Tuesday, 10 March 2009

How much training do teachers need?

The teaching unions have reacted with predictable fury to the announcement that some graduate career changers might be able to gain a teaching qualification within six months instead of the year currently expected on the Graduate Teaching Programme. But they were never all that keen on the GTP in the first place, with its classroom-based alternative to traditional teacher training, whereas headteachers welcomed the real experience it offered. One in five teachers now gains a GTP qualification.

The issue is surely what is learnt rather than how long is spent doing it. There is no good reason why this shouldn't take six months for an able and willing learner.

There is no single route to teacher training any more, and that is a good thing. However, a programme like this will only real work well if it is combined with the sort of experience that happens in Finland, where teachers' professional development is about more than in-service training days. Teachers routinely work for Masters degrees and Doctorates by researching issues that matter in their schools and developing solutions to real problems. This is something that the promised Masters in Teaching and Learning has the potential to offer here.

It is a long way from the traditional theoretical musings which characterised too many of our university education departments in the past.

2 comments:

Richard T said...

Whilst I appreciate your 'bias' toward education, isn't it rather a pity that there is no constructive effort to seek to encourage training as social workers - particularly those dealing with children and families?

e said...

Great teachers are, often, also social workers in a way, constructively influential with parents and 'parents to school children' -it is part and parcel of teaching for a great teacher http://www.geocities.com/teachertoteachers