Initial teacher training: clearing the hurdles: a summary
At Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe.
22 - 26 Oct 2005.
Full text not available from this repository.
Teachers do not go into teaching for an easy life. Nor does initial teacher training provide an easy stroll into the profession. In order to qualify as teachers, all trainees in England are required to meet a range of Professional Standards, encompassing professional values and practice; knowledge and understanding; and teaching. Implicit is the expectation that they develop competence in tackling the routine demands of classroom life. It could be assumed, therefore, that in the assault course of initial teacher training, ‘meeting the standards’ is the primary obstacle.
However, the challenges of becoming a teacher are much more diverse and specific, within a very compressed time frame - merely 38 weeks in the case of postgraduate courses in England training teachers of primary-aged children (5-11 years). All trainees are faced with common hurdles such as workload, meeting academic requirements and adjusting to working and learning in a rapid succession of educational communities. Additionally, individuals may have to cope with personally significant issues relating to health, relationships, family, domestic matters, relocation away from friends and family, travel, and others. Such issues are frequently cited by trainees who withdraw. Yet most tackle their personal portfolio of challenges successfully to qualify as become teachers. What is it that enables some to clear the hurdles successfully when others falter? Might successful coping strategies serve as useful preparation for the future demands of teaching?
This paper reports some preliminary findings from a set of eight interviews with postgraduate trainees who have completed their Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course successfully. The aim was to identify the range of challenges identified by individuals, whether these changed as the course proceeded, and the coping strategies adopted.
As trainee teachers in many countries must face similar pressures, it is hoped that the findings and implications of this research will be of interest to colleagues wishing to increase retention and maximise performance amongst their students.
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