In at the deep end

28th March 2008 at 00:00
Classroom teachers are being won round to Scottish Teachers for a New Era despite widespread scepticism, Aberdeen University insists.

However, at last week's seminar, one first-year student reported a comment typical of those who have yet to be convinced of the programme's value.

"This new teacher training course is a load of rubbish," the unidentified sceptic had said. "They need to be put in at the deep end to experience what teaching is really about. That's how we were taught and I can't see anything wrong with it."

A summary of questionnaires answered by teachers hosting second-year students found an even split between positive and negative comments.

Positive feedback referred to the programme's philosophy, while concerns focused on the difficulties of putting it into practice.

The report states: "The teachers appreciated the opportunity given to students to spend time observing, reflecting and developing their own ideas about teaching, although time constraints would at times hinder the depth of the learning that could potentially take place.

"In contrast, teachers who felt unsure about the new developments made specific comments about the shortage of opportunity given to student teachers to be fully involved in a class, not gaining hands-on experience, not appreciating the effort that goes into planning and organising that goes into running an efficient classroom, and so on."

There is "a lot of confusion" about what is expected of teachers and students during placements, according to the report. Nevertheless, programme director Lynne Shiach said sceptical teachers became more positive after attending special CPD days on the programme.

Photograph: Simon Price.

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