Leading Professional Development

Using research for teachers’ professional development

Tim Cain explores the heritage of teachers’ learning ranging from applying theory to practice to research-informed reflection, and considers the implications for professional development.

The peculiar problem of Teacher Education

School teaching is a peculiar profession for the newcomer. Such is the nature of the educational ecosystem that, by the time student teachers start their courses of initial teacher education, they have spent approximately 15,000 hours (Rutter 1979) in classrooms, experiencing teaching vicariously at close quarters, as students. What is almost unimaginable in other professions – law students with 15,000 hours in courtrooms, say, or dental students with 15,000 hours observing dentistry – is common for student teachers. Furthermore, many student teachers have taught on a casual basis, teaching family members, on work experience, volunteering as youth leaders and so on. So nobody starts a programme of ITE as a complete beginner; all start with very considerable experience of being taught and many start with some experience of teaching.

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