Let’s talk about innovation in Initial Teacher Education
In late autumn of 2016, we talked about innovation in ITE; delegates met in two venues – King’s College London on November 23rd 2016 and the University of Manchester on December 2nd 2016 - to consider new ideas and innovative designs for preparing new teachers for – and with - the profession, from early years through primary to secondary.
Questions asked included:
- What future would you design for ITE and early career professional development within your own HEI, in partnership with current and new stakeholders?
- What new designs for ITE, at postgraduate level, for example, might have a mutually beneficial relationship with the teaching profession as well as to the field of ITE and to the growth of REF-compliant research in teaching and teacher education?
- At system-level, how can we create ITE and early career professional learning programmes that contribute to school improvement?
- What possibilities are there for innovative undergraduate/integrated Master’s programmes, in STEM and other subjects?
Participants in each workshop received a draft pamphlet written by a writing team led by Professor Viv Ellis from King’s College London. TEAN is most grateful to Viv for his inspiration for these events.
In King’s College, London we were pleased to welcome Viv Ellis to guide us through the ideas presented in the pamphlet. Viv is Professor of Educational Leadership and Teacher Development at King's College, London and a Professor II at Bergen University College in Norway.
His research focuses on teacher education as academic work; the possibilities for reconfiguring initial teacher education in relation to school leadership; professional creativity; and forms of practice-developing, intervention research. His most recent book (with Jane McNicholl) is 'Transforming Teacher Education' (Bloomsbury, 2015) and in 2014 he was invited to be a Sachs lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University in their lecture series 'The Landscape for Educating Teacher Educators'.
Viv reminded us that the purpose behind this initiative is not to reform or defend but to transform. The pressure to go down a central corridor towards some kind of promised land is immense and innovation finds itself constrained by this, but Viv encouraged us to go for blue-skies thinking, to seek inspiration and to work together to help innovation to flourish. Cultures, he advised, can be changed and universities can help to sustain a more open culture; be assertive about the role and strength of universities in teacher education.
Dr David Spendlove and Dr Lisa Murtagh
Dr David Spendlove and Dr Lisa Murtagh from the University of Manchester were our guides in Manchester. David is Head of Initial Teacher Education at The University of Manchester and executive ITE director of Teach First in the North West. Lisa is Director of Partnerships and Teacher Enquiry at the University of Manchester.
Since moving into Higher Education in 2000, David's work has involved policy, practice and publications in a variety of areas including Teacher Education, Emotion, STEM and Creative and Critical Design Education. He chairs the North West ITT network and is a member of the DfE National Advisory Group for ITT. He has an extensive list of national and international invited research keynotes and publications and is currently a member of two international editorial boards. In 2013 David received an 'Outstanding Contribution award' from the D&TA for his work related to Teacher Education.
Lisa has been involved in ITT since 2000. She joined the University of Manchester in 2014, having previously been Head of School Direct and BA Hons Part Time Programme Leader at Edge Hill University, and Director of Primary PGCE at Newcastle University. Her research interests lie in enhancing practice in Initial Teacher Training, with a particular focus on trainees with parental responsibilities and also in challenging the janus-faced dichotomy often associated with Initial Teacher Training. Her approach to research is rooted in the qualitative paradigm.
David suggested to us that we look to find not just challenges, but significantly, opportunities in the current climate of ITE, again urging us to transform teacher preparation. What legacy should we leave behind? This is a global challenge as the number of teachers needed by 2020 is colossal and teacher educators are in a highly privileged position. We need to engage in risk as, without risk, innovation is not possible. Again we must reach for the sky, but David asked where the sky actually was …
Lisa was joined by her colleagues Andy Howe and Liz Birchinall to present some case studies of innovative practice. As we know from many TEAN events, the conference and the journals, there is no lack of innovation and exciting initiative out there amongst you all.
So what did the groups on the day present to us? The following is a summary of the main ideas presented by groups from the 2 venues. This is offered simply as a flavour of the presentations on the day.
Thanks to all delegates who contributed to these days. There are positive ways forward and Innovation in ITE is not a thing of the moment but something with which you and TEAN will want to continue to work as we go forward. Keep an eye out for further developments on this theme …