Session 106: Thoughts about changes to Initial Teacher Training

[pullquote](@CanonsOPP) – 12/07/2012 20:56
If ever we need to remember that we are about lifelong learning it’s about how we train the next generation of ourselves.[/pullquote] This tweet was made towards the end of the hour but I think sums up well why the debate and chat was so fast moving and passionate. Primary, Secondary, FE, HE, ITTs, GTPs, NQTs, PGCEs were all represented during the course of the evening.

There seemed to be a large group in favour of the proposals to have schools take more of lead role in ITT. As expected there was also vociferous opposition. Some of the key tweets that highlighted this aspect of the debate are given below:

(@ICTwitz) 12/07/2012 20:02
No. Teachers and leaders don’t have the means or time. Partnerships required with Universities, IMHO

(@Educationchat) 12/07/2012 20:21
I learned more in my first half-term of teaching then my whole PGCE year. Learning on the job, in the classroom is way forward

(@mrdebarton) 12/07/2012 20:29
Gove vision for school led ITE is correct. Far more effective than Uni led ITE. GTP has the classroom rigour some PGCE lacks

The debate then moved on to the role that teachers play as mentors to trainees. This part of the discussion brought up some of the most interesting comments about the importance of good professional relationships between schools, mentors and trainees. Some of the tweets highlighted how poor some mentors can be and the effect this can have on staff joining the profession.

@JanP65) 12/07/2012 20:04
If the mentor is good. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. My experience some people are told to mentor not chosen.

(@Gwenelope) 12/07/2012 20:29
Quality of mentors can make a huge difference. Never saw my first 1 teach, wrote instructions on WB, sat down at desk and marked

(@JanP65) 12/07/2012 20:36
Are all teachers qualified to be mentors? Skilled to properly support students. This needs to be considered if the move happens

(@urban_teacher) 12/07/2012 20:37
Initial teachers Training depends on the school and mentor. The best practices is when schools are positive and provide support

(@ePaceonline) 12/07/2012 20:40
it shouldn’t all be about what we can teach trainees, I think we can learn a lot from them too.

There was a fierce sub-debate about the value/or not of grading trainees using OFSTED criteria. It was certainly not going to be solved in the hour and there were strong arguments on both sides.

The session ended with a plea from NQTs and new trainees for practical tips that can help them develop. I was pleased that many contributors heeded this call and were able to offer the following:

(@CanonsOPP) 12/07/2012 20:36
Coaching, coaching, coaching!!! Reflection upon reflection


ensure your pgce students see other subjects and get to follow a pupil for a day


(@Monty_Math) 12/07/2012 20:55
A plea to all trainees – worry about how the chn are doing not yr own performance – we need to get away from obsess with grading!

(@LeighAlmey) 12/07/2012 20:57
Explicit guidance on how to observe lessons – let the student give feedback to their mentor

(@shaun_allison) 12/07/2012 20:58
Coaching, 15 minute forums, teachmeets, peer observations, school visits, action research, co-construction with students

(@DidgeH) 12/07/2012 20:58
Trainees – watch as much teaching as you can and store up the best of what you see so that you can use it in your own way

There were still many unanswered questions. All participants argued that both theory and hands on experience were a vital part of training. Many think the new measures will be beneficial as trainees will get more time in schools. Others worry that this will mean less time to reflect and that theory will be marginalised. We’ll have to wait and see!

Final Thoughts/Top Tweet

There were so many great contributions it is hard to pick one but this one felt rather pertinent

(@MiltonSchwarz) 12/07/2012 20:42
when interviewed for PGCE I was asked “why do you want to teach”? Wasn’t asked that again for about 6 years…

Neil McKain is Head of RS and Philosophy at John Hampden Grammar School in High Wycombe. He is a twitter convert and is inspired by how technology and social media can enhance learning and continuing professional development. He leads on a school wide initiative called The Learning Challenge which aims to help students become better, and more independent, learners.

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1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately for those tweeting that school-based ITE is best, this is not supported by any evidence. However there is considerable evidence to the contrary…

    The countries which have ITE firmly based in universities are also the countries which have the best education systems and the highest scores on PISA; Finland has 6 years university-based teacher training, and South Korea 2 and a half. France has just moved from a school-based model to a university-based model because the school-based model was not delivering high enough quality teachers.

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