Becoming Teachers: Texts and Testimonies, 1907-1950

By Peter Cunningham; Philip Gardner | Go to book overview

2

POLICY DEVELOPED: THE STUDENT-TEACHER SCHEME AND ITS ORIGINS

The student-teacher scheme continues to be vividly remembered in the minds of the diminishing band of men and women who experienced it. It is not, however, represented so forcefully in the classic historical accounts of the development of teacher training. Gosden mentions the scheme only by way of a passing reference and a solitary footnote. 1 Dent makes a brief allusion to the scheme as finding favour with local authorities but less amongst the teachers themselves. 2 Tropp records the scheme's existence in a single line. 3

The student-teacher scheme, then, constitutes a largely ignored episode in a historical narrative which, in traditionally leaping from the hegemony of pupil-teacher apprenticeship to that of college training, is seriously deficient. In simply eliding student teaching in this way, the existing accounts have compressed a historical space which needs to be re-opened. Perhaps the elision is, to some degree, a pardonable one if we take the documentary record as our only historical resource. This is not at all because the record is silent on the matter of the scheme, as we shall shortly see. It is because, in terms of national policy formulation, the scheme was marginalised and discredited from its inception, not least by those who devised it in the first place. The fundamental principles upon which the scheme rested were seen at the Board of Education to be intellectually dubious and, in practical terms, profoundly outdated. It is unsurprising that historians have failed greatly to attend to a piece of policy which, despite being largely his own initiative, Robert Morant, Permanent Secretary at the Board of Education for most of the first decade of the twentieth century, thought little of and regarded as holding no lasting significance for the reformation of teacher training. Why was this?

At the start of the twentieth century, the legacy of the traditional pupil-teacher system, with its hallmarks of early apprenticeship and precocious technical proficiency in the classroom, continued to exert a powerful symbolic influence upon a profession made up overwhelmingly of former pupil teachers. 4 But if the teachers themselves commonly had a

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Becoming Teachers: Texts and Testimonies, 1907-1950
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Introduction ix
  • Part I 1
  • 1 - Problems and Approaches 3
  • Part II 21
  • 2 - Policy Developed: the Student-Teacher Scheme and Its Origins 23
  • 3 - Policy Debated: Conflicting Ideals for Teacher Education and Training 49
  • 4 - Policy Concluded: Demise and Legacy of Student Teaching 70
  • 5 - A Stolen Profession? Social Class and Teacher Supply' 86
  • 6 - A Narrow Life? Teachers and Professional Identity 109
  • 7 - Practice: Experience of Training from Classroom to College 128
  • Part III 151
  • 8 - Person 153
  • 9 - Mr Brian Sawkin 159
  • 10 - Mrs Delia Skelley and Mrs Lesley Thornbird 171
  • 11 - Mr Gerald Phillips 186
  • 12 - Miss Daisy Shipley and Mr Arthur Shipley 198
  • 13 - Miss Barbara Mill 215
  • Conclusion 228
  • Select Bibliography 235
  • Index 247
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