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'University-based teacher training is a damn sight better than it is being credited for'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Why certainly! Despite my bias I should point out that the concept of teacher identity is now defined within the specific school system or cluster. However, producing a teacher with such a limited identity isn't helpful to the teacher him or herself. By accessing the university, they can interact outside the didactic environment of the school and genuinely challenge different notions about teaching.
    Traditionally, you associate university based teacher training with specific models of teaching. Now we are the only place where they can genuinely examine ideas about teaching without risking their place or assessment within the school.
    If you say to your free school or academy based teacher education , I wholly disagree with the way you are approaching the education of children, would you pass the course? Well at university they can say these things without fear and that is an important part of becoming a teacher.
  3. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    "it is certainly not about ticking the Bruner, Piaget and Vygotsky boxes"

    And yet that still seems to be happening.

    I believe wholly in university based ITE but too often they push one view instead of encouraging real critical thinking. The written assessments were interesting if you did lots of independent reading but often that wasn't what was asked for. Regurgitate the two or three suggested theorists and you got full marks. Explore, evaluate and criticise and you would pass but no more.

    I wound more critical thinking in my placement schools. There was often a large dose of cynicism with it but the driving force was an interest in what actually worked for pupils and that counteracted any negativity. But then the placement schools weren't my training provider so perhaps roles reverse.
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Ed Schools these days, by and large, are silos and their people see their positions as opportunities to promote whatever models they've been working on since obtaining ersatz sinecure. PGCE students have no time to research around these for contradictory models.

    They may, although the content of lectures and the conduct of partner schools are increasingly disjoint. A student may certainly comment on what happens in the air but may not, if they aspire to QTS, dispute what happens on the ground.
  5. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    What Vince said
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I don't know what you think goes on in teacher training at universities, but I think you might find it is something different to what you conjecture. The students have very few lectures (we had Sue Cowley in last year) - they are mostly student led workshops in which they reflect in groups on what they have to teach, the challenges they face on placement and the different approaches they are using to manage those challenges. They have to show they are researching and citing different approaches, but we certainly don't mandate which approaches. Any student simply citing Vygotsky, Bruner and Piaget would immediately fail. The criteria says recent and current research, critically examined. As staff, we have to be internationally aware of all new approaches and foster quite an open mind.
    The library provides immediate access to all the journals and books with google-like search functions. The students don't need to move from the PC to access the latest research. They certainly don't need lots of teacher-led didactic lectures. We develop their own critical faculties to examine any theory or study - they are academic, evidence based teachers. They take these ideas from around the world and then try them out for themselves in the classroom. Where we find issues is that some schools are fixed in their single approach to teaching - they are not flexible enough to let the students try out different ideas. One school will let a student try out text book teaching (Finnish education) another will not. One school will allow the students to use teaching games for understanding in P.E. another will not. It is very hard for a student to explore different approaches to teaching if the school is not flexible to new ideas.
    I should point out that many schools and mentors are very helpful with this and welcome the input of new ideas from the students. But some don't. And would you put these wholly in charge of the training experience? A university isn't beholden to the government or school so can train teachers without the ideological bias you think they have.

    We try to train teachers that could teach in any school, not just one school or chain and that requires a different model and attracts a different type of student teacher - and is the reason why the government is cutting places in university led training: they don't approve!
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    You are conjecturing that we are conjecturing.

    So, few lectures from experts but an emphasis on discovery learning and group work. Lots of posters-making, I expect. Card-sorts? Fingerpaints?

    Google is no substitute for a lecture from an expert. Of course university students need lectures.

    Likely no negative effect on trainee performance given that these particular students are not being given sufficient guidance on what works.

    This doesn't make sense. The government is diversifying models for state education. If university ITT in general were training students to teach in any school then this cannot be the reason why the government is cutting places. I suggest the reason is that Ed Schools are populated by people with a sense of unjustified entitlement and are producing teachers unprepared for work in 21st Century British schools.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  8. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    It is the professionalism question: who defines what a professional teacher is?

    According to the government, it is the school or chain. They want the school or the chain to be able to dictate to the teachers how to teach, what to teach, when to teach, how to assess, when to assess etc. See teachers' standards part two. It's part of the managerialism rife in schools that operate as businesses with corporate governance models. That is your diversification overshadowed by Ofsted and DofE accountability measures.

    According to the research, it is the profession as a collective - they define what should be taught, how it should be taught, how to assess etc. This is done by the professional teacher engaging with the international academic debate over approaches to teaching within the community of teachers.

    We advocate the second model and that causes tensions between university trained teachers and the business style mandated approach of the first. And this is why they cut the numbers of university based teacher education.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  9. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Regarding PE.... NO.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I know what goes on in my local university because I talk to students every year. They are doing exactly the same as when I did the course. I also know that they are pushing the Government line about the new curriculum and are warning their students not to listen to cynical departments in school who criticise the new qualifications. And you still can't say a word against inclusion - and a very narrow definition of inclusion at that.
    TEA2111 likes this.

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