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Time to go back to basics

Instead of fiddling around with teacher training "exit exams" and claiming that this will improve the quality of the profession and the teaching and learning experience of the pupil, the Department for Education should be looking at the lack of pedagogical training included in pre-service programmes. How can teachers support learning if they do not understand how pupils learn and if they are not trained in basic teaching skills? I have observed many schools and individual teachers over the past 10 years and two basic weaknesses occur again and again: lessons are "covered" at pace and are not changed in style or focus as pupils' learning issues emerge, and teachers do not allow time within this "race to cover" for pupils to assimilate, reflect, question and internalise learning concepts.

Bill Boyle, School of Education, University of Manchester.

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