Learning to teach: making sense of learning to teach
Learning to teach: making sense of learning to teach

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Learning to teach: making sense of learning to teach

2.1 Who designs, delivers and monitors the course

In the UK you may come across the terms Higher Education Institute (HEI) led or school-based ITE. These are not routes in themselves as each contains a number of different models of ITE, but they do recognise fundamental differences in how courses are organised.

Table 2: Differences and similarities between HEI-led and school-led ITE

Design of courseDeliveryQuality assurance
School ledA diverse range of programmes come under this category, many of which reflect the local context. If the course is linked to an externally validated qualification, such as a PGCE, then the school will work in partnership with the awarding body to design the course. Generally delivered within the school and it’s extended network. The sessions might include lectures, workshops, visits, project work, individual study and teaching. Inspectorates (e.g. Esytn, Ofsted). If the course offers an academic qualification, then the awarding body QA procedures will apply (e.g. external examiners).
HEI ledHEI in partnership with schools. Partnership schools often design ‘in school’ provision.Mixture of school and HEI-led sessions run by a combination of education lecturers, subject specialists, school-based staff and visiting experts. These might include lectures, workshops, visits, project work, individual study and teaching.

Inspectorates (e.g. Esytn, Ofsted).

HEI QA procedures (e.g. external examiners).

All ITE courses are subject to national regulations and inspection frameworks. The nature of the delivery will depend on the underpinning philosophy of the course but also the qualifications that are to be achieved (e.g. a masters level course will differ from an undergraduate route in the nature and level of critical engagement in assessment).

Even though the design of ITE courses may be quite individual, how courses operate and who is there to support you can be discussed more generally. It is possible to identify four types or groups of people who might be involved in an ITE course:

  1. The course tutor may also be known as the subject leader, university tutor or specialist tutor. This person’s role is to facilitate a holistic, joined up and well-supported programme for the student. They may be based outside the schools in which student teachers are working, will have a broad experience of the subject or phase they are teaching and extensive experience of working with student teachers.
  2. The school-based mentor is the student teachers daily contact and support system when working in schools. They provide the expertise of the particular school context and will help students to apply what they have learned about educational issues with particular classes. They will also provide regular feedback to the student and opportunities to discuss their developing teaching.
  3. School-based ITE coordinators are often senior members of staff within a school who coordinate ITE provision across the different departments or phases. They may organise seminars, workshops or specific experiences for all student teachers working in the school and they will also observe student teachers to ensure standards are being applied consistently. They will also ensure that the mentor is supported in their role and will moderate assessment judgements.
  4. Other student teachers may feel an unlikely addition to this list but the influence of working with other student teachers, sharing issues, finding solutions together, discussing educational practice and theory and supporting each other emotionally is a very important aspect of learning to teach. Whether you are on an HEI led course but are on school experience placements away from your peers, or are based within a school for all of your course, there are times where face to face contact with other student teachers is more challenging. However, there are many online platforms (both general educational forums and subject specific) which support ongoing conversation between student teachers which are highly valuable in providing opportunity to broaden your outlook, debate key issues and share ideas.

The roles of the mentor and tutor will be discussed in more detail in Learning to teach: Mentoring and tutoring student teachers [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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