Teaching may be a 'craft' but PGCE no tool with which to mould it

9th July 2010 at 01:00

As a student and teacher who is coming to the end of the PGCE, I am flabbergasted to see the course being defended by TES editor Gerard Kelly ("Leave PGCE off your hit-list, Mr Gove", July 2).

After seven years as a further education lecturer and teacher, I took the course at the same FE college where I work. If the PGCE consisted merely of trainers coming into lessons and giving advice to teachers, this would be fine, and much could be learned from it. But what actually happens is that full-time teachers, doing a job that is at times desperately stressful, are required to spend hours per week learning about theories that are completely irrelevant to teaching practice.

This would be all very well, but the theories are constantly changing. Why should teachers have to waste their time pontificating about obsolete and semi-obsolete ideas?

As for the positive aspects of the course, the lesson inspections are useful. The peer support was also very helpful, although even this is largely due to the bunker mentality that develops among the students. But at least 75 per cent of the PGCE is completely useless.

I will forward this letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove so he knows that he will have the support of at least one teacher in any attempt to relegate this terrible course to the annals of educational history (alongside most of the "theories" I've just wasted two years combing over).

James Anstice, Teacher of law, politics and citizenship, Bedford.

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