Professor Michael Bassey looks at research that has just been published by academics from Manchester Metropolitan University comparing school-led teacher training with university teacher education.
Research comparing school-led teacher training with university teacher education has just been published by Professor Tony Brown, Dr Harriet Rowley and Kim Smith at Manchester Metropolitan University. It focuses on these two approaches to providing a one-year post-graduate preparation for teaching.
Partnerships between schools in England and university departments of education are long established: in recent years students have spent longer periods in schools with teachers having increasing influence on the training.
However, in 2012 there started a new initiative for post-graduates, School Direct, as an alternative to post-graduate university-based teacher education. This is school-led and school-based, with only about 30 days in the year spent on university study and the rest of the school year in classrooms. but still to be accredited by the university. The researchers found that these new courses have a very different relationship between theory and practice, to the detriment of theory and analysis as taught on the university-based courses.
“Increasingly, teaching is conceived in craft-based, technicist terms strengthened by increasing prescription and performativity measures, which require teachers to present and shape knowledge in particular ways.”
Also, whereas university-based courses spend time on developing ways of teaching the subject(s) of the student’s first degree and critically examining how the pedagogy is changing, the researchers found that in the School Direct training the emphasis was on the current legislative frameworks of the subject(s).
“[P]edagogical knowledge is increasingly shaped by demands of the regulative policies and highly structured frameworks [of the] schools where trainees spend the majority of their time. In this [approach to training] teachers craft their understandings according to the legislative framework in which their practices have become ever more strictly articulated, rather than being educated in universities to engage critically with evolving demands.”
Moreover, they found considerable diversity in these courses.
“[T]he content and structure of School Direct courses varies greatly between different partnership arrangements across the country, leading to greater fragmentation within the system as a whole”.
The report notes that this new approach is in sharp contrast to the teacher education model in most European countries where substantial academic study with a pedagogical dimension linked to school experience is deemed the best way “to raise teacher quality and respond to the challenges of lifelong learning in a knowledge-based society”.
Read or download the report in full:schooldirect
Do you find the suggested move towards what sounds like a more prescriptive, conformist approach a cause for concern?
Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…
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