Let's look at evidence and put Donaldson review into perspective

13th August 2010 at 01:00

The opening sentence of the HMIE's submission to the Donaldson review of teacher education is "overall, this is a positive picture." Later on, it refers to the "world class induction programme offered to all probationer teachers".

A close reading of the succinct, 13-page report suggests there are considerably more strengths than weaknesses in teacher education. But, some student teachers have problems with aspects of numeracy or literacy. However, I fear it was ever thus.

The fact is that there were teachers in bygone days who also had problems with grammar and arithmetic, whose long-division may have been poor, who were blissfully unaware that the gerund takes the possessive pronoun and who could never remember that practice is the noun and practise the verb (just like HMIE, in fact, which makes the same mistake on page 11 of its report).

Perhaps we should put this report into perspective and try to build up a picture of the health of Scottish teacher education based on this evidence. That is what the Donaldson review is engaged upon.

Brian Boyd, Emeritus professor of education, Strathclyde University.

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