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Accredit where it's due

Shorter, cheaper and more classroom-based chartered teacher programmes under scrutiny

THE TAPESTRY Learning Partner-ship is hoping to launch a third route to chartered teacher status which it believes would be shorter, cheaper and more classroom-based than the university-oriented one.

Detailed discussions have been held between Tapestry - led by Brian Boyd, Katrina Bowes, and Keir Bloomer - and the General Teaching Council for Scotland with a view to accrediting programmes based on the teachings of Harvard-based David Perkins and Israeli Reuven Feuerstein.

Professor Boyd, from Strathclyde University's education faculty, hopes the Harvard and Feuerstein pathways could be launched in 2008 and be based on an eight-module route instead of the current 12-module university route.

The key difference would be that this "third pathway" would require more classroom or school-based evidence and, while it would confer chartered teacher status, it would not lead to a Masters degree.

However, Rosa Murray, GTC Scotland's professional officer for chartered teachers, and Tom Hamilton, the council's director of educational policy, both said they could not accredit chartered teachers who took the course in less time than at present.

Tapestry is hopeful, however, that the current review of the chartered teacher programme, due to finish in August, will allow for greater flexibility.

Professor Boyd said it was recognised that there were difficulties associated with the CT programme. "The Harvard and Feuerstein routes are interesting, international initiatives which offer an exciting, relevant, classroom-focused qualification rather than something which is seen to take too long, is too expensive, and is too academic," he said.

The GTCS has accredited the Harvard "teaching for understanding" course for its new programme of professional recognition.

Professor Boyd said work on adapting the Harvard programme for CT status was more developed than the Feuerstein model. The latter is based on the belief that the learning and adaptability of each individual may be significantly improved by producing structural changes in the brain.

In terms of the Harvard CT programme, he envisages four modules delivered online - two based on Perkins's teaching for understanding, one on multiple intelligences and one on leadership of learning. Participants would be expected to work collaboratively with other teachers in their area. The remaining four modules would take the form of classroom-based action research of a portfolio of work, written up to around 6,000 words.

Ms Murray said of the Harvard and Feuerstein models: "They bring a very interesting and different approach, going much more into understanding education and teaching, as well as providing variety and choice for teachers here."

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