PhD studies on induction year learning; undergraduate field experience mentoring/support; self-study and pupil learning gains.
Analysis of early career landscape (including induction year surveys) for informing yr4/5/6 continuum.
Changes in student teachers’ epistemological beliefs (n=63) The results indicate a significant shift towards sophisticated beliefs in all the dimensions of epistemological beliefs with large effect sizes. There was a significant correlation between the 2009 final year student teachers’ epistemological beliefs and school experience scores
Partnership, dialogue and discussion is valued and is seen as important by those who participate in it. Initial Teacher Education can make a difference. The student exiting from a course of ITE is different from the student who entered. The nature of current partnership models tends to exclude the vast majority of practitioners – thus the generation and reflection on new ideas is difficult. General statements:Research and Observations Teacher practitioner research can be a key to empowering teachers and facilitating positive change in school environments. There are a range of views and attitudes in schools and universities that often conflict. External findings from research and “evidence” has little impact on strongly held views – individuals have to be transformed through direct experiences in a supportive and collegiate environment. Induction year and beginning teachers views and attitudes are often compromised by dominant views of teaching as practice and craft and the prevailing culture of the school.
Programme Development Key Developments A central focus very early on (Yrs 1&2) in the programme on learning, reflection on learning and enquiry (D16) Peer working and peer observation. Student (and tutor) participation in other university wide courses in the first two years (D11) Greater partnership links (D15) Research and investigative skills central to all years but more formally developed in years 3 and 4. (D16) No major “block” placements until the 3rd year of the programme. 3rd and 4th years more intensively focussed on implementation of student’s learning in school experience and development of further teaching skills as well as research (D16). Introduction of MSc Enhanced Professional Practice, building a continuum from undergraduate studies. (D10, D44)
Partnership Partnership Unit an organisational and administrative unit Partnership Forum and Promoting Partnership Team involved in liaison and communication between the School of Education and the local authorities. meets four times a year and the agenda switches between an ITE focus and a CPD focus. PPT working forum focussing on emerging issues – some driven by STNE data. Partnership Group formed from the pilot Associated Schools Group, involved in development of the B.Edprogramme.
Partnership Dialogue and Discussion “I didn’t really think I was best placed to do it but given the changes ..the way they are doing it… the social constructivist approach actually fits into the way a lot of community education goes about doing its business. So I was actually quite encouraged by it and quite excited about it and came back to the community shouting about it”. (G)
But... Partnership as currently conceived is representational... So.. What happens when there is not an alignment between the thinking that goes into the programme and the thinking that takes place in the classroom or school?
Pragmatic vs Reflective Students are not gaining enough hands on practical experience. They have ideal theories of school life but do not appreciate how much dedication, planning, preparing etc it takes to run an efficient classroom as they have not had to plan more than one lesson per week. (Quest.Yr2. Teacher18) Disappointment school is such a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how to teach but the course had not prepared them for teaching a whole class and so much more could have been done. (Quest.Yr2. Teacher31) Pragmatic I enjoyed working with a pair of students felt that they could support one another and liked the fact they had to peer assess each other having students also makes me evaluate my own practice more carefully (Quest.Yr2. Teacher22) “It has made me reflect on my own practice especially with regard to relationships within the class, management strategies and the range of lesson styles I employ” (Quest.Yr2. Teacher1) Reflective “allows for self reflection and further development of explaining the how and why behind what you do every day its been nice to see the students growing and increasing in confidence” (Quest.Yr2. Teacher5) Positive. They are able to focus on the whole child. More able to discuss reality, discussed in school. The negative would have to do with that it needs a lot of selling to teachers. (Interview Yr1 Teacher W.)
Mentoring: Scrutiny vs Dialogue “Occasionally I think it breaks down because the teacher’s expectations are of the old system and they’re expecting the student to simply come out and model what they’re doing exactly as they’re doing it and keep their file in exactly the way they expect and et cetera.” (Tutor 2) “There are a lot of times when the University tutor would say one thing and your supporter teacher would say another, especially when it comes to things like paperwork, folder work. Your school would take the stance that it’s not that important, it’s more important about your classroom and you developing yourself as teacher, whereas, University had more of an emphasis on the paperwork.” (B.Ed. 4 Student Teacher 1) Scrutiny “The children would benefit from two adults, maybe with different skills. I might be artistic, she might be musical, depending what your special skills are.” (Supporter Teacher 4) “I think if you work together and collaborated, I think it would benefit the children because they’d get experience from both sides and they’d be able to concentrate a bit more on helping the children.” (B.Ed. 4 Student Teacher 1) Dialogue My mentor went on training course during probation year (as did teacher regent) maybe in a way that was good because we were learning together ( FRT1)
Research and evidence. “I just learnt more about how I can use kids to help me do my job better (…) I want to get kids coming to departmental meetings and I want to be... they’re evaluating all their courses this year.” (Teacher 2, int.) “Just by asking the kids what they want to learn and how they learn…it focuses your attention more on them and I think that that’s important.” (Teacher 2, int.) Pupil voice Research with, rather than research on... “Where you got together and you talked about what everybody was doing; you heard other people’s ideas.” (Teacher 4, int.) Communities “I think the thing that you get the most from was the group sessions that we had, where we shared each other’s projects.” (Teacher 8, int.) “I think the nature of the school I was in, there were a lot of people that were following programmes at universities and some of them were in chartered teacher programmes and also very, very keen to see other people try things.” (Teacher 8, int.)
Partnership requires Collaboration Collaborative –learning Student, teacher, tutor and pupil learning together Collaborative mentoring Student, teacher, tutor and pupil learning together Collaborative-enquiry Student, teacher, tutor and pupil learning together
Knowledge comes from community. “contrasts between the kind of description a story teller would give (“thick description”) and the kind of description one often gets from science and [experts] (“thin description”)” (Jasanoff, 2011) .
If change is to be promoted, this equates to a change of conceptions of knowledge and learning that involve self-transformation in dialogical and collaborative practices with others... ... at all levels Within the context of the Teacher Education program: students’ values and beliefs formulated as part of learning contexts; Within the classroom context; Between the university and the schools; Amongst all stakeholders - including children!
Ongoing Developments: Aberdeen Placement Partnership Project – Scottish Government Funded project developing insights into some of the aspects considered. Donaldson review “summit” meeting involving Directors of Education and other representatives from 9 L.A.s around the North and North-East + GTCS, EIS, Scot.Gov. University -
References Jasanoff, Sheila (2011) Incalculable Goods: Reimagining Our Technological Future. Keynote address for the Biennale Democrazia, 16 aprile 2011, Turin)