Muijs, R.D., Chapman, C., Collins, A. and Armstrong, P.
The impact of teach first on leadership and classroom practice: a mixed methods study of the impact of an alternative teacher certification programme on school serving disadvantaged areas.
In, International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Kuala Lumpur, MY,
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Teach First, an alternative teacher certification programme, aims to attract high level graduates to teach in schools in highly disadvantaged areas. Graduates receive a short training programme during the Summer and are contracted to teach in the schools for two years, during which time they receive further mentoring and professional development.
In this study we look at the impact of Teach First teachers on leadership and on teaching practice. In order to be able to study process factors as well as impact, we are using a mixed methods approach. The study contains three main elements:
- Surveys of participants and headteachers
- Case studies of 20 participating schools
- Analysis of documentary evidence
Results suggest that Teach First teachers are keen to be involved in leadership, and take a lot of initiatives, but are constrained by their inexperience. Teach First teachers have strong subject knowledge. Initially, they are seen by some interviewees as naïve in the classroom, but they learn quickly. The Teach First teachers appear to pick up the teaching styles of the schools they work in. Their classroom practice tends towards direct instruction. Pedagogies tended to follow a whole-class interactive approach, with fast paced questioning mixing recall and higher order questions, though often more of the former than the latter.
There is some evidence of issues between Teach First participants and other staff, and some staff complain about the two-year term of Teach First staff, seeing this rapid turnover as somewhat destabilizing
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