We begin this issue with an article from Anthony Hudson providing a focused literature review used to inform his study on the academic identity of Access Higher Education tutors. Drawing on literature from Anglophone and European education systems, his review highlights the challenges of defining professional identity and rehearses the argument for developing a deeper understanding of teacher professional identity. The review identifies a number of gaps in the literature, in particular the limited attention given to the academic identity of experienced or mid-career practitioners and academic identity in further education settings in general and Access HE tutors in particular. Matt Smith’s position paper discusses a dichotomy that lies at the heart of Initial Teacher Education – that many of those involved in pre-service teacher education identify themselves as social constructivists and espouse personal pedagogical practices that lean towards learner-centrism rather than didactic praxes but are obliged to teach in a rather more transmissionist style due to the exigencies and contingencies of the courses they run. The conclusions are that allowing adults to learn for themselves leads to both more effective learning and better teaching, but that within the parameters of the pre-service teacher education courses run at many higher education institutions in the UK, teacher educators often have to sacrifice their constructivist principles and anticipate that trainees will fill in the gaps for themselves.
Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses in England aim to provide sufficient subject knowledge in ‘shortage subject’ areas, such as mathematics and science, to enable those who attend them to then undertake Initial Teacher Training and to go on to become teachers in secondary schools. Catherine Bell’s article examines the learning experience of a group of SKE participants, and assesses whether this added significantly to their subject knowledge and helped prepare them for work in the classroom, comparing this outcome with conventional teacher trainees who had not undertaken such a course. Although this article reports on a single-site evaluation, her findings have implications for how best nationally to meet the challenge of recruiting students onto Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses in so-called ‘shortage subjects’ like mathematics. In her article Alison Baker examines the early reading experiences of white working-class trainee teachers. Primary Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) trainees who considered themselves white British working class were asked by to be interviewed for a small-scale research project. Initially the research project was focused upon the trainees’ identification with characters in books that they read as children, but the discussion ranged beyond this to the reading background of their families, their experiences at school and their views of themselves as readers now. In her conclusions she argues that allowing choice and freedom in independent reading is vital. Investment in a library of texts in primary schools, outside of graded reading schemes, may serve to mitigate the damage that library closures will do.
In each edition of Research in Teacher Education we invite high profile international guest authors to contribute to this publication. This month we are fortunate to have Professor Louise Archer, recently appointed to the Karl Mannheim Chair of Sociology of Education, at UCL’s Institute of Education as our guest author. Professor Archer’s primary research interests have been in identities and inequalities of 'race', gender and social class within compulsory and post-compulsory education. Her work encompasses research on Muslim pupils, the minority ethnic middle classes, British Chinese pupils, urban young people and schooling, widening participation in higher education and inequalities in science participation. She also has an interest in feminist theory and methodology. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for the ASPIRES project, a ten year ESRC-funded study of children’s science aspirations and career choices and is the Director of the five year Enterprising Science project. Previously, she was lead coordinator of the ESRC’s four-year research programme, the Targeted Initiative on Science and Mathematics Education. She is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Education Policy, Qualitative Research in Psychology, and Journal of Research in Science Teaching and is the Vice President (Education) at the British Science Association.
This number’s book reviews are provided by Janet Hoskin and Graham Robertson.
Gerry Czerniawski (2017) ‘Editorial’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.1). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-1-May-2017
University of East London
This focused literature review was designed to inform a small-scale pilot research project on the academic identity of Access HE (Higher Education) tutors. Drawing on literature from Anglophone and European education systems, it highlights the challenges of defining professional identity and rehearses the argument for developing a deeper understanding of teacher professional identity. It highlights the disparate theoretical frameworks used to understand and analyse the concept and the methodological approaches adopted. While there appears to be a greater consensus around methodological approaches – which are predominantly qualitative – theoretical frameworks used to underpin the concept are less well developed. Across the majority of studies, a clearly articulated and developed definition of professional identity is absent. The review identifies a number of gaps in the literature, in particular the limited attention given to the academic identity of experienced or mid-career practitioners and academic identity in further education settings in general and Access HE tutors in particular.
Keywords: Teacher Identity; Access Teachers; Access HE; Further Education; Academic Identity
Hudson, A. (2016) 'Academic identity of Access HE tutors: a focused review of the literature'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.1). Available at:
University of East London
This position paper discusses a dichotomy that lies at the heart of Initial Teacher Education – that many of those involved in preservice teacher education identify themselves as social constructivists and espouse personal pedagogical practices that lean towards learner-centrism rather than didactic praxes but are obliged to teach in a rather more transmissionist style due to the exigencies and contingencies of the courses they run. Teaching adults is different to teaching children, but where we are teaching adults to teach children, how do we plot a course between the two extremes? The conclusions are that allowing adults to learn for themselves leads to both more effective learning and better teaching, but that within the parameters of the preservice teacher education courses run at higher education institutions in the UK, teacher educators often have to sacrifice their constructivist principles and anticipate that trainees will fill in the gaps for themselves.
Keywords: pedagogy; andragogy; heutagogy; preservice teachers; teacher education
M Smith (2017) 'Using andragogy to teach pedagogy: expecting heutagogy – using against-the-grain teaching practices for desired outcomes'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7 (No.1). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-1-May-2017
University of Wolverhampton
Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses aim to provide sufficient subject knowledge in ‘shortage subject’ areas, such as mathematics and science, to enable those who attend them to then undertake Initial Teacher Training and to go on to become teachers in secondary schools. This paper examines the learning experience of a group of SKE participants, and assesses whether this added significantly to their subject knowledge and helped prepare them for work in the classroom, comparing this outcome with conventional teacher trainees who had not undertaken such a course.
Keywords: Subject Knowledge Enhancement; mathematics; PGCE; Initial Teacher Training
Cite as: C Bell (2017) 'Towards solving the recruitment crisis in maths teaching: the role of Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.1). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-1-May-2017
Leeds Trinity University
In Primary Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) trainees who considered themselves white British working class were asked to be interviewed for a small-scale research project. Six students volunteered to be interviewed. They all self-identified as women, and ranged in age from 24 to 52. Initially the research project was focused upon the trainees’ identification with characters in books that they read as children, but the discussion ranged beyond this to the reading background of their families, their experiences at school and their views of themselves as readers now. Most of the trainees remembered their mothers as reading role models. Most had positive experiences of learning to read at school, although this did not always translate into reading for pleasure. All trainees seemed to value reading fiction over non-fiction.
Keywords: Social class; reading; children’s literature; Initial Teacher Education; family
Cite as: A Baker (2017) 'Early reading experiences of white working-class trainee teachers'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.1). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-1-May-2017
University of East London
L Archer (2017) 'We thought we knew the landscape of literacy teacher education: ten surprises from our research'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 7(No.1). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-1-May-2017
University College London’s Institute of Education
The changes to the SEND (special educational needs and disability) framework which are outlined in the new SEND Code of Practice and the Children and Families Act 2014 have been called the biggest changes in special educational needs education since the Warnock Report of 1978. This book seeks to give an overview of the main policy changes in a clear and understandable way, and how these have been interpreted through a range of provisions and changes to educational practice. Both authors have considerable experience of educational leadership in both a school and national setting, and the three distinct sections of the book reflects this depth of knowledge and expertise, with an initial section on understanding the new policy changes; a second section on the growth of specialist and local authority provision; and a final section on how educators’ practice is changing across the sectors.
Part one describes the climate for change, discussing the 2010 Ofsted Report which criticise d the over-identification of SEND and unacceptably low outcomes, and the Lamb Report of 2009 that highlighted the lack of parental confidence in the old system. Although perhaps less ‘aspirational’ than was first hoped, the 2014 Act has still brought about major changes, such as the extension of the age range of SEND to 0–25 years; the joint working of local authorities, health and social care services to jointly commission services and to work together for joint outcomes; statements to be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans; families to have the option of personal budgets; the publication of a ‘Local Offer’ by every local authority; and the new focus on transition to adulthood. The authors make it clear that what underpins all these changes is that children and young people with SEND and their families must now be at the centre of everything, and that successful joint multi-agency working and co-production is key to move this from a dream to reality. This part of the book is particularly useful as it gives a very clear and concise overview of the main changes to legislation, which is helpful for those working within the sectors as well as parents trying to navigate the system.
The second and third parts of this book explore the ways in which various types of educational settings and local authorities are meeting these challenges. There is a wide selection of very interesting case studies showcasing some of the innovative ways of multi-agency working, such as Project Search, where post-19 years students from a Special school in east London work as supported interns in a local hospital in the hope of securing permanent employment; a mainstream girls’ comprehensive that offers training from Childline for peer mentors; and a charitable foundation that offers both day and residential services for those with complex and physical needs up to the age of 25 years including a Futures Hub day service and Life Skills Centre for those who are older.
However, the focus on ‘Provision’ feels slightly anachronistic given the emphasis on a new way of thinking outlined in part one. Perhaps it would be equally useful to read case studies of the young people themselves exploring how they have identified their aspirations and co-produced outcomes through person-centred planning, and how they are using both existing provision and personal budgets to realise these. It is of course early days under the new Code of Practice and we wait with keen anticipation to read about the creative pathways young people and families develop through this greater choice and control with regard to employment, housing, health and social inclusion. The case study of the Pathfinder Local Authority (Hertfordshire) is particularly interesting in this respect as it shows on a strategic level how agencies are working together to jointly commission and to understand the needs of families and young people through the implementation of the ‘Developing Special Provision Locally’ approach that involves bringing together school leaders, parents from local communities and members of the local authority to shape services.
Overall this is a very helpful book for everyone
involved in SEND, as the authors present the key policy points using a clear
and succinct approach, and include a wide range of interesting and varied case
studies to illustrate their points. Additionally, the ‘Questions for
Reflections’ within each chapter help to consolidate your thoughts and consider
how your setting is adhering to these changes in policy.
Review by Janet Hoskin (2017) 'Inclusive primary teaching: 'The SEND Code of Practice 0–25 years: policy, provision and practice'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 7(No.1). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-1-May-2017
Tutt, R, K., and Williams, P
London: Sage Publications Ltd. 2015
Reviewed by Janet Hoskin
University of East London
For those familiar with Ken Robinson’s TED Talks and previous writings on creativity and education, there will be few surprises in this timely new offering. What Robinson and Aronica continue successfully to do is to challenge at the deepest levels our assumptions about education and learning. There is always a thinly veiled streak of anarchism about Robinson’s ideas which echoes past educational thinkers like Godwin in the eighteenth century and Tolstoy in the nineteenth. This is a book to gladden the heart of any budding thinker who wants to raise their view of education beyond the tired present cul-de-sac thinking of comprehensive versus grammar or free school versus mainstream. Robinson and Aronica clear away these tired arguments and help us to free our thinking from what Miller (2010) described as the ‘cultural trance’ under which we labour and to see education in terms of new heights of possibility.
Robinson & Aronica boldly state their underlying philosophical approach so that the reader is left in no doubt that at the very heart of any education system should be the idea that every individual is valued for their uniqueness. This means that each learner has the right to self-determination; every student has the potential to evolve and live a fulfilled life; and every person carries with them a civic responsibility which must fully respect others.
The authors make clear in their introductory pages that there are four basic purposes of education: personal, cultural, social and economic. They explain each of these in turn throughout the book and align them with the overall aim of education as they see it, ‘To enable students to understand the world around them and the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens’ (p. xvi).
The role for individual practitioners is also made clear. If you are a teacher, ‘you are the system’. The authors exhort those responsible for the education of students to make changes within their practice and institutions, press for a rethinking of the overall systems they work within, and to engage with the wider global world around them. They call for ‘radical innovation’ which goes beyond simply ‘tinkering around the edges’ of the present industrial system of schooling. They argue for a change in thinking on how we live and relate to each other as both countries in the global context and local communities.
In each of the ten chapters that follow, the urgency of this message is palpable and is delivered with clarity and challenge. For example, in chapter 5 we read that teachers should ‘Teach like your hair’s on fire’ (p. 97), and are challenged to consider the thought that if we really believe that children are ‘natural learners’ why do they need teachers at all? (p. 102). For teachers labouring under the present regimes of micromanagement in our present school-effectiveness-dominated models these questions might seem irrelevant. However, Robinson and Aronica do see a vitally important role for the committed teacher to engage, enable, expect and empower learners. Great teachers fulfil three essential purposes for their students: to inspire them with their own passion; to foster in them the confidence to develop the skills and knowledge they need to become independent learners; and to enable them to inquire, ask questions, develop skills, in short, to allow creativity in thinking to flow.
The curriculum too is given a radical rethink, with a competency-based approach being recommended for schools to facilitate. Few would argue with the need for schools to exhibit the characteristic purposes of promoting diversity, depth and dynamism, but some might take exception to assuming a democratic approach as outlined on p. 152. Ultimately the approach advocated is one of personalised learning in which the individual is seen as a unique curious and autonomous learner who is facilitated and inspired by the educators they come in contact with. On p. 256 we are reminded that ‘effective education is always a balance between rigor and freedom, tradition and innovation, the individual and the group, theory and practice, the inner world and the outer world’. Education and learning is a complex process closely intertwined with politics. Robinson and Aronica remind us, however, of Gandhi’s quote that in order to be change agents, we must ourselves be the change. Reading this book may inspire you to do just that, or at the very least raise some serious doubts and questions about our present approaches to schooling.
Review by Graham Robertson (2017) 'Creative Schools'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 7 (No.1). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-1-May-2017
Robinson, K., and Aronica, L
St Ives: Penguin Education 2015
Reviewed by Graham Robertson
University of East London