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Professor Diana Burton Pro Vice Chancellor Liverpool John Moores University UCET/HMI Symposium: Closing the achievement gap and improving the life chances.

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Presentation on theme: "Professor Diana Burton Pro Vice Chancellor Liverpool John Moores University UCET/HMI Symposium: Closing the achievement gap and improving the life chances."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professor Diana Burton Pro Vice Chancellor Liverpool John Moores University UCET/HMI Symposium: Closing the achievement gap and improving the life chances of all young people 24 th March 2009 The Role of Teacher Education in Helping Close the Achievement Gap: Reflections on Current Developments

2 LJMU/DB/RG/ What is the achievement gap? Disparity in performance of different groups in SATs and GCSEs. Strands (2008) work points out the interaction between social class and ethnicity on results.

3 LJMU/DB/RG/ Does a pre-occupation with standardised assessment serve to maintain inequalities in achievement? Situational factors such as poverty or poor schooling, and dispositional factors such as cultural differences, language and gender have all been associated with inequality in assessment contexts (Gardner, Holmes & Leitch, 2009). Well worn cycle of performing badly leads to feeling valueless (Skeggs, 2004) with assessment scores reinforcing that failure (Reay, 2006) leading to teachers setting low- level work.

4 LJMU/DB/RG/ Government approaches striving for social justice Every Child Matters – UK No Child Left Behind – US No Child Left Behind – US Both have policy challenges (Williams, 2004; Gay, 2007). Early intervention, better prevention and accountability can sit uneasily with responding to disadvantaged pupils cultural and social needs. Pressure to teach to the test is particularly detrimental to these pupils.

5 LJMU/DB/RG/ Deficit models ride again! The English Education Priority areas and US HeadStart programmes of the 1970s all assumed a deficit model of achievement. We see this again with Fresh Start schools, Special Measures, Academies, National Challenge – all involve resource redistribution and organisational restructure in an attempt to rescue pupils rather than address the societal, political and economic roots of their disadvantage.

6 LJMU/DB/RG/ Teachers as Agents of Change Technical prowess of teachers has improved through focus on professional standards. We now need teachers and children service professionals to work together to change the effects of socio-economic disadvantage. First they have to acknowledge their own success as products of a generally middle class education system, taking practical account of diversity and promote equality and inclusion in their teaching' (TDA, 2007, September, p.11).

7 LJMU/DB/RG/ Personalisation – Panacea or Smokescreen? Well intentioned but fraught with difficulties – ambiguity of meaning, requires in depth knowledge of each learner, very resource intensive, potentially isolating if technological solutions used. Jackson and Serf (2008) found 140 mentors could not clearly convey to student teachers how personalisation could be achieved.

8 LJMU/DB/RG/ Is the Masters in Teaching and Learning the answer? This new qualification will eventually be available to all NVQs in an attempt to make teaching an all-matters profession. It will give teachers the opportunity to develop their professional skills and specialist expertise in the workplace with the support of a trained in-school coach as well as a tutor from a higher education institution. The benefit for schools will be the impact on pupil outcomes and the opportunity to enhance the culture of professional learning in the workplace. (TDA, 2008).

9 LJMU/DB/RG/ Ensuring improved teacher quality Through the programme design, coverage, delivery and assessment, the MTL should enable the teacher to: … be supported in their learning … develop a learning mindset becoming a lifelong learner … collaboratively learn from and with others Improving outcomes for all children through improved teacher quality

10 LJMU/DB/RG/ The Aims of MTL The aim of the MTL is to raise standards, narrow the achievement gap and give children better life chances and it is proposed that Further improving the quality of teaching and learning is key to our ability to do this. The TDA state that The MTL will enable participating teachers to become consistently highly effective so that all children and young people realise their potential, regardless of their age, abilities or background.

11 LJMU/DB/RG/ MTL Content Areas (1) Teaching and learning and Assessment for learning; (2) Subject knowledge for teaching and Curriculum and curriculum development; (3) How young people develop and learn and management of their behaviour and inclusion; (4) Leadership and management and Working with others. To facilitate teachers understanding of the factors that face the children and young people they teach and how these might impact on each pupils potential for academic achievement with an aim of creating a positive, safe and effective learning environment.

12 LJMU/DB/RG/ MTLs focus on preparing teachers for cultural diversity MTL includes both understanding the social and cultural reasons why some children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and from black and minority ethnic groups may have low prior attainment or come to school unprepared to learn and a range of inclusive and personalised teaching, learning and assessment strategies to remove barriers to learning and enable all children and young people to make good progress.

13 LJMU/DB/RG/ Accessibility of Learning MTL states that teachers must learn to teach in a culturally and socially responsive manner – to personalise their teaching Teacher educators need to encourage questioning of personalisation and why its important if teachers are to adopt the approach. Teachers need to believe in its efficacy as an approach to learning and in their self-efficacy to achieve it.

14 LJMU/DB/RG/ MTL - A transformation in teacher education Existing masters degrees allow transfer of 60 (or more) M-level credits from PGCE MTL only allows transfer of 30 M-level credits Could undermine status of PGCE as an academic postgraduate qualification Inevitable change in structure of PGCE –New and existing teachers hold qualifications of same title but with different content and structure –TDA argue that reduced pressure of M-level work on PGCE will allow more time to grasp fundamental teaching skills

15 LJMU/DB/RG/ Implications for existing masters with PPD provision Near certain termination of funding for existing education masters leaving MTL exclusive Standardisation of post-qualification teacher education – no choice A government strategy to wrest further control from teachers and HEIs who provide training? HEIs that already run successful courses have to construct and validate the MTL

16 LJMU/DB/RG/ Standardisation or Personalisation? Will needs of individual teachers be met? Non-core modules can be used to meet teachers specific needs Flexibility dependent on number of NQTs enrolled, diversity of their needs and availability of tutors and coaches

17 LJMU/DB/RG/ Why should the MTL work? Prolonged CPD provides opportunity to better integrate theory into practice (Robinson & Sebba, 2005) Positive impact of PPD on teachers and pupils (TDA, March, 2007) Paradoxical as PPD being replaced with MTL Improved pupil performance linked with teachers ability to self-reflect Self-reflection key to becoming a quality teacher (Hargreaves, 1998; Malm, 2004/2009)

18 LJMU/DB/RG/ Timing and Availability Available to NQTs as soon as they start their first post Cement teaching knowledge early on vs. too much too soon Benefits of a delayed start –Allowing NQTs time to settle in their new post may reduce pressure and allow optimal gain from what MTL has to offer –Number of bureacratic issues with MTL including funding and recruiting and training coaches – later start would allow more time to resolve these

19 LJMU/DB/RG/ Leaving existing teachers behind Existing teachers who do not already have a masters may miss out acquiring one TDA say no penalisation for not having MTL but in practice not being offered the MTL may disadvantage existing teachers How will TDA address this social justice issue? –Extending safeguards for PPD funding? –Making MTL available to existing teachers?

20 LJMU/DB/RG/ MTL: Academic vs. Applied Practice-based emphasis may compromise perceived credibility of course Major challenge of HEIs is to design programmes that meet QAA M level requirements Improve standards in schools Increase appeal to high calibre candidates Make teaching a high status profession by introducing MTL

21 LJMU/DB/RG/ A missed opportunity for research? Action research can have benefits for self- reflection, attitude change and teaching (e.g., Flecknoe, 2000) MTL proposes that it will enable teachers to develop an open and questioning mindset but does not include any core research modules MTL overlooks opportunity for teachers to conduct action research in dedicated time Action research encourages self-direction and self-criticism (Bartlett & Burton, 2006) and could be promoted and facilitated by providers as part of non-core modules

22 LJMU/DB/RG/ Teacher resistance to change Challenging teachers beliefs regarding ethnicity, social class and gender issues may lead to responses of resistance (Cockrell et al., 1999; Mueller & OConnor, 2007) Ignorance of disadvantage creates inconsistency between teacher beliefs and the promotion of diversity necessary for disadvantaged pupils to achieve Process of self-reflection will be difficult and will require the faith of teachers that change is necessary and possible

23 LJMU/DB/RG/ A need for critical consciousness Teachers need to question privilege and oppression in relation to their own identity Increasing pupil diversity met with uniform teaching force often White and middle-class (Milner, 2006) Experience in different cultural settings can be beneficial if there is time to reflect – something that could be facilitated within the MTL? Teacher educators need to encourage critical consciousness without attributing blame

24 LJMU/DB/RG/ Finally, some thoughts from the TDA marketing department We have done research with heads, NQTs and coaches (no details of who, how many or methods!) in order to find the buttons to press so that people will behave in the ways we want them to. We will help you determine what to de dupe (which apparently means get rid of duplication of materials/messages). A new word for our lexicon perhaps?! We will provide collateral for you to draw down from our website – no, this is not money or gold, its something much more valuable – yes, marketing materials! I would have thought all providers will want to pass on our collateral

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