Reasons to be cheerful about the masters degree for teachers

20th March 2009 at 00:00

Many discussing teacher training, including Gordon Brown, seem confused about the nature of Teach First.

All participants do have a six-week training period prior to entering a school, but they are not then recommended for qualified teacher status. First, they must complete successfully a whole year of teaching in their school.

During this year, they are supported through observations of their teaching, completing reflective journals and participating in weekly mentoring sessions by school mentors and university tutors. They also attend six subject-knowledge training days at their university and many weekend and evening professional development courses. It takes 13 months until they are in the same position as a student just completing a PGCE.

Over 10 years, I have taught on many types of teacher-training course, including undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and I can confirm that Teach First is more thorough and challenging than any of them.

Paul Killen, Senior lecturer in mathematics, Liverpool John Moores University.

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