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Training of teachers needs radical transformation

Research areas

New research on teacher training suggests that existing provision within the Higher Education sector needs to undergo a radical transformation.

The authors of a new study say that changes are needed in order to better prepare teachers and build the capacity for high-impact practice-based research within university departments of Education.

Professor Viv Ellis, head of the Department of Education at Brunel University London and Jane McNicholl, Associate Professor of Science Education, University of Oxford, authors of Transforming Teacher Education: Reconfiguring the Academic Work, argue that the design of initial teacher training courses needs to be reviewed and the notion of ‘partnerships’ with schools reconfigured.

The current arrangements have been in place since 1992.

“University departments of Education are needed in order to provide enough teachers to staff our schools. But the work of the teacher trainers within those departments needs to be transformed.

“This is in order to maximise their impact on the education of young people and to help schools develop themselves. We are arguing for the untapped potential of universities working in different ways with the profession,” said Viv Ellis.

Coinciding with the publication of the government’s own review of initial teacher education in England, led by Sir Andrew Carter, Ellis and McNicholl show how the former teachers who become teacher trainers within the university sector are not being developed as academics.

These teacher-trainers, they say, are not having the impact on the improvement of practice in schools that they might, nor does their work with schools contribute to the development of teaching as a profession.

Transforming Teacher Education comes in the wake of the Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training, by Sir Andrew Carter OBE (January 2015). It argues that the content of current Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) qualifications needs to be reviewed. The Government response to the Carter review, published by the Department of Education, supports these recommendations.

Transforming Teacher Education: Reconfiguring the Academic Work by Viv Ellis and Jane McNicholl is published by Bloomsbury Academic (£24.99)