要條件，像是英文和數學的普通中等教育證書（GCSE）成績需至少為C，要成為小學老師GCSE 科學成績也需至少為C。因此有人認為門檻太高， 不過如此一來，報名通過的受訓者較有能力且願投入成為優秀教育家。然而，就如同其他計畫一樣，一定有批評聲浪出現。
Teacher unions disagree with the notion that ex-military personnel can transfer the skills and traits learnt in the service to teaching children in a classroom. They also argue that military skills and the skills required to teach children do not correlate with one another. Furthermore, unions claim that personnel without first degrees studying only once a week for two years is inadequate to teach a subject. However, they do acknowledge that some ex-military could make great teachers, but they should complete a proper teacher training degree so that they can succeed in the classroom, instead of a fast tracked one that does not fully cover all aspects needed to understand all the needs of a student.
‘Troops to Teachers’ is just one response to the teacher deficiency in England. Although ‘Troops to Teachers’ has not generated the number of quality teachers it expected, the headmasters at the schools involved have applauded the trainees and welcome more in the future. The government will need to continue to brainstorm more ways to attract and train teachers to meet the demand as the population augments yearly.