Thumbs up or down for Donaldson?

28th January 2011 at 00:00

I was pleased to read Graham Donaldson's comment, regarding initial teacher education, that there should be "more direct engagement between universities and hub schools to reinforce the link between research, scholarship and practice" (TESS January 21).

I am in the fortunate position of being included in the pilot scheme for the learning rounds model of student teacher assessment, described in the same issue. My own experience, and from anecdotal evidence I have gathered from fellow students, is that depending on principal teachers and qualified teachers for support and feedback on practice is not always an enriching or positive experience.

Most of the feedback I received in placement focused on behaviour management. Feedback should be about how a particular lesson could have been delivered in a way that was more interesting to the pupil; instead, it was generally about what disciplinary measures should be employed next time a particular individual was "behaving badly". It is my understanding that qualified teachers are not trained in mentoring, nor do they have any allocated time in their schedules for the student teacher.

The most valuable feedback comes from the kids themselves. Their body language and attitude will provide a thumbs up or a thumbs down to your lessons. If I were not participating in the learning rounds model of assessment, I would be seeking their advice on my practice more proactively.

Mary McLure, Doune Quadrant, Glasgow.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today