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What the students think

(Photograph) - Sian Phillips (pink top), Gillian Hunter and Stephanie Smith, weren't keen on their status as guinea pigs when they started their teacher training course at Aberdeen University in 2005 (pictured with Lynne Shiach, programme director). They had expected

to join a well-established course that would tell them how to teach, instead of which they were given the freedom to find their own way.

But now the trio all aged 19 and about to enter third year after the summer are proud to be part of something that's breaking new ground.

Stephanie said: "At first, I didn't enjoy it and wished I'd gone somewhere else. Now I see why they have done what they've done."

Gillian added: "Because knowledge is evolving, it makes sense we are given the core skills we need to continue to pick up knowledge."

They feel that visiting schools in pairs is a good idea. "Some of the children were taller than me, so I was more comfortable going into a classroom with a partner," said Gillian.

And the community walks. "I'm from Aberdeen," said Sian, "but before I went on the community walk in Tillydrone, I hadn't realised the Wallace statue was there. Ask a class about the community and they can answer immediately it's important that we know the area."

Photograph: James Fraser

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