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Behave! Colleges to get a helping hand

The Teacher Training Agency (TTA) is so concerned about poor support for trainee teachers on how to manage behaviour that it has set up a help centre for teacher training providers.

"We decided that this was a major area of concern," said Chris Dee,who heads the agency's support group for training providers. Future trainees might see video clips of classroom situations to help them identify the best way to deal with behaviour problems they encounter.

A survey of newly qualified teachers by the agency identified the lack of clear guidance on how to manage poor behaviour as a major weakness of courses. This echoes the findings of The TES survey following students through their training.

"College sessions regarding this (discipline) have been little use," one student reported.

A number of training providers in survey group advised students that issues to do with behaviour management were best dealt with in school, during observation and teaching practice. But one in five of our respondents rated the behaviour management in their placement schools as only "adequate".

The agency does not direct training providers on how to help students with behaviour management. But the handbook of guidance on the standards for qualified teacher status makes it clear that behaviour management is a key part of any course in initial teacher training.

Agency worries about the poor quality of behaviour guidance being offered by training providers have a double focus. "If you ask any new teacher what they are concerned about, they will talk about behaviour management," said Chris Dee. "And in canvassing people thinking about becoming a teacher, we found that it's an issue for them as well."

Nottingham Trent University has been selected as the hub of a professional resource network for universities and other ITT providers. The group, which includes RM, an ICT company, will run conferences and workshops and identify good resources and methods. Some of the material will be in the form of video clips, where experienced teachers have their lessons recorded.

Full survey report, page 22

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