Caught Between Theory and Practice? Expert and Practitioner Views of the Contributions made by Universities and Schools to Initial Teacher Preparation in England.

PhD Thesis

Alison Hardman 2016. Caught Between Theory and Practice? Expert and Practitioner Views of the Contributions made by Universities and Schools to Initial Teacher Preparation in England. PhD Thesis
AuthorsAlison Hardman
TypePhD Thesis

Expert and practitioner views of the contributions made by universities and schools to initial teacher preparation in England. In November 2010, the coalition government published its seminal The White Paper, The Importance of Teaching. Its recommendations sought to reform Initial Teacher Training (ITT) so that more training was school-based; to create a new national network of ‘Teaching Schools’ that gave outstanding schools in England a leadership role in the initial training and professional development of teachers. This thesis critically analyses the subsequent changes in relationships and tensions between universities and schools as the reforms were implemented. The consequent increase in the number of routes into teaching, coupled with more autonomy devolved to schools in relation to Initial Teacher Preparation (ITP), has served to jeopardise university-based preparation. The changing notions of pedagogy and practice in school-led initial teacher preparation alter the significance of theory in ITP and ultimately question the future for university-led initial teacher education. What constitutes effective teacher preparation is explored through a series of semi-structured interviews drawn from a small, reputational sample across the field of education. This provides the data that reveals a contemporary dichotomy between ‘training’ and ‘education’ that challenges the relevance of a theoretically informed teacher education in favour of ‘on the job training.’ From the discussion of the contested data provided by reputational sample, an outcome of the current changes could result in a peripheral role for universities in ITP. In particular, undergraduate provision, such as the B.Ed, was threatened because it did not provide a sufficient depth of subject knowledge; a shift to post-graduate school-based preparation and a reliance on assessment-only routes renders the role of the universities defunct. The findings from the analysis of the reputational sample were further examined in the workplace through questionnaire given to academics and partnership school mentors working in delivering ITP in an East Midlands University. The tensions between ‘training’ and education and the role of universities in initial teacher preparation were mirrored by teachers and academics. In conclusion, the changes made by the coalition government have made the future of ‘teacher education’ uniquely fragile.

KeywordsITT; ITE; teacher training; teacher education; professional knowledge; School-based ITT; centre-based ITT; university; Pedagogy; history of education policy
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/618614
File Access Level
File Access Level
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Aug 2016, 08:17
Publication dates22 Apr 2016
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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