Worried about teachers' lack of experience

5th December 2008 at 00:00

Am I the only teacher concerned about the quality of initial teacher education for PGDE primary students in Scotland? Having had a student in my class, I was shocked to discover that an eight-week upper school placement, a brief spell in a pre-school and an infant placement is the sum total of "teaching experience" undertaken by these students.

It could be the case that a probationer begins a career in teaching having taught a handful of lessons in, for example, P1 and P7 classes, and nothing in between. Equally concerning is the idea that they may have taught in P3 and P4 classes with no experience at either end of primary.

In addition, it would appear that the students are embracing the capacities and principles of A Curriculum for Excellence. A good thing, you would think, but what happens when, in their probationary year, they are required to teach and assess according to national guidelines and assessments?

Perhaps, having spent four years undertaking the BEd course and still feeling I had so much to learn, I am simply cynical about people entering the profession after one year with what appears to be minimal, even inadequate, teaching experience.

A concerned primary teacher (name and address supplied).

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