Research in Teacher Education - Volume 2 No 2 October 2012
Welcome to our fourth edition of this periodical and the first under its new name Research in Teacher Education. This name change recognises the periodical's rapid expansion of its national and international audience since its inception in April 2011. The success of the print and online versions of the publication to date, coupled with significant changes taking place in teacher education, means that we feel the time has come to draw on the wider expertise on offer from the School of Education and Communities. In future editions, we will draw on colleagues from within the primary, secondary and post-compulsory sectors of teacher education and continue to provoke, stimulate and extend discussions related to the training and education of all teachers.
Changes taking place in this and forthcoming issues include an expansion of the number of articles in each edition to include contributions from doctoral students, and the development of an international advisory board. We also welcome Alison Baker who joins the editorial team as our new book reviews editor. The online version of our periodical continues to thrive and expand in terms of readership. During July and August of this year, the periodical received almost 800 page views online and has attracted approximately 100 new visitors to the site. This is in addition to our already established World Wide Web audience. As well as ever-increasing digital access from within the United Kingdom, the journal is developing an international presence. Interested readers from many European countries are visiting the website. People from as far afield as the United States, Australia, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Philippines are also reading and accessing the online journal's articles and book reviews. In addition to this promising international interest, a Wikipedia page has been established. Simply perform a web or Wikipedia search for 'Research in Teacher Education' to find, view and read the periodical. Furthermore, we are beginning to embrace the world of social media and have established a Twitter account for the journal. If you are a Twitter user and wish to follow the journal for article updates and news then please consider following @UEL_RITE.
We begin this fourth issue with an article by David Morris examining ICT and educational policy in the UK. David presents findings from empirical research he carried out for the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) shortly prior to its demise in 2010. Chris Dalladay draws on some of his doctoral research and explores what secondary music teachers in England (specifically east London) and student teachers on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses believe to be important competencies in the development of the young musician and how far this translates into practice in the classroom. In her first article for this periodical, Jean Murray examines three specific areas of teacher education work, analysing how and why the practices and discourses of performativity have impacted disproportionately hard. Her particular focus is on teacher educators in England, working in a teacher education regime which now has few disciplinary foundations and often prioritises training rather than education for student teachers. Andrew Read's article explores good practice for pupils with English as an additional language. In Andrew’s study, points of congruence between student teacher responses and 'good practice' are identified. Where evidence of this congruence is lacking, implications for student teachers and for programme design are identified. Elicia Lewis' exploratory article focuses on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and documents the author's attempt to locate and negotiate a hybrid space where a cohort of religious education (RE) student teachers' experiences can be mediated, and the gap between theory and practice reduced. A new regular feature of the periodical is the publication of some of our doctoral students' research findings. Our first offering comes from Clara Rubiano whose article discusses the 'case study approach' as a research strategy that may facilitate the process of knowledge construction towards teaching for social justice in Colombian teacher education. Clara considers the case study paradox as a way to engage teacher educators in searching for new ways of seeing and new forms of understanding the utopia of social justice in a country that struggles against adversity.
Our guest writer for this fourth issue is Jim O'Brien, Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Professional Learning at the Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh. Jim is the Co-Managing Editor of the Professional Development in Education journal. His recent books include Coaching and mentoring: developing teachers and leaders (with Christine Forde), The social agenda of the school (with Gale MacLeod) (Dunedin, 2009) and School leadership (2nd edition) (with Danny Murphy and Janet Draper) (Dunedin, 2008). Jim has written numerous articles and book chapters on associated themes. His article for RiTE critically reflects on current developments in teacher education in Scotland.
This number’s book reviews from the secondary team are provided by Paul Betts, John Macklin and Andrew Read. Our guest book reviewer is Paul Clifford. Paul is currently the Digital Programmes Manager at the Museum of London, developing, delivering and evaluating innovative blended learning sessions for a range of different audiences including primary-aged school children, families and SEN clients.
As always we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue of the periodical.
It is with great pleasure then that we announce Professor Ian Menter as our guest writer for the next (April 2013) edition of RiTE.
Gerry Czerniawski and David Wells (2012) 'Editorial' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(No. 2), 1-2.
ICT and Educational Policy in the UK: Are We on the Way Towards E-Maturity Or on the Road To Digital Disaster?
Despite successive government training initiatives, policies and extensive funding over the last 15 years, little has been done to effectively tackle the disparity of ICT skills and the training of the UK teaching workforce. The current Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, is committed to an agenda of promoting computer science in schools which overshadows previous governmental initiatives aimed at tackling teachers' digital literacy and computing skills. There, therefore, needs to be consideration not just of how to bolt and weld computer science into the curriculum, but also how to ensure that teachers remain equipped to teach pupils fundamental ICT skills.
Keywords: computing; digital literacy; ICT; teachers; education
David Morris (2012) 'ICT and educational policy in the UK: are we on the way towards e-maturity or on the road to digital disaster?' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2 (2), 3-8.
Musicianship in Education: Ideology and Practice
Everyone is musical and has the potential to be a musician (Mills, 2005; Welch, 2008). Are secondary school teachers simply acquainting young people with a selection of musical experiences or do they seek to plan a curriculum which will enable developing musicians? This paper outlines a part of ongoing doctoral studies and reports on some of the initial data exploring the musical competencies considered to be central to the development of musicians and how far, in actuality, these competencies are central to school musical activities. It describes sorting activities (ranking musical competencies) undertaken by the participants (n = 34) and the activity evident in a small sample of case-study music lessons.
Keywords: musician; musicianship; competency; biography; ranking
Christopher Dalladay (2012) 'Musicianship in education: ideology and practice ' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(2), 9-18.
Performativity Cultures and their Effects on Teacher Educators’ Work
In this article I want to look at three specific areas of teacher education work, analysing how and why the practices and discourses of performativity have impacted disproportionately hard. These three areas are the 'double whammy' of audit (Murray 2007) which teacher educators face; the particular nature of teacher education pedagogy and partnership practices; and the issue of what research-informed teaching and scholarship/research in the field means. In this article my particular focus is on teacher educators in England, working in a teacher education regime which now has few disciplinary foundations and often prioritises training rather than education for student teachers. This regime is sometimes seen as the 'English exception' and regarded with puzzlement or alarm in other countries. There are then some 'English-specific' factors here, notably the strong regulation by government and ongoing debates about the knowledge base of teacher education as played out in the proposed moves to wholly school-based models of teacher education. But, over and above these factors, the increase in performativity cultures is a global phenomenon which has impacted in some way on all who work in teacher education, wherever their university is located and whatever the national context.
Keywords: Teacher education; teacher educators; performativity cultures
Jean Murray (2012) 'Performativity cultures and their effects on teacher educators' work' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(2), 19-23.
‘Good Practice’ for Pupils with English As An Additional Language: Patterns In Student Teachers’ Thinking
Student teachers construct ideas around how to support the learning of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL), basing these ideas on university- and school-based training, reading, dialogue and reflection. For the purposes of this piece of research, postgraduate student teachers training to teach pupils aged 3-11 were each asked to 'picture' one child with EAL encountered during blocks of school-based training, to categorise this child in terms of English fluency, to suggest the child's specific needs and to identify effective strategies to support pupil progress. Student teachers' responses are analysed to explore whether there are evident patterns in these student teachers' identification of pupils with EAL, and the student teachers' understanding of these pupils' needs. Responses are aligned with current thinking about 'good practice'. Points of congruence between student teacher responses and 'good practice' are identified. Where evidence of this congruence is lacking, implications for student teachers and for programme design are identified.
Keywords: English as an additional language (EAL); EAL pedagogy; effective teaching and learning; activating prior knowledge; advanced bilingual learners; promoting independence
Andrew Read (2012) ''Good practice' for pupils with English as an additional language: patterns in student teachers' thinking’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(2), 24-30.
Locating The Third Space in Initial Teacher Training
Since changes to Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in 1992, school–university partnerships for Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses in the UK have grown closer than ever. Yet, even with lessened hierarchy and increased dialogue, gaps between what is learnt at university and what is experienced at school remain. Taking Bhabha and Zeichner's use of the theoretical concept of 'third space', this exploratory paper documents the author's attempt to locate and negotiate a hybrid space where a cohort of religious education (RE) student teachers' experiences can be mediated, and the gap between theory and practice reduced.
Keywords: third space, partnership, ITE, mentors, university tutor
Elicia Lewis (2012) 'Locating the third space in Initial Teacher Training' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(2), 31-36.
The Case Study Paradox: A Way to Engage Colombian Teacher Educators in Exploring the Utopia of Social Justice
This article discusses the 'case study approach' as a research strategy that may facilitate the process of knowledge construction towards teaching for social justice in Colombian teacher education. It considers the case study paradox as a way to engage teacher educators in searching for new ways of seeing and new forms of understanding the utopia of social justice in a country that struggles against adversity. It also analyses the benefits and limitations of case study as a dialogical strategy that may enable teacher educators to explore their personal constructs towards understanding social justice education in order to inform and transform educational practice in Colombia.
Keywords: Colombian teacher educators; case study approach; social justice; paradox; utopia; dialogic encounters.
Clara Rubiano (2012) 'The case study paradox: a way to engage Colombian teacher educators in exploring the utopia of social justice' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(2), 37-41.
Teacher Education in Scotland: The Donaldson Review and the Early Phases of Teacher Learning
In every edition of Research in Teacher Education, we publish a contribution from a guest writer who has links with the School of Education and Communities. Jim O'Brien is Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Professional Learning at the Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh and Co-Managing Editor of the Professional Development in Education journal. His work is in 'leadership and professional learning' and he has been a member of a number of national development groups associated with teacher professional development and leadership themes such as Teacher Appraisal and Professional Review and Development; the Standard for Headship and Scottish Qualification for Headship (SQH) programme; the Chartered Teacher Standard and Development Programme; and the national CPD Advisory Group on School Leadership, participating in the OECD Thematic Review Improving School Leadership: Scotland. His recent books include Coaching and mentoring: developing teachers and leaders (with Christine Forde), The social agenda of the school (with Gale MacLeod) (Dunedin, 2009) and School leadership (2nd edition) (with Danny Murphy and Janet Draper) (Dunedin, 2008). Jim has written numerous articles and book chapters on associated themes. In this article he critically reflects on current developments in teacher education in Scotland.
Keywords: initial teacher education (ITE); teacher professionalism; teacher educators; Scotland
Jim O'Brien (2012) 'Teacher education in Scotland: the Donaldson Review and the early phases of teacher learning' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(2), 42-47.
Using Museums As An Educational Resource: An Introductory Handbook for Students and Teachers
This is by far the most detailed book I have come across about organising visits to museums and using them as learning tools, resources, inspiration and stimuli. It covers preparation, logistics, legal requirements, risk assessment, time management, follow-ups, long-term strategies and building relationships with museums and cultural institutions and sites.
It provides a large amount of detail on how you can work with buildings, objects, pictorial and documentary material as well as how you can use loan services and online and digital sources.
At the end of his book, Talboys writes, 'This book has only scratched the surface of the subject, introducing you to some of the basics. The rest comes with practice and experience'. I would have to disagree; I found this book very comprehensive and I have worked both as a teacher and a museum educator for many years. I would certainly hope that the level of detail and the myriad of things to think about and plan would not put anybody off visiting museums because they feel they wouldn’t be able to do justice to Mr Talboys.
I would have liked to see more tables and perhaps short lists that could be used as a resource to help people in developing their planning and it would have been useful to use examples and/or case studies from teachers to give a more practical aspect to the book.
The world of museum and cultural learning is developing rapidly, with more places either offering digital devices such as cameras, videos, iPods and tablets or advising and allowing visitors to use their own devices as ways of capturing, consuming, creating, collaborating and communicating their experience. Talboys doesn't address these issues, and the section which deals with online and digital sources is somewhat sparse and could usefully be extended, perhaps in a future edition.
Museums are developing or adopting new learning theories such as blended learning or Philosophy for Children and experimenting with self-organising, student-generated and informal learning methods. I think students and teachers would be interested in how you might use these with collections and cultural sites.
Museums and other cultural institutions are always looking to engage with new audiences. Many adult learning institutions as well as special educational needs (SEN) schools and services, language schools, community groups and special interest groups use cultural places as learning environments. This book doesn't deal with these groups, but perhaps there’s another book that Mr Talboys could write that addresses these learners.
If you are interested in using museums as an educational resource and you work in a school, then this is a detailed and thorough book that will give you more than enough to be able to make your visits a productive, exciting and inspiring learning experience.
Paul Clifford is this month's guest reviewer. Paul is currently the Digital Programmes Manager at the Museum of London, developing, delivering and evaluating innovative blended learning sessions for a range of different audiences including primary-aged school children, families and SEN clients. Paul previously developed blended learning sessions at the British Museum and developed and managed their digital learning facility from 2000. He has been involved with many significant projects including 'Mummy: the inside story', a three-dimensional exploration of a 4,000-year-old mummy, and the National Museums Online Project. Before this Paul worked in formal education, community education and the creative arts field.
Review by (Paul Clifford, Digital Programmes Manager, Museum of London) (2012) 'Using museums as an educational resource: an introductory handbook for students and teachers' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2 (No.2), 48-51.
Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2010
Reviewed by Paul Clifford
Excellence In Coaching: The Industry Guide
This book collects contributions from coaching practitioners covering a wide range of coaching models; the contributors are considered to be experts in their particular fields. It is aimed at existing coaches who may wish to further develop their practice and offers a selection of the most popular coaching models as well as guidance on getting started in coaching.
The driving force for this book as reported by the editor, who is a chartered psychologist, accredited coach and coaching supervisor himself, is the need for a single guide to coaching practice that may assist in bringing current issues together. It is suggested in the foreword that a recently emerging theme in the coaching industry is recognition of the need to collaborate for the benefit and reputation of the industry and its clients rather than maintaining the protective self-interest that has characterised it in the past.
The wide-ranging series of articles in this compilation are undoubtedly set in a business context. The strategies for each of the seven different coaching approaches, which are described in some detail, do not seem to me to immediately lend themselves to the field of teacher education, although some of them could have a place in supporting the staff development and review process within an education faculty. I personally have some, albeit limited, experience of exploring one of the approaches, the GROW model (Goal identification, Review of current reality, Options, Way forward), with a group of secondary headteachers. There was general recognition that the method had currency when applied to staff development in the school situation.
The book is divided into three sections: 'The business of coaching', 'Coaching models and approaches' and 'Coaching issues'. Most chapters have an extensive list of supporting references. The first chapter reports that coaching emerged from the area of sports in the 1960s, transferred to business throughout the 1970s and 1980s and is now accepted as a respected and widely used resource for personal development (p. 9). In the first section, there is a helpful explanation that coaching, while having similarities to mentoring, is not the same thing. A mentor has experience in a particular field and imparts specific knowledge, acting as adviser, counsellor, guide, tutor or teacher. The coach’s role is not to advise but to assist coachees in uncovering their own knowledge and skills and to facilitate coachees to become their own advisers (p. 22).
The coaching models described use behaviourism, cognitive behavioural therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, solution-focused therapy and transpersonal psychology as their guiding principles. The book certainly explores the field of coaching in depth and as such achieves its prime objective of being a single guide to coaching practice. It seems to me to be particularly useful as a reference book; it is not an easy book to read in its entirety for the novice in coaching.
Coaching is about improving performance and it encourages reflection, both individually and within an organisation, and is facilitative. It assumes that the coachee already has the knowledge, skills and commitment to improve. The coach 'draws' these out during the coaching process by listening and questioning the coachee’s answers. Could this process work with trainee teachers who may have the commitment but not necessarily the knowledge and skills, particularly at the start of their training programme?
Reviewed by Paul Betts, University of East London
Edited by Jonathan Passmore
London: Kogan Page, 2010
Reviewed by Paul Betts
Doing Your PGCE at M-Level: A Guide for Students, Edited By Keira Sewell
I came to review this book with three key questions: How can a text aid Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students in navigating the seeming paradox of demonstrating knowledge, understanding and applying this understanding in a practical context, therefore meeting strict Qualified Teacher Status criteria against a key element of any master's level qualification criticality? Does the book contextualise changes in education? And lastly, would this develop the skills and competencies required for successful completion of a master’s degree?
M-level PGCE is now firmly established within the initial teacher education (ITE) sector. This engagement with master's level study is valuable in terms of enhanced learning and skills acquisition alongside the fact that a PGCE at M-level is worth 60 credits and is equal to one-third of a master's degree. This can be a considerable inducement to further study and a potential saving on the cost of a master's degree. A good feature of this work is that it explains inaccessible and clear language what working at master's level is, the benefit it can bring to students in terms of career progression and the continuing professional development opportunities available to them once they have embarked on their careers.
The book does get students to engage with education developments and think about them critically. A key issue for students at master's level is to demonstrate critical thinking, in particular with educational theories and text. It chooses to develop and emphasise criticality through reflexivity. Reflection is a key element of a teacher's development and is something that all potential employers like to see in their teachers. Teachers need to question their practice critically in order to consider future developments. Also, adopting a critical approach combined with reflections allows a trainee teacher to consider developments in terms of how useful they are in their particular context.
ITE providers deliver a whole range of PGCEs in all phases of education and in specialisms ranging from Physics to Special Educational Needs. This book is designed for a wide audience and is therefore very much a support to the work that ITE providers do with their trainees in terms of subject knowledge development and subject-specific pedagogy. The reflective approach which is encouraged by the author would be well used as pre-course reading to provide beginning teachers with opportunities to engage critically with educational literature and subject-specific texts.
In answer to the three questions I had when reviewing this book I would accept that this is a valuable text to support students through conceptualising and understanding the requirements of some key aspects of master's level work. Regarding changes in educational context it can be said that change is the only constant. The skills one can develop through master's level thinking and the attainment of a master's degree through further continuing professional development have the potential to enhance the capacity of a critically reflective teaching profession. This last statement partially answers my final key question: this book certainly helps to develop competencies for working at M-level during a PGCE programme, but this is only the beginning of a student's development to completing a full master's degree.
Reviewed by John Macklin, University of East London
Edited by Keira Sewell
London: Sage, 2012
Reviewed by John Macklin
Contemporary Issues In Learning and Teaching
The authors argue that the confidence of newly qualified teachers in the classroom can come from engagement with key issues about the why of teaching as well as from the technicalities of the how. The clear remit of this book is to encourage thinking about values and about the purposes of education. Teachers need to question routine practice and be prepared to justify the decisions they make in the classroom rather than stick to a 'repertoire of tried and tested formulae'. This book is a counterbalance to any material that suggests that good teaching can be downloaded and delivered off-the-peg.
All contributors to initial and continuing teacher education programmes at the University of Glasgow, the authors share a key belief in the notion of education leading to greater equality and social justice. They see a critical awareness of policy, and the values that underpin policy, as central to teachers' ability to develop an understanding of their role and practice within 'the landscape of education'.
Chapters in each of the book's three sections, 'Policy', 'Learning' and 'Practice', draw on research and debate, encourage reflection and, fundamentally, require readers to articulate their positions. Thinking points in each chapter ask readers to express opinions, consider beliefs, explore practice and identify potential changes. Case studies ground the discussions. Key questions for reflection and discussion at the end of each chapter take the debate back to the reader - or, ideally perhaps, groups of readers.
Inclusion, and the exploration of what genuinely inclusive practice is, come across as fundamental. For me, the book really comes to life in George Head's chapter on inclusion and pedagogy, a lynchpin at the end of the policy section taking the reader into the learning section. Head takes the notion of inclusive pedagogy by the scruff of the neck, shakes the tired carcass of differentiation and lower expectations and pulls out a model of complementary pedagogy in which learners question critically ('How do you know that?') and work creatively and collaboratively with the teacher. This, Head argues, 'provides a milieu in which pupils may be able to differentiate for themselves'. It is a chapter of broad statements about inclusive practice, and some of these generalise about inclusive practice that I am, perhaps, unfamiliar with. I am not sure about teachers in inclusive classrooms finding 'points where students' personal lived experiences intersect with issues within wider society', although this is perhaps simply about teachers starting from learners' own interests and prior knowledge. Above all, however, this is a chapter that requires us to think about who we are and what we do, exemplifying the exploration of identity, values and purposes of education that are the book's core.
Contemporary issues in learning and teaching is squarely aimed at new teachers, arguably to catch them before routine practice takes too strong a hold. However, the book has much wider relevance: the caution to 'guard against the danger of a naïve acceptance of policy as the province of expertise' is for all of us.
Reviewed by Andrew Read, University of East London
Edited by Margery McMahon, Christine Forde and Margaret Martin
London: Sage, 2011
Reviewed by Andrew Read
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