Why should schools be especially interested in the Twiselton ITT Review this week?
Of course we should all be concerned about the future of the profession – but those who have vacancies on offer this week after the dreaded 31st May resignation deadline will be especially dependent on the quality and quantity of initial teacher trainees. The true test of the Government’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy and related reviews will be that resignation deadline days become true celebrations of professional career development and are not fraught with the stress for senior leadership of yet another recruitment crisis to overcome.
So, what would I suggest to the Twiselton Review based on my experience working with schools and ITT providers around the UK and beyond?
My first suggestion is to use educational technology to make teacher training more personal and interactive, learning from the successful experience of high-level sports coaching. All teachers are different and have very different development needs at all stages of their careers.
- There are those who are experts in their subject but need significant support to stop them giving up when they face multiple challenging classrooms.
- There are those who are quickly ready to take charge of a classroom but then come across one of the hundreds of ‘snagging issues’ that can be solved by a quick word of expert advice and,
- There are those who are need specialist support to fulfil their career ambitions whether that be working in a PRU or teaching KS5.
My experience talking to successful PGCE student James on placement in a Manchester primary school is that it was quite clear that as he’d been doing well, he’d been left to get on with things with the occasional visit from his lecturer and observation from local school mentor. He responded excitedly when we talked about opportunity of using cameras to review, share and reflect on lessons – especially with the Hawthorne Effect of having an external observer in the classroom removed.
My second suggestion is to create a richer and more meaningful coaching dialogue from the start.
That means giving students the tools to identify their development needs and areas for reflection.
This would not just improve conversations with mentors or formal reviews in a university or teaching school setting but those so-important discussions with fellow students who are struggling with communicating the same concepts or dealing with behaviour challenges in similar schools. I wrote recently about the opportunity to take this further and develop global communities of teachers at all stages of development.
If you would like to get involved with our work in this area and help trial our solutions please get in touch.