RESEARCHERS from Oxford University’s Department of Education contributed to a major report examining the professional development of teachers in UK classrooms.
Dr Katharine Burn and Trevor Mutton examined a number of innovative teacher trainee programmes.
They found ‘clinical practice’, which combines classroom practice with research-based knowledge, improves the learning and confidence of new teachers and prepares them better for their first teaching post.
Dr Burn said: “Substantial classroom experience and opportunities to learn from the observation of experienced teachers are essential components of effective courses, but they are not sufficient if we want our trainees to become more than clones.
“Professionals, capable of responding to new and different challenges, also need to understand and look critically at the grounds on which suggestions or demonstrations of what works are actually based.”
The researchers concluded the way programmes are structured rather than simply the amount of time spent in school is what matters.
Their findings came in one of seven papers for an inquiry by the British Education Research Association (BERA), and The Royal Society of Arts (RSA), which launched its overall report this month.
The inquiry was chaired by Prof John Furlong of Oxford University’s Department of Education.
Prof Ian Menter, also of the university’s Department of Education, is currently president of BERA and a member of the Inquiry Steering Group.