The aim for Science became to research with some of those schools ways of turning joint placements, where two student teachers in the same department have two separate teaching timetables, into paired placements, where at least some of the lessons are taught collaboratively (the ‘Y’-shaped model).
‘ He was full of ideas…but so, well, disorganised…to start with it drove me mad but when we were open about it things got much better…I suppose we kind of complemented each other…I’m sure my lessons became much more varied and interesting through his ideas…I also think I helped him to organise his lesson plans better, he told me that anyway…early on he kept running out of time…just unrealistic really…when we got to know each other better we could say these things…I learnt many different strategies from him, more than my tutor…or mentor…’
‘ She was brilliant…I found it really hard at first…I just wanted to have a go…I mean, I did think you needed to plan but, well, why write it all down?… I always ran out of time at the beginning, year 7 was a nightmare…but sharing that class helped so much…I had to be planned so we could work together…we shared ideas…I think that helped us both…I like to get kids involved, you know, role play and silly, well, models I suppose…it all takes time, but I know now that good planning can make it happen…she was just so, ‘structured’ in her thinking…but maybe too controlling…I think I helped her loosen-up a bit…’
‘ we took it in turns to start with, they were terrible. They just wouldn’t listen…I think us both having a mare helped in a way cos we had to stop and think…finally we spoke to our mentor and decided to try some team teaching…sometimes this was just one of us dealing with the usual suspects but we also sometimes split the lesson and the group…I think it was working like this that got them more settled…we also gave them more attention…when we gave them a choice of ways of learning it went really well…we tried out things, you know those ones we looked at last term at uni and we got some good ideas from a school session too…sometimes they worked…it was the variety that really helped though…I think we both got lots better with managing things…’
‘ they were my worst group but it was OK with us being in it together…at least it wasn’t just me who had a problem…we had support [at the school] but they just seemed to be able to do it, experience I suppose…the best bit was splitting the group, we could do so much more…I think we got to know them better and how to react…it made us organise better…they tried to take advantage at the start but we put a stop to that! …it was good to find out, when she was away near the end, that they were still better with me on my own…I must have learnt something…’
Science colleagues from the Graduate School and myself as MFL tutor have recently submitted another bid to the TDA for funding 2009/10 for paired placements in Schools facing Challenging Circumstances.
On the basis of the project described above, we are confident that collaborative work by trainees has benefits for the trainee, the mentor, and also for the pupils
We would hypothesise that these benefits will inevitably impact favourably upon school improvement and longer-term pupil outcomes.
‘ Collaboration and partnership are a way of life. People work together. There is a consistent approach which is supportive. People are not left to sink or swim. People are available to each other. Team teaching, mentoring, peer coaching, joint planning and mutual observation and feedback are a normal part of the everyday life of the school.’
‘ A profile of change’, MacBeath and Stoll in Improving School Effectiveness, MacBeath and Mortimer, 2001