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Four eyes are better than two

I read with interest Graeme Paton's report on student teachers having to "pair up" to observe lessons ("When students are a nuisance", TES, May 13).

I am a mature student and have just completed the first year of a three-year BA in primary education, including a four-week block of teaching practice. Every day I spent in the classroom, I was joined by another trainee from my university course, and the advantages of this far out-weighed the disadvantages.

The report states that the class is already full of adults, but I fail to see the disadvantage in this. I wish I had had the experience of an adult to help me in my group work in every lesson when I was at primary school, as can be the case with two trainees, a teacher and teaching assistants.

Surely the children's education can only be enhanced by this concentration of adult help, besides which the school also gains through not having to pay for the extra help.

I was able to discuss specific learning situations with my student colleague and we were able to share experiences and understanding much more freely, as well as observe and give feedback on each other's performance when teaching the children. An extra set of eyes and ears worked wonders.

The only disadvantage I foresaw was that, in effect, the teacher had to give up her class while we practised our teaching, particularly over the past four weeks. But she used this time well for planning and doing those other little jobs (such as tidying out the resources cupboards) that she could never get round to doing when teaching all day.

I would strongly urge schools to take advantage of this situation and agree to take on this extra - and "free" - resource by taking on two trainees.

From my experience in recent weeks, I cannot see how anyone can lose.

David Ashley

23 Lydgate Close

Lawford

Manningtree

Essex

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