Induction into Teacher Education

‘Induction into Teacher Education’ describes a support and development programme for tutors new to teacher education. It has been piloted during the course of this academic year and a revised and extended version will be available in the next academic year, 2009-10. It will also be opened up to all members of the Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University, who are interested in scholarly and research-informed approaches to teacher education in all its settings.

To that extent the programme does not adopt a ‘nuts and bolts’ approach to extending tutors’ ‘craft’ skills. Instead, its concerns borrow from the focus of the Faculty’s Centre for Learner Identity Studies. The Centre has a number of ‘identity strands’ to it and, in this case, Induction into Teacher Education is principally focused on ‘transitional identities‘; that is the ways in which teacher educators undertake a transitional journey from expert classroom practitioner to the role of shaping and supporting the intellectual and professional development of both intending and more experienced teachers.

Research over very recent years has exposed the problematic nature of that journey as opposed to a comfortable and still prevalent assumption that the transitional experience is┬áboth smooth and relatively uncomplicated. Teacher educators are perturbed by questions and issues relating to perceptions of their role – questions about purpose and principles; the theoretical frameworks in which to place their own pedagogic practices; the tensions between their own learning and teaching values and the contraints and imperatives of public policy bodies and the local classroom settings in which teachers’ professional orientation and skills take shape; and, crucially, the complexities and challenge of interrogating and evaluating one’s own beliefs and practice and their impact on novice teachers’ sense of their own evolving ‘identities’.

Commentaries on this agenda are warmly invited before finalising the details of a new programme. Participants in the programme will have access to a customised ‘Wiki’ which will incorporate a set of academic and professional tasks (or points of reflection) supported by a repository of research literature and comparative case studies.

Dr Graham Rogers

Reader in Educational Development, Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University