Thursday, April 01, 2010

Initial Teacher Education and BectaX

I attended the bectax conference yesterday and although I wasn't sure about going (I wasn't sure I would have much to contribute) I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Still not sure I had much to contribute but there was a fantastic group of people gathered there and it was an interesting conference for a whole bucketload of reasons.

Getting stuck in
Originally uploaded by Mr Ush
I've added "writting about bectax" to the expanding list of stuff I'll get around eventually, however, I wanted to strike while the iron was hot on one topic...

The purpose conference was described as:
BectaX will congregate the very best thinkers and doers from education, digital media and policy.

Together they will find pragmatic solutions to aid the transition towards 21st Century schools in a connected world.

As the various issues were discussed, a few people said that teacher education was important. As a teacher educator I agree but would like some idea of what people think initial teacher education can do to prepare teachers of the 21st Century to work with pupils of the 21st Century.

Before you start to make suggestions, I am aware that initial education is a partnership between universities, local authorities, schools, teachers and probably a good few others too, so universities shouldn't try to do everything. However, I am really keen to know what you think the key aspects are that courses of initial teacher education should address. So, without further ado, here's the question I'd like you to have a go at:

What are the key things that a student teacher should know, understand or be able to do, so that they are prepared to start working in 21st Century schools in a connected world?

And, to focus your mind, you are not allowed to suggest more than three!


Andy Hampton said...

My school has been hosting some PGCEs this year and we took two GTPs last year. I feel beginning teachers should have a PLN, they should be familiar with Facebook, twitter, blogs and bookmarking and have tasted a VLE - preferably a school based one as well as the university one.

Jan Webb said...

I had a pgce student earlier this year and think it waS reAlly useful for him to have the opportunity to try collaborative web 2.0 tools eg wikis, wallwisher, primary pad, voicethread - and to also shAre the challenges of problem solving when it doesn't go smoothly. It's not the tools that Are essential but transferrable skills, problem solving and
an open mind for trying fresh ideas and tools. Experience of collaborative tools within and between clAsses, using vle's in school and building a pln - personal learning network - through Twitter or facebook are the 3 experiences our new teachers need to support those 3 less easy-to-measure qualities.

Dave Stacey said...

Great post. For what it's worth, I think I'd boil my three down to these.

1. Develop a PLN
If we accept the point that TT is about putting new teachers in a position where they can become self reflective and life long learners then we need to move away from a situation where we are giving them a 'toolbox' to one where they are encouraged to build up a PLN around their own interests and subjects via Twitter, blogs, bookmarking etc. My attempts to get students that I mentor in school have largely been unsuccessful because they don't see it as part of their course.

2. Start with a student centred approach
The second thing isn't directly linked to USING technology, but rather the way that learning has evolved in a connected world. It seems to me that we start by getting students to learn a teacher centred approach and then move to more student centred approach, but some never really reach it.

3. Be encouraged to try out things that are new to the school as well as new to them.
Thirdly schools need to recognise that PGCE students and their link to HE provide an opportunity to try out new technology and collaborative tools as a way firstly of trying out new things (with the full expectation that say won't be fully successful) and of spreading this new practice around the school. And yet not enough ITT centres or schools seem to want to operate this model, wanting instead to fill their trainee teachers with knowledge and skills like empty vessels - a model we're running away from at a rate of knots in schools!

Drew Buddie said...

I should have been a regional node for this event but sadly as school had broken up was unable to recruit students to participate :-(

However, in answer to your question, I would like to mention the 'eCompetencies for School leavers' course that I have constructed, from crowd-sourced ideas obtained via Twitter. This course is now being delivered to all my VI Form students in an effort to do just what you ask in your question - topics such as 'judgement', 'collaboration', 'safety' all feature within the course and i can happily provide you with a better summary at another time. Having already delivered the course to 3/5th of the VI Form I can safely say that it has been well received by them.

Braudel6 said...

When you consider the demographics of the teaching profession in the web 2.0 age, the importance of TT to enabling 21st century teaching and learning for 21 century needs, becomes all the more pressing, as the 'new blood' to the vocation and profession have the increased role and responsibility of helping to lead all teacher familiarisation, competence and creative engagement with the 2.0 technology and its place in T&L. In turn the focus of TT in developing the profession in this pivotal area is unquestionable. As a Demos publication on Web 2.0 and education discovered when talking to a 14 year old in a London school about their experience of the interface between their Web 2.0 connected communicative and information accessing lifeworld and school,l they said, "I power down when I go into school, and power up when I get out!". TT and new teachers have to help schools be effective in 'powering up'. In turn:
1. Clear student centred approach, understanding the use of technology in their acquisition, sharing, organising and engagement with information
2. Strong focus on how to develop problem- solving skills and to embed problem-solving in lesson delivery
3. Flowing from this a focus on the centrality of collaboration in learning and discovery and the various collaborative tools which can be used. 'We Think' by Charles Leadbetter has some useful thoughts here too.

David said...

Thanks for some great comments. I'll try to chase up a few more before collating, summarising and responding.

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