Scottish Teachers for a New Era (STNE) is a collaborative six-year pilot project whichseeks to prepare ‘teachers for a new era’ able to face up to the challenges of knowledgeand learning in the twenty-first century. The programme’s aims include the creation ofan extended professional culture, the broadening of learning experiences, opportunities todevelop new and personal approaches to teaching and a broader conceptualisation ofpupil gains leading to improved teacher and pupil learning. B.Ed Entry and Exit Surveys. Summary Report April 2010IntroductionA key part of the STNE initiative is the reconceptualisation and development of the four year Bachelor ofEducation (B.Ed) programme for Primary Teaching. The aim was to provide educational experiences thatwould enable students develop effective teaching qualities. As part of this process a framework thatspelled out the qualities that the STNE programme aimed to develop in the student teachers wasdeveloped (Figure 1). This framework identified seven interrelated effective teaching qualities (criticalthinking, emotional intelligence, epistemological belief, general teacher efficacy, pedagogic contentefficacy, conceptions of teaching, and beliefs about inclusion and social justice). Literature reviewsuggests that these qualities are significant predictors of teacher classroom competency and higher pupilachievement (e.g. Strong, 2007; Wenglinsky, 2002; Cornelius-White, 2007; Sherman, Rasmussen& Baydala, 2008; Palardy & Rumberger, 2008). A comprehensive discussion of the framework isavailable and can be obtained by contacting the research team. This report summarises the researchevaluating the development of identified dispositions over the course of the programme.
Figure 1: Framework of effective teacher qualitiesAims and Objectives a) Describe the profile of the first cohort of STNE students (who are currently in their induction year of teaching) in line with identified effective teacher qualities. b) Evaluate the impact of the STNE initiative on student teachers by assessing whether there were significant changes in student profiles (effective teacher qualities) over the four years. This was accomplished by: 1. Comparing entry and exit profile data for the first cohort, and 2. Comparing the exiting cohort data with data obtained from comparative entry cohorts. c) Evaluate similarities or differences between the first cohort of STNE students and students who graduated the B.Ed programme in 2006, 2008 and the PGDE primary programme in 2009 where appropriate. d) Explore the relationship between the effective teacher qualities and students’ progress in the final year (as measured by scores obtained on various modules) e) Report on students overall evaluation of the programme, recommendations for improvement and future professional development needs f) Examine the implications of these findings for classroom competence.
MethodDesign and ProcedureAs part of the research and evidence gathering process, a longitudinal survey design was used to obtain entryprofile data from participants as they embarked on the programme and exit profile data at the end of theprogramme. Additionally, a cross-sectional design was employed to compare dispositions of STNE graduateswith other cohorts where appropriate. These research processes provided data for evaluating the effect of theSTNE programme on students’ development.InstrumentationA questionnaire was developed to measure the qualities identified in the framework in figure 1 at differentstages of the study. Items for measuring constructs in the final questionnaire were either adapted fromprevious instruments or developed for this study. Several steps including exploratory and confirmatory factoranalysis were used to establish the validity and reliability of the constructs measured by the questionnaire.These constructs were shown to be reliable as indicated by their Cronbach’s alpha and fit indices fromconfirmatory factor analyses. More importantly, the final instruments are deemed to have adequate facevalidity by the programme implementation team and other stakeholders.AnalysisVarious statistical analyses were carried out to test the extent of growth and explore relationships among theeffective teacher qualities measured. These include repeated measures t-test, multiple regression and multivariateanalysis of variance.Results1. The first cohort of students, on exit from the new programme, possess the following characteristics: • They have sophisticated epistemic beliefs (beliefs about knowledge and knowing) and strongly believe in incremental rather than fixed learning abilities. They are cautious about the notion of scientific truth and hold the view that expert knowledge can be fallible. They have a strong preference for the process of learning rather than the acquisition of facts. These epistemological beliefs significantly predicted students’ preferred approach to teaching and learning showing a strong preference for a constructivist rather than a direct transmission approach to teaching. • They strongly believe in their ability as teachers to make a difference, and are confident in their pedagogic-content efficacy. However, a critical evaluation of the subject knowledge element of the programme is required in order to increase confidence in this domain. • They show a strong disposition toward thoughtful reflection and open-mindedness, display high levels of emotional intelligence, and show very strong dispositions to educational inclusion and social justice2. The longitudinal and comparative data indicate that the first cohort of STNE students have significantly developed effective teacher qualities over the four years of the programme. • Overall, there was a significant growth towards a sophisticated epistemic belief. Specifically, the students reported stronger belief that children’s abilities are incremental rather than fixed at birth, and held a relativistic rather than simplistic view about the acquisition and source of knowledge. • They showed a significantly less favourable preference for direct transmission approaches to teaching and learning (in favour of constructivist) than in their first year. Constructivist approaches have been shown to lead to increased learning and understanding (e.g. Fawcet & Garton, 2005; Richardson, 1997).
• There was a significant growth in pedagogic-content efficacy and significant increases in disposition towards thoughtful reflection. • There was a significant growth in the student’s ability to engage in emotional appraisal and the students held a stronger inclusive mindset than they did at entry.These results suggest that the STNE initiative has contributed significantly to the development ofeffective teacher qualities by student teachers.3. Although significant similarities exist between the STNE students and various comparison groups(B.Ed4 2006, 2008 and PGDE primary 2009), where differences exist, the STNE students appear to holdthe more positive characteristic.4. There are some interesting relationships between students profile and progress in their final year. Thosewith sophisticated epistemological beliefs, strong confidence in pedagogic-content efficacy and strongerinclusive beliefs appear to do well in various education modules. In concurrence with previous research(e.g. Maggioni & Parkinson, 2008), it was found that sophisticated epistemic beliefs had significantinfluence on classroom competence as measured by students performance during school experience.Overall, increase in students’ pedagogic content efficacy was also associated with classroom competenceduring school experience.5. The students reported that the STNE programme enhanced the knowledge and skills needed to becomeeffective teachers. They rated development of knowledge and skills in constructivist teaching andlearning approaches as the area most enhanced through the programme. Although ‘Strategies to supportpupils with EAL’, ‘subject knowledge’ and ‘use of technology in the classroom had responses aboveaverage, they received the lowest ratings of the skills that were enhanced. These areas need to beconsidered for improvement.6. Students’ recommendations for further improvement include aspects of school experience, subjectknowledge, feedback, and ICT.7. The students identified issues around pedagogy, curriculum, and personal and professionaldevelopment as their future professional needs.Discussion/ConclusionThis summary paper has presented results of the analysis evaluating the development of effectiveteacher qualities among first cohort of STNE graduates. Students overall appear to showsignificant growth in effective teacher qualities. Comparative analysis suggests that the STNEinitiative made significant contributions to these changes. The available evidence using data fromfinal year school experience and evidence from the literature suggests that these students will havesignificant impact on their pupils learning. It is however acknowledged that, aspects of theprogramme, for example, content knowledge, need to be reconsidered in the light of studentsoverall evaluation and their own assessment of their subject knowledge efficacy.
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