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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

On this week's podcast I discuss several matters related to teacher education with Professor Ian Menter from Oxford University's Department of Education. The topics we discuss are the following:

  • The Teacher Education Groups study of teacher education policy across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
  • How England is an outlier in attempts to weaken the link between universities and schools in teacher education.
  • Work he’s doing in Ireland with the National Institute for Studies in Education (NISE) based on collaboration across the three teacher education institutions based there.
  • His overview of developments in teacher education across the five nations.
  • The Teach First model of teacher education and its impact on the wider system.
  • Teacher retention and teacher burn-out
  • Evidence-based Teaching: Trials conducted by the Educational Endowment Foundation. The work of the Chartered College of Teaching in England, which has a remit similar to that of Teaching Councils elsewhere; its CEO, Alison Peacock, is committed to evidence-based teaching.
  • How teachers can develop research literacy through their initial teacher education courses and through continuing professional development that is oriented towards evidence-based inquiry.
  • A tendency for post-holders in schools to be “research leads” – people who overview what is happening in school in terms of research and development, who seek outside research that could inform practice and who liaise with universities on research. In some cases there may be research committees in schools.
  • How these ideas can be traced back to the writings of John Dewey and Lawrence Stenhouse – the latter was writing about the “teacher as researcher” in 1975.
  • An increased range of publications now in which research is published for a teacher readership.
  • The need to fund longitudinal research studies into how teachers learn teaching and independent, large-scale studies into teaching and teacher education to inform practice and policy.
  • Envisages greater interaction between the practice, policy and research communities
  • Teachers as researchers
  • Economic (preparing for the workforce), citizenship (engage in community and political system) and cultural (ideas, history to have a sense of the meaning of the world around us) have been the historical purposes of education. Different forces operate behind each of the aims and the balance among them can vary.
  • Research training schools in Finland, linked to universities could be explored more systematically elsewhere.
  • Teacher as a researcher v teacher as a reflective practitioner: Phases on a four-point continuum:
    • Effective teacher
    • Reflective teacher
    • Inquiring teacher and
    • Transformative teacher
  • The kind of initial preparation needed for future primary teachers
  • Difficulties in assessing a student teacher’s preparedness for success in the classroom.
  • Comparison between difficulties in evaluating a teacher’s potential and evaluating potential elite players in sports.
  • His views on having common standards for teachers – benefits and limitations
  • How he came to begin his career as a primary school teacher – the intellectual, emotional and personal challenges of teaching
  • Making the transition from being a teacher to being a teacher educator
  • What schools are for (and not for)
  • A teacher who had a significant impact on him
  • Favourite writers on education: C Wright Mills The Sociological Imagination, which is about the relationship between personal experience and problems in society. Paolo Freire on education for liberation and education for democracy.
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