Presentation on theme: "Learning to teach An examination of beginning teacher learning during ITE and induction Linda Haggarty and Keith Postlethwaite with Jean Ellins and Kim."— Presentation transcript:
Learning to teach An examination of beginning teacher learning during ITE and induction Linda Haggarty and Keith Postlethwaite with Jean Ellins and Kim Diment UCET 2009
We are grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for their financial support of this research (Grant number: F/00 144/AX). Further details of the project are available at
Does Britain need a cadre of skilled technicians to deliver the school National Curriculum programmes of study in an effective and efficient way? … Or does Britain need a profession of imaginative, creative teachers whose informed professional judgement leads to intelligent action? (Richards, Harding, and Webb 1997 p6) What is teacher education for? Does Britain need a cadre of skilled technicians to deliver the school National Curriculum programmes of study in an effective and efficient way? … Or does Britain need a profession of imaginative, creative teachers whose informed professional judgement leads to intelligent action? (Richards, Harding, and Webb 1997 p6)
What we do is pretty good… I knew little about the cycle of planning, monitoring, assessment (all the behind the scenes stuff). Doing the course has given me a huge respect for the profession and the individuals that practise it. Thus, it has also given me a sense of pride in what I do, especially given the many challenges. I find the education literature (e.g. journal literature) fascinating and I have started to link theoretical ideas into what happens in my classroom.
Synthesis of literature: factors that affect teacher learning The subject: the identity, actual and designated of the learner; The context: resource, policies, expectations; The purpose: the motive of the enterprise; Support for learning: the people, the processes, the tools available; Learning across contexts: restricted and expansive learning environments, contestation;
Possible role for Activity Theory Activity is at the centre of the analysis Aspects of the system (eg what the subject brings to bear, what tools are available or created, how the motive is developed) are all malleable in light of the activities undertaken The importance of systemic change The issue of boundary crossing
The two phases of the project Initial teacher education Induction
Methodology ITE Interpretive Research questions –what is the nature of student teachers thinking at the end of their training programme? –how did the student teachers learn to think about teaching in these ways? Sample Questionnaire
Factors affecting student teachers learning about teaching Relevant factor – and kind of statement most often made Total no. of responses Subject – the impact of their personal characteristics 31 Context – school policy 1 Purpose 0 Support for learning – support from teachers in school 43 Learning across contexts – learning in the university and school 32
Student characteristics Student teachers strengths were often related to characteristics that they brought with them to their ITE programme: –I am positive, enthusiastic, organized and creative: I was born like this! My family is like this!
The power of synergy Planning: (Ive) always been quite organized, but (have been) shown by my PST that planning is the key Establishing and developing positive relationships with pupils is a skill I brought into teaching, but it has been extended and developed by observation of experienced teachers in classrooms and form rooms.
The problem of contrasts… No one mentioned the importance of confronting aspects of self that might have worked in the past but which are not helpful as a teacher What can we do to help when what a student brings to the course is not helpful to them in their role as teacher?
At the end of ITE Student teachers were aware of theoretical ideas as a basis for things they did well and for improving education generally… …but not for making decisions in class or helping to develop areas in which they felt weak
Relevant tools? Framework for dialogue about teaching Agendas
Also… It seemed that ideas from university were being filtered by the current discourse of the school – only ideas that fitted were used Filtering as a process seems to match fitting in as a goal
Some examples of filtering … The (course) helped me develop a structure for lesson planning that was then enhanced by my mentor in my first school placement At uni I was introduced to the idea of AFL. … used some of the plenary and starter ideas suggested by various teachers tailored to the learning objectives in each class. No statement described learning emerging from a juxtaposition of differing ideas from two or more contexts.
Reflections Perhaps inevitable – perhaps even desirable Synergy Its a continuum with induction and CPD so things such as theory can be addressed later. Exploring alternatives to understand current practice And there should be openness to alternatives – especially if roles or context change So change of school (and move to first post) may be key points where the PST (induction mentor) can keep open the basis for students future professional development
Next steps? Perhaps beginning teachers need to be fitting in to a learning school.
Conversations about ITE
Methodology - Induction Interpretive Research questions How does induction affect teachers thinking, and how does this developing thinking relate to teachers practice? Sample Methods: Questionnaire, NQT interview, mentor interview, stimulated recall related to an observed lesson, documents related to school
Findings from the study: Behaviour management concerns The influence of behaviour management concerns on pedagogical decisions made about teaching A belief that the induction year would be tough and behaviour management difficulties inevitable Little classroom support once problems had been resolved Limited quality of the support The need to fit in, and the limitations of fitting in
Findings from the study: Behaviour management concerns What was hardest was getting them to be doing what I want them to be doing in the classroom independent school (Beth) I worry about the behaviour management thing, where people say: well if you go to another inner city school, you cant just go in (doing this), because theyll just shout back, but here, if they shout back then theyre out of school for a day... Academy with very strong BM system (James)
Findings from the study: The influence of behaviour management concerns on pedagogical decisions made about teaching If their behaviour is good, or... theyre listening then I will more generally let them take a more active part. (Lesley) I am disinclined to spend time on more adventurous lessons that might not work with lower sets (Frank)
Findings from the study: A belief that the induction year would be tough and behaviour management difficulties inevitable … its an incredibly stressful year, the workload is a big jolt from last year, …it is a culture shock, so I think thats important to manage. (Wendys induction mentor) …its incredibly daunting… (Pauls induction mentor)
Findings from the study: Little classroom support once problems had been resolved So the idea is I try to step away as the year goes on, so to start with your support and then as you go on I want my NQTs to feel that theyre coping on their own, but the supports there if its needed. (Wendys induction mentor)
Findings from the study: Limited quality of the support I think if youre the right personality youll be a great teacher. And if youre the wrong personality youre always going to struggle... tragically thats one of those things that just comes with experience, its not something you can teach an NQT in the first year. (Colins induction mentor)
Findings from the study: The need to fit in, and the limitations of fitting in Induction is about welcoming a new member of staff into the school and explaining how it works. It is also about making them feel comfortable as a teacher because it is a very stressful year (Wendys mentor) The purpose is to make your NQT feel welcome, you know, its incredibly daunting (Pauls mentor)
Issues to investigate further Is the emphasis on behaviour management as widespread and are its effects as limiting as they seem; what is the detailed nature of the NQT/mentor dialogue and does the support of induction mentors extend to pedagogical support as well as emotional support; does the goal of fitting in with the practices of the school play a large part in NQTs learning and as part of this do NQTs filter their thinking so that ideas that contrast with current practice in their school are lost; does involvement in a learning school change the way in which an NQT develops during the induction year?
Behaviour management Rachel I feel that behaviour has a big impact and dominates a lot of my decisions at the moment. I feel it is preventing me from developing my teaching (Rachel) Wendy Teachers working with Wendy did not seem to identify behaviour management as a major issue in her teaching. However, despite the settled environment in which she worked, Wendy herself expected to have problems Behaviour management tactics is always a biggy isnt it? She focused on trying to look happy in the classroom (because the children were picking up on her looking stressed), emphasising hands up rather than calling out, using the merits and stickers, and trying to get everyone involved in the lesson. As she pointed out this deflected attention from trying lots of more complicated things such as peer assessment
Induction programmes and mentoring The impressive induction programme provided a very clear plan: everybody knew what was going to happen and when, when the deadlines were and what needed to be done and its incredibly well organised. (mentor) Having this clear structure and thereby knowing what you have to do and when makes it very easy as both a mentor or a new teacher to know that, if I can just keep this moving, then everythings going to be fine. (mentor)
The NQT/mentor dialogue Its value Its purpose Building on PGCE and using the CEDP Withdrawing support as the year progresses Models of teacher learning Stress, culture shock, limited aspirations, personality Experience, gate keeping Passing and learning Mentoring for behaviour management
Filtering as a process and fitting in as an object in NQT learning One of his own main aims for the following year is just to work out some really organised system for recording stuff about pupils, whos handed in homework. He says not only is this useful for writing reports, but alsobecause you can use discipline more effectively, as I cant punish pupils for not doing things if I dont really know. – a useful but fairly limited objective for a successful NQT in an ambitious school.
The impact of involvement in a learning school on an NQT Rachel worked with the AST to develop ways in which pupils could be helped to learn better using the principles of Building Learning Power. This was something that I started to read about and became interested in during my PGCE year but have only felt able to start to develop this year. She would value continued links to the University or outside assistance in order to discuss theory or ideas more during her NQT year (Rachel) This is exactly the kind of thing that Ive been interested in and thats developing the learning and the thinking skills and developing them (pupils) as learners so that they can think for themselves. (Rachel)
Conversations about induction
Learning to Teach What should we fit in to? A Learning School Is this realistic? The School as a Centre of Enquiry/Streams for the Future? Lawrence Stenhouse Action Research partnerships IT-INSET