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Trainers too dependent on traditional methods

Teacher trainers can be poor at practising the classroom techniques they preach, according to their students.

While student teachers are taught to use a variety of approaches to fit a wide range of learning styles, they said their lecturers often fell back on traditional "chalk and talk" lessons with no interaction.

Nearly half of a group of 65 trainees who were interviewed in depth said their trainers' teaching methods were not always appropriate.

"I could have done with being shown how to do it more, rather than sitting and listening to how to do it," said one primary trainee in her late 20s.

Another student teacher said: "Some of the lectures we went to were basically somebody standing going through a PowerPoint presentation. I think that material could have been sent to us for us to do on our own,"

The student teachers also found that the way mentors treated them in placement schools was at odds with good teaching practice.

"They were very negative," one male trainee primary teacher said. "They were very big on positive reinforcement of the children, but they didn't seem to want to put that into their professional dealing with other people."

Two-thirds of trainees felt that the balance between theory and practice on the course was about right, but a quarter of them felt there was too much theory and a tenth thought there was too much practical teaching.

Another trainee primary teacher in her late 20s said she was uncertain how successfully her course had introduced the basics of teaching design and technology. "There must be a much more constructive way than just giving us lots of sugar paper and glue and paints and saying, 'We are going to play some music, now everybody just draw what you feel to the music.'

"It was fun, but we didn't get a lot out of it in terms of what we need to do in the classroom."

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