on final teaching practice: a
picture-drawing case study1 of
fiction firmly based on fact
This is an extract from a study of the interface between college, local authority and student in the education and training of primary school teachers, which was carried out and first reported in the academic year 1986/7. The extract is a picture-drawing case study which portrays the intensity of experience of teaching practice for final students and some of the ways in which the uneasy relationship between school and college impinges on that experience. The report is a fictional reconstruction of a student's experience, expressed in a letter to her friend Emma: it is drawn from five in-depth interviews and each point made is supported by detailed analysis of the interview data. The interviews were conducted in Sheffield by a seconded primary school headteacher. Twelve years later, this research still stands up as a clear statement of what is needed in training a young person for a career in primary school. There needs to be a coherent team effort in which the school providing a placement, and the college preparing the student, work closely together and plan, execute and monitor with enormous care the whole experience. This partnership is essential if the student is to develop both self-confidence as a teacher and professional expertise in the classroom. It is very demanding of both school and college to orchestrate this effectively.
In 1986/7 Sheila Hall (SRH), an experienced Sheffield primary school headteacher, was seconded by her authority to Nottingham Polytechnic to work with me for a year on 'the problems of teacher education'. We decided to