Letters extra : Expectations of teaching training

9th March 2001 at 00:00
As a trainee teacher (PGCE) I am horrified at what I have found in the education system. I like to think of myself as a normal human being but there are problems. I'm 35, spent 6 years as a regular soldier (Bandsman) in the British Army, worked for Prudential, as a manager for HSBC, and Area Manager for Pearl Assurance before going to university as a mature student. I now have a wealth of life experience, and a 1st Class honours degree in music. To make matters worse I am a serving Officer in the Territorial Army. What's bad about all that? It means I expect to be trained to do a job, provided with the tools to do it, paid, supported and valued.

What universal training package is given to the trainee teacher across England? What specific Music package as an exemplar can I read and implement (don't say KS3 QCA pack you'll make me cry) immediately in the classroom? None to all of the above. I'm expected to research Indian music, fine no problem, is that all 300 Tal rhythms so I select the most appropriate? etc, etc. (my watch shows only 24 hours in one day). What about my commitment to literacy in music, explain the different spellings of Rag and Raga? I asked my fellow Music PGCE trainee teachers and university lecturer, needless to say they did not know and incidentally it took me an hour to find the answer.

My point is this. Contrary to popular belief Teachers, Heads of Year, Deputy Heads and Headteachers are 95% committed workers, displaying the highest standards of excellence. That is in relation to the training they have received. If you want to change anything in education I would suggest that Mr Blunkett and Mr Tomlinson introduce a nationally adopted well taught trainee teacher programme. Which includes 'what' should be taught by trainees, that this resource is provide at no cost to us and is a generic overview of our subject with the resources to physically implement it. In our NQT year we will, those of us who enjoy our subject, expand upon this workable exemplar if not before in our PGCE year. And no, it's not a cop out of building a resource folder, it's the starting point for building one I'll use, unlike some!

Anselm Allen
The Lodge
Hutton Bank
North Yorkshire

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