So this is something a bit different for me. I’ve decided to see just how far I can mobilise teachers online to work together on a project. In part this follows the Carter Review which placed a strong emphasis on teacher knowledge. There is currently a wide variety of routes into teaching, and, increasingly, training is being provided at a relatively small scale by organisations that might have limited access to curriculum materials for teacher education. I would like to see how far a community of teachers (the term broadly defined) might go in creating a curriculum for teacher education that might be of help to such organisations. I am hoping, too, that we might be able to begin a bit more of a debate about what exactly it is that we expect teachers to know.
I am using this post, therefore, to introduce the project. I have only vague ideas at the moment regarding how this might develop and it might come to nothing, but then again it might result in something! Please do email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact me via Twitter (@mfordhamhistory) if you would like to be involved on some level.
This project aims to get a variety of people involved in producing a freely-available, open-access curriculum for teacher education. It might also involve producing some resources for this curriculum. An additional aim is to spur some debate about what teachers ought to know.
Defining the Problem
The problem as I see it is as follows:
(1) There are a wide variety of routes into teaching in England and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
(2) There is currently no agreed curriculum for initial teacher education and the variation between courses providers is generally seen as a weakness rather than a strength of the system.
(3) The Government has tended to be interested only in setting out ‘competence’ criteria for the teaching profession. As a profession, teachers need more than a skills-based curriculum based on competences.
What can you volunteer to do?
(a) Contribute to the overall framework and design of the curriculum
(b) Write a particular section of the curriculum
(c) Prepare reading lists
(d) Review materials and critique them
(e) Test-run curriculum materials in your school / programme
Project Stage 1 – Produce a curriculum framework
This framework will need to set out the key knowledge areas that teachers need to develop through their training. This is likely to involve generic and subject-specific sections. The precise framework used is to be discussed, but I am keen to keep this simple – a starting point for people to adapt, rather than a finished product.
Project Stage 2 – Produce curriculum materials
The precise form the curriculum takes is up for negotiation (I have some ideas ready to be critiqued…) but I want to think in terms of the knowledge we expect trainee teachers to have and to develop. I am not interested in creating a set of competences – we already have one in QTS. I am thinking that a curriculum for ITT/E will set out broad knowledge areas and then provide specific details in each of these areas, along with (at the very least) annotated reading lists.
Project Stage 3 – Produce resources to accompany curriculum
It may be possible to get some resources created for the curriculum. I am thinking here particularly of those doing things like schools direct where they may not be quality resources available for schools to use.
Project Stage 4 – Trialling the curriculum
This would be well in the future, but I would be very keen to hear from anyone who runs a ITT/E programme who would be interested in trialling a curriculum model.
The aim will be to have a curriculum ready to go by the end of the summer holidays, preferable with something available for the 2015-2016/7 cohort at the start of the summer holiday.
Other blog posts
I’ve written quite a bit about teacher education on this blog. See the following posts: