Learning to Teach

Learning to Teach

Learning to Teach

Learning to Teach


The Leverhulme Primary Project reported here provides for the first time evidence on what is actually happening in teacher education today and on how novice teachers learn their craft. The book looks in detail at the experience of all the student teachers on one post graduate primary teacher training course and of those responsible for them in their university and in schools. It tracks them as they work to acquire the appropriate subject and pedagogical knowledge and as their own beliefs about teaching develop during the course. A final section follows some of the students through their fist year as qualified teachers. Teacher education is going through a peiod of radical change and more peole than ever before now have some responsibility, whether in higher education or in school for the training of teachers. None of them can afford to ignore the fresh insights into how teachers are made contained in this book.


The nature and quality of teacher education is the subject of much concern in many countries around the world. In Britain, and elsewhere, change is being demanded, and generated, by political assertion rather than by careful evaluation highlighting the lack of independent evidence on the processes and outcomes of teacher training.

The three-year study reported here provides independent evidence in relation to the one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) primary training route. The student-teachers’ subject-matter knowledge for teaching and beliefs were assessed on entry to their course, and again at exit. Course processes, including those based in the institution and in schools, were recorded and analysed through the use of multiple methods (including student diaries, interviews and direct observations), and from multiple sources (student-teachers, cooperating teachers, tutors and supervisors). The role of knowledge and beliefs in teaching performances were carefully ascertained before following a group of these same student-teachers through their first year of teaching.

The analyses of these diverse data were designed to identify patterns and trends, not to make grand generalizations. Nevertheless the findings are clear, and supportive of the outcomes of other studies, and provide implications for teacher training in such areas as school-based work, teaching competences and course design.

The chapters of the book have been carefully sequenced to present the findings in a progressive and cohesive manner. Each chapter has been written by the members of the research team who took responsibility for that particular aspect of the study. However as director, and senior research fellow, respectively, of the Leverhulme Primary Project, the overall responsibility for the study, and this book, lies with us.

Neville Bennett and Clive Carré

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