Research Report University of Leicester School
Societies have been changing dramatically and the needs of people in all societies have become increasingly complex, varied and challenging. Education is one of the most important systems which enable people to cater for needs in such societies. Therefore, it has constantly to respond to new situations in traditional areas of need, and , constantly reconstruct its expertise.
As a profession, primary school teaching has been gaining importance in its role of developing productive and healthy generations. Increasing interest and responsibilities attributed to this area lead to educators trying to find more effective models to train primary teachers. Turkey is one of these countries which scrutinised and developed new initial primary teacher training models in order to have well qualified primary teachers.
The purpose of this study was to investigate initial primary teacher training systems in England and how the findings might lead to some recommendations for further development of the Turkish system.
In this study, first, the English initial primary teacher training system is described according to what was found by interviews and the literature in this field. Secondly, a survey was carried out of how well students and their trainers felt students were prepared and which components of their course they identified as having helped to prepare them to be primary teachers. They were also asked for suggestions to improve initial teacher training in England. In the final part, The Turkish and English systems are compared, and some recommendations are given for development of the Turkish system.
Many people contributed to this study. I would like to thank Prof. Maurice Galton for supervising the study. I would also like to express my thanks to Prof. Ken Fogelman for supporting all my studies in every way, for reading drafts and making substantial and helpful comments whenever I needed. I wish to thank Janet Edwards, Dr. Sue Cavendish, Dr. Roger Merry, Jane Hislam, Dr. Sarah Tann, Dr. Angela Anning, Pat Miles-Swatton and Roy Kirk for valuable help in many ways. I also owe many thanks to all the trainers and students who participated in the study as respondents.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the British Council who made this research possible by giving me the opportunity to study in the U.K.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nuray Senemošlu
The purpose of this study was to investigate English initial primary teacher training system and how the findings might lead to some recommendations for further improvement of the Turkish system.
For this purpose; firstly,
the English initial primary teacher training systems are described. Secondly,
an investigation was carried out into how well the students were prepared
to be primary teachers and through which components of their course, according
to the perceptions of trainers and students in their last term. They were
also asked for suggestions to improve their training. Finally, the Turkish
initial primary teacher training system is described; English and Turkish
systems are compared; and . some recommendations are given for further development
of the Turkish system.
This study was mainly carried out in three institutions which have different kinds of initial teacher training courses. Institution A has only a One-Year PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education); institution B has two routes, a one-tear PGCE and BEd (Bachelor of Education); Institution C has a one-year PGCE and an Articled Teacher Scheme.
Data were collected by reviewing
the literature, conducting interviews and administering questionnaires. Interviews
were conducted with six trainers who were responsible for initial primary
reacher training courses in each of the three institutions. Questionnaires
were administered in two of the
institutions given above- institution A (PGCE students) and institution B (BEd students). The same questionnaires were given to trainers and students to investigate how well they felt the students had been prepared as primary teachers and which components of the course had helped to prepare them. In this study all trainers in institution A and B, and one quarter of the PGCE and BEd students in their last term, were surveyed.
The data have been analysed in order to compare the perceptions of student and trainers and also to examine differences between institutions and courses. In addition interview data have been used to provide more qualitative insights.
Problems encountered in course design and in the teaching-learning process include lack of time for foundation subjects but not core subjects; controversy about how to teach and how children learn; difficulty in working collaboratively with schools; shortage of good schools; and inadequate resourcing of initial courses. Problems in assessing student achievement were identified in that tutors interpreted criteria differently even though they were defined explicitly.
All the trainers studied are in agreement about the sources of such problems, which are increased public expectations and government requirements; lack of time; shortage of money and the expertise of trainers. There is much general anxiety about the present and future role of initial teacher training departments and the confidence of tutors in the system.
In terms of differences
between the one-year PGCE and the BEd course, tutors pointed out that the
PGCE course is much more flexible, responsive, quicker and cheaper than the
BEd. Moreover they say that students on the PGCE are much more motivated,
mature and likely to show initiative as compared with students on the BEd
course. However, the weakness of the oneyear PGCE course is that it is too
short to meet the demanding
roles of the primary teacher.
The majority of PGCE, BEd students and their trainers felt that students were prepared adequately with respect to gaining most of the primary teaching skills, although there was substantial variation among the PGCE and BEd students in their perceptions. Areas indicated as perhaps needing greater emphasis included preparation in fostering children's whole potential; organising appropriate learning environments; managing teaching-learning situations; assessing children's characteristics; teaching foundation subjects as well as core subjects; and communicating with parents and all staff.
The majority of the students on the PGCE and particularly on the BEd believed that they gained professional skills more in the Teaching Practice component than in any other component of the course. Trainers felt that all the components had helped to prepare students. These results indicate that components of the course other than teaching practice- on the BEd, other school based experience, mathematics and science- might need further development to achieve their objectives.
Suggestions from students to improve their training were mainly focussed on the content and teaching methods of Professional Studies, Mathematics, English and Foundation Subjects; time allocation and application of Teaching Practice, Early Years Education and First Aid. Trainers' recommendations referred to time allocation of the course, relationships between the institution and schools, commitment to inservice education for newly qualified teachers, audio-visual media and other investment by DES.
In the light of these findings, Turkish initial primary teacher training, which is strongly theory based, might need a greater balance of theory and practice. That is, school based experience should be allocated more time throughout the training years. Hence, students will be able to integrate theory with practice. Curriculum studies, which include National Primary Curriculum subjects and their teaching in primary school should also be given more priority than Subject Studies which are designed only to extend subject knowledge. In addition, beside current courses which are equivalent to the four-year BEd, it would be appropriate to train primary teachers through a two-year initial teacher training course similar to the PGCE. This should not only result in more well-qualified and motivated teachers but would also provide a more flexible and responsive and quicker system in order to cater for the needs of curriculum development and of the school system.
Over the last two decades the quality of teachers and teacher training has received increasing attention from the public, parents and politicians. These issues have become a focus of public debate.
In most countries, governments are, therefore, seeking various ways of improving initial teacher training in order to have well qualified teachers. Although teacher training should be seen as a continuous process, the initial teacher training stage ought to help the teacher candidates meet their professional responsibilities.
Initial teacher training has to begin by asking what does the teacher need to know that is going to be relevant and useful, and what kind of professional characteristics must be acquired by teachers in training in order to enable them to help develop each child's full potential. Evidence from research shows that the preschool and primary years of a person's life are very important. As the early years in education have a significant impact on children's future attitudes and achievement (Bloom, 1976), the teachers with whom young children come into contact have a special role to play in influencing the development of future members of society, even though the influence of a child's home and parental contact is crucial in the early years, and other professions may contribute in their own way to the development of future generations.
Generally, development is interpreted as the result of complex and continuous interaction between the developing organism and its environment. The nature of this interaction enhances individual differences and leads to wide variation. Levels of encouragement and discouragement which children experience in their environment may influence their development. Therefore, as far as possible it is necessary to provide a rich stimulating environment for all children to develop well and to remedy deficiencies. This necessitates that teachers should know each child's development and how to foster it. Teachers can foster or limit children's development by preparing appropriate or inappropriate teaching-learning situations. In short, the teacher's task is to provide a stimulating environment that enables children to perform to their maximum potential (Galton,1990, p.26).
As it is accepted that learning is a change
in behaviour, then teaching is concerned with helping children to learn new
skills, to gain information and attitudes (Wheldall and Riding, 1983, p.13).
Therefore, desired changes in learning outcomes are a function of changes
in teacher behaviour (Tomic,1991, p.182). The effective teacher in the primary
school should be well informed about individual pupils, and discriminating
in the identification of their needs to help children's learning and to foster
development: physical, emotional, social and intellectual (HMI,1987). This
requires diagnosing children's needs,
13 potential and ways of learning, organising resources for the teaching-learning process, assessing children's achievement and also communicating with parents and other colleagues (Galton and et al., 1980, pp.45-51).
Bassey wrote of the primary school teacher:
"It is the primary school teacher who nurtures the cognitive growth of the next generation through the vital years of five to eleven; it is the primary school teacher who sets much of the framework within which attitudes towards the self and towards society and the world outside the self begin to form; and it is the primary school teacher who fosters the skill of communication, enquiry and creation which profoundly influence the patterns of life of the next generation It follows that the primary school teacher needs to be of high ability, to have high empathy for fellow humankinds, and to be effectively trained to carry out the many sides of the job" (Bassey, 1989, p. 32).
Wilson suggests three central tasks of being a teacher These deal with knowing the subject matter, caring about transmitting it, and understanding children. Student teachers should be enabled to learn and try out ways of thinking about content, organising it for learning supporting children to learn and the effects of these efforts. At the same time they learn about children as pupils interacting with a subject. From this point of view, much of teaching is conceptual and learning to teach requires reflection on one's action and its effects (Evans,1987, p. 127).
In summary, taking the responsibility of being a primary teacher requires that candidates for this profession should acquire the following skills: . Diagnosing the needs of individuals and their levels of development, . Catering for special needs, . Fostering children's development, including physical, emotional, social and cognitive, . Creating equal opportunities for every child regardless of gender, ethnic and socio-economic status.
Initial teacher training should enable new teachers to respond surely but adaptably and flexibly to their pupils in particular teaching situations, by finding themselves. How, Then should initial teacher training be carried out in order to meet the professional responsibilities attributed to primary school teachers?
The purpose of this study is to investigate initial primary teacher training systems in England, and, as appropriate, to use the findings to make recommendations for improvements in the Turkish initial primary teacher training system. For this purpose, the following questions are addressed:
A. How do initial primary teacher training systems work in England?
l. What kind of courses exist for initial primary teacher training in England?
1.1. What are the criteria of selection and admission
2. What are the components and objectives of
teacher primary training courses?
2.1. What are the main objectives of initial primary teacher training courses?2.2. What are the components and their objectives, of initial primary teacher training courses?
3. How are objectives defined, courses designed
students' achievement assessed?
3.1. What are the problems in defining objectives, designing courses and assessing students' achievement?3.2. What are the sources of these problems?
4. What kind of similarities and differences are there between one-year PGCE and BEd courses?
5. How well have the students been prepared as primary teachers, and which components of the course have helped to prepare students, according to the perceptions of students and their trainers?
5.1. Is there any significant difference between the perceptions of students and their trainers on how well the students have been prepared as primary teachers?5.2. Is there any significant difference between the perceptions of one-year PGCE students and BEd students on how well the students have been prepared as primary teachers?5.3. Is there any significant difference between the perceptions of trainers on a one-year PGCE and on a BEd on how well the students have been prepared as primary teachers?5.4. Is there any significant difference between the perceptions of all students and all trainers on how well the students have been prepared as primary teachers?5.5. Is there any significant difference between the perceptions of students and their trainers on which components of the course have helped to prepare students?5.6. Is there any significant difference between the perceptions of one-year PGCE students and BEd students on which components of the course have helped to prepare students?
6. What suggestions can be put forward to improve initial primary teacher training by students and their trainers?
B. How might these findings lead to some recommendations for the development of the Turkish initial primary teacher training system?
This study was mainly carried out in three institutions which have different kinds of initial teacher training courses. Institution A has only a One-Year PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education); institution B has two routes, a One-Year PGCE and the BEd (Bachelor of Education); institution C has a One-Year PGCE and an Articled Teacher Scheme Data were collected by reviewing the literature, conducting interviews and administering questionnaires. Interview were conducted with six trainers who were responsible for initial primary teacher training courses in each of the three institutions.
A questionnaire was administered in two of the institutions given above: institution A which has only a one-year PGCE course, and institution B which has also a BEd course. The same questionnaires were given to trainers and to students in their last term to investigate how well the students felt they had been prepared as primary teachers and which components of the course had helped to prepare them. In this study, all trainers in institution A and B, and one quarter of the one-year PGCE students in institution A, and of the BEd students in institution B received the questionnaire.
Developing the Interview Form and the Questionnaire
Interview questions were defined with regard to the purpose of this study, to investigate the English initial primary teacher training system. These questions were reviewed separately by five specialists in research and in English, and in primary teacher training. After agreement had been reached on the content of the interview, interviews were conducted with trainers in each of the three institutions towards the end of the summer term.
For developing the questionnaire, the objectives of initial primary teacher training were identified with respect to literature in this field, and from the handbooks of institutions which carry out initial primary teacher training. Then, in terms of objectives, questions were produced in order to ask for the perceptions of trainers and students on how well the students were prepared in these areas, and which components of the course helped to prepare students. All were also asked for suggestions as to how to improve their training. The questionnaires were prepared for both trainers and students and were checked separately by the same group as above. According to their recommendations, the questionnaires were rewritten and were administered to trainers and students at the end of the summer term in the 1990-1991 academic year.
Analysis of Data
Frequencies, percentages, Mann-Whitney U tests and test of proportions were utilized in analysing the data provided by questionnaire. Data gained from interviews were transcribed from tape records.
Frequencies and percentages were used to describe the perceptions of trainers and students about how well the students were prepared as a primary teacher and also which components of the course helped to prepare the students.
The Mann-Whitney U test was utilised to compare the perceptions of trainers and students; of one-year PGCE students and BEd students; of PGCE students and their trainers; of BEd students and their trainers; and of trainers in institution A (PGCE) and trainers in institution B (BEd). Test of proportions were used to compare the perceptions of PGCE students and their trainers; of BEd students and their trainers; and of PGCE students and BEd students on which components have helped the students to be prepared as a primary teacher.
INITIAL PRIMARY TEACHER TRAINING SYSTEMS IN ENGLAND
History of Initial Primary Teacher Training
In the second half of this century there have been four distinct periods in the training of primary school teachers (Bassey, 1989, p. 32).
The first was a two-year training for a certificate
"in genteel, cloistered, strict circumstances" in the early fifties.
The second was "a time of manque academic training in permissive environments
for three years" in the sixties and early seventies. This originally
led to a certificate, later to the BEd; in this time, the PGCE one-year course
accounted for a very small proportion, and was mainly for those intending
to be secondary school teachers. The third period was in the late seventies.
Primary teacher training colleges focused on professional preparation in school
and curriculum studies much more seriously than before and the four- year
honours BEd started. The one-year PGCE also attracted more intending primary
teachers (Bassey, 1989, p. 32).
Although traditionally the one-year PGCE course was the vehicle to train teachers for the secondary school, with the explosion of numbers in the teaching force , the one-year PGCE started to become a route for primary teacher training and recently a significant expansion in this form of training has been seen (Lawrence, 1987, p. 394).
In the fourth period, in the eighties, primary teacher training has been affected by political concern and permanent bureaucracy (Bassey, 1989, p.32). Since 1984 initial teacher training courses have been validated with criteria by the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (CATE) (Gilsoy, 1991, p. 12). Accreditation deals with the appropriateness of courses as a professional training but not their academic validation (DES, 1989, p. 1).
1. Initial Primary Teacher Training Courses
In England there are four types of initial teacher training. These are Bachelor of Education (BEd); Post Graduate Certificate of Education (One-Year PGCE); the Articled Teacher Scheme and the Licensed Teacher Scheme.
The BEd degree offered to initial teacher training students normally lasts for three or four years of full time study. BEd training mostly takes place in colleges, polytechnics or institutions of higher education, but the degree must be validated by a university or the CNAA (Council for National Academic Awards).
The one-year PGCE course is attended after having a first degree, usually in one of the National Curriculum subjects. Normally, it lasts for one year of full-time study.
The government has also recently introduced two new school based routes for gaining teaching qualifications, the articled teacher scheme and the licensed teacher scheme. The articled teacher scheme is a two-year postgraduate teacher training course where students spend 80% of their training in school and 20% in the university.
In the licensed teacher scheme, teacher candidates should have two-years higher education or equivalent, and they are trained by in-service education. This is usually used in fields where there are recruitment difficulties.
1.1. Selection and Admission of Students to Initial Teacher Training Courses
The criteria for student selection procedures and entry requirements have been defined by CATE. According to CATE criteria, institutions should ensure that candidates possess suitable personal,physical and mental characteristics to teach; all candidates must be given equal opportunities regardless of race, nationality or gender and must be admitted by personal or group interview. Moreover, all entrants have to have O Level in maths and English or achieve a grade C in the GCSE examination. For post graduate courses, candidates have to hold a degree of a British university or accredited qualification by CNAA which is appropriate to the primary school curriculum and subjects.
In this study, the trainers who were interviewed stated that candidates have to have GSCE or O levels in maths and English at grade C and three A level passes to be accepted for the BEd. PGCE candidates should also have a degree from a British university or degree equivalent in subjects that are part of the primary curriculum. One of these institutions accepts "mature students" if they have taken access courses which are specially designed in the last few years to encourage people to start coming into the profession and getting extra training. In addition, trainers stated that candidates have to pass a health examination and an interview before entering.
1.2. Academic Background of Trainers
When asked what kind of academic qualifications teacher trainers have to have trainers replied that:
"There are not any regulations about initial teacher trainers' qualifications, but in practice they have to be trained teacher with some teaching experience. They usually have higher degree, (master degree or doctorate) ...... and usually some publications.""I do not think there is any legal requirement. I think they must be qualified primary teachers themselves .... CNAA regulations now require people to have had at least one term of teaching in a classroom as a classroom teacher within the last five years."
All the trainers who were interviewed spoke of the criterion referred to as "recent and relevant experience". This must be within the last five years, and be with children of the age group in which they are going to train students. The reason for this rule was explained by CATE, "if tutors maintain and develop their teaching experience they will ensure that the training which they provide for students reflects the changing curriculum and needs of school"(DES,1989).
As a result, the backgrounds of trainers show differences. Some of them have a degree, some of them only the certificate of education.
2. Components and Their Objectives in Initial Primary Teacher Training Courses
2.1. The Main Objectives of Initial Primary teacher training for Primary Education
When asked about this topic, the answers of primary teacher trainers showed much agreement. The main objective is to prepare students for beginning teaching by meeting CATE criteria.
One of the trainers stated that:
"the overall aim is to try to produce .... a young teacher who is able to ask questions and who is able to feel confident to go out and try to find the answers."
One of them explained:
"we have, set objectives ...... they include things like awareness of the teaching situation and commitment to teaching, understanding of the teaching situation in the school, and catchment area, awareness and understanding of the individual children and their backgrounds, how this impinges on ability to plan lessons, ability to arrange an interesting and stimulating learning environment, ability to communicate with children, ability to keep order, but in this institution we also lay a lot of stress on what we refer to as the "reflective teaching model" and this is built into the criteria as well. Because at the and of this long list of things [already mentioned] is the ability to reflect upon the children's learning and ability to reflect upon your progress and to make decisions as to how you intend to move forward to improve tour own practice. So the idea of becoming a "critical self evaluator" and including that activity in the classroom is something which we put a lot of emphasis on throughout the courses in both PGCE and BEd...I think this is a very important objective to train or to educate people to be reflective practioners and should come before the other list of more formal ways of evaluating people"
One of the trainers replied:
"to make sure students apply their knowledge to school-based work , so emphasis is laid on the way they put things in schools ; to make sure that the work that they do in schools, during their training, relates properly to the work that we do in the university."
Most of the interview indicate that students are prepared for beginning teaching as a reflective practitioner and also to enable them to integrate theory and practice.
2.2. Components and Their Objectives of Initial Primary Teacher Training Courses
According to CATE criteria, every initial training course should include the components of "School Experience and Teaching Practice", "Subject Studies and Subject Application to Pupils Learning", "Curriculum Studies in Primary Courses" and "Educational and Professional Studies" (DES, 1989). CATE has also defined objectives for each component and how time must be allocated for them in every initial primary teacher training route.
Students' school experience and teaching practice: Students should gain experience in teaching practice and other school experience in more than one school. A total of 75 days must be allocated in undergraduate and postgraduate courses lasting three years or less, and a total of 100 days should be devoted to school experience in all four-year courses.
Although the institutions call the component by different names they have similar objectives. With this component the trainee teacher should learn how to foster children's development; how to cater for children's individual or special needs; how to plan a balanced curriculum; how to plan, select, organise and evaluate learning experiences within a coherent curricular area; how to manage a classroom effectively; how to assess and record children's needs and achievement; and how to communicate and collaborate with parents, other colleagues and staff. Moreover, they should be aware of contemporary educational issues, understanding the need for continued personal, professional development and a critical and reflective approach to teaching. Briefly, it is considered that school experience and teaching practice is central to the development of knowledge skills and understanding of primary teaching (DES,1989; Handbook of PGCE 1991; Articled teacher scheme, 1991-1992; Pathway of PGCE and BEd,1991).
Subject studies and subject application to pupils' learning: According to the CATE criteria in the BEd the time allocated for subject studies should be one and half years and a half year for subject application. In PGCE courses, subject studies relevant to the National Curriculum should be the equivalent of one and a half years within the student's initial degree(DES, 1989).
The objectives of subject studies and their application should enable the students to plan a sequence of lessons in the subject throughout the age range; teach and assess these subjects to the appropriate age level; and provide advice on subject content and teaching methods to colleagues who have specialised in other subjects. In summary, trainee primary teachers are trained as a specialist or consultant in one subject within the National Curriculum (DES, 1989; Handbook of PGCE, 1991; Articled Teacher Scheme, 1991-1992; Pathway of PGCE and BEd, 1991).
Curriculum studies in primary courses: CATE requires all courses for the primary phase to prepare students- so that they can teach and assess the core subjects of the National Curriculum. For this purpose, in every primary course at least 100 hours should be allocated to the teaching of mathematics, 100 hours to English, 100 hours to science. 60 hours of this time should be devoted to contact time in institutions. These courses should also prepare students to plan, teach and assess the foundation subjects of the National Curriculum, namely design and technology, history, geography, art, music, religious education (DES,1989; Handbook of PGCE, 1991; Articled Teacher Scheme, 1991-1992; Pathways of PGCE and BEd,1991)
Educational and professional studies: This component in courses should develop students' professional skills. Students should learn about the values and purposes of education, the development of the education service and the links between education and other institutions in civilised society. It should also enable students to understand children's development and the nature of teaching and learning within primary education. Students should obtain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for effective teaching which includes meeting individual needs, understanding children's learning difficulties, identifying children who have different abilities and helping their development, creating equal opportunities, and assessing, recording and evaluating children's achievement. In short, the professional studies component focuses on fostering children's development, the understanding of the organisation, management and evaluation of effective learning and developing the teaching role(DES, 1989; Handbook of PGCE, 1991; The Articled Teacher Scheme, 1991-1992; Pathway of PGCE and BEd, 1991).
For the initial primary teacher training institutions which were investigated, the components of the courses and the time allocated to them are given in Table 1.
3. Defining Objectives, Designing courses, and Assessing Students' Achievement and Problems in These Areas
3.1. Defining Objectives, Designing Courses and Assessing Students' Achievement
Trainers who were interviewed all agreed that one of CATE's roles is to define objectives for Initial Teacher Training on a national basis. The organisation of courses is the responsibility of teams of tutors in individual institutions.
In one of the institutions, the senior management team plays a vital role in designing courses and they also have teachers from local schools on the panel to help to advise. Small groups of colleagues put forward course design initially. One of the trainers stated that:
"Once the overall structure [from the small groups] has been formulated clearly we have big meetings until we can get the general structure designed and the general rationale ...And then under the polytechnic system we have to have this validated internally ....before it is allowed to be put forward for external validation by CNAA &CATE. It is much more rigorous procedure than the universities. Universities are not accountable to anybody. It seems they can do what they like, when they like, how they like, but here we have very rigorous inspection from people, from other departments."
Although under the polytechnic or college systems,
courses must be validated internally as well as externally, all the institutions
design their course structure to meet objectives, defined by CATE, as a team
of trainers who teach the same subject. They also try to maintain good relationships
schools by obtaining their recommendations about course design.
When trainers were asked about the balance of theory and practice in terms of primary teacher training course design, most of them shared the idea that they try to integrate both of them.
One of the trainers stated that:
Basically, the balance between theory and practice is bridged by partnership (school based experience) in the autumn term, developing the idea of the reflective practioner"
Another put forward this idea:
"One of the things which we try very hard to do is to integrate both of them. I think we find, more and more, that the idea of putting theory into practice does not work. What we, therefore, try to do is to encourage students to theorise from their own practice. „ To make explicit their own personal theories, to become aware that they actually have personal theories and then to critically examine those in the light of public theory. So we try theory out of practice rather than to put into practice."
All the trainers claimed that they try to integrate theory and practice and to prepare students to be a reflective practioner. However, their ways of integrating theory and practice and training students as reflective practioners showed differences. Galton pointed out that This debate has been maintained for many years In the 1970s, it moved away from applying concepts derived from the educational disciplines to the solution of the everyday professional tasks. In the 1980s, the debate has moved on to the point where attempts are made to codify the 'craft knowledge' of serving teachers by the observation and analysis of teachers professional discourse and to use it as a basis for initial training .... Such ideas have recently been grouped together under the umbrella heading of reflective teaching (Galton, 1991, p. 24).
Beside the designing of the course, another responsibility of teams of trainers is to assess student's achievement according to defined criteria. In one of the institutions, this team consists of tutors, an external examiner and school teachers who have received students on teaching practice in their classes. Another involves an external examiner if there are disagreements between the tutor, the teacher and the students. Another has an external examiner but s/he evaluates a random selection of the students
3.2. Problems in Defining Objectives, Designing Courses and Assessing Students' Achievement
There was, general agreement amongst the trainers interviewed about the routine of the problems encountered in defining objectives, designing courses and assessing students. Problems often mentioned included: conforming with CATE criteria for objectives, course content and time allocation; establishing courses about the teaching and learning process; assessing students' achievement.
One of the trainers disclosed the problems about the link of the objectives and learning-teaching process:
"Nobody really knows how learning happens, how teaching happens and therefore what to teach, what the objectives should be.... The other aspect is what you select that can fit in the limited time.. So I think the pressures come from l. the professional ambiguity and 2. what is appropriate and the practical constraints of time."
Trainers also indicated problems in the relations between objectives and designing the teaching-learning process, and also the controversial ideas, about the organisation of teaching, between institution and schools. "The problem is how these aims and objectives relate to designing the teaching-learning process. There is still a great deal of controversy over the appropriate teaching methods. The direction taken by schools and teaching institutions is some times at odds with research findings."
"It is not clear if training is best done by people like us who are not teaching all the time, or whether it is best done by teacher who are in the schools all the time .... We want to put students in schools where there is good practice but sometimes it is difficult to assess how good schools are. Perhaps not enough good schools are available." The problems in designing courses and teaching- learning processes also come from professional ambiguity and human resources."We do not really know how children learn and, therefore, we do not know what kind of courses we ought to invent. All teaching based on ideology. Every person you speak to has a different ideology and trying to get even two people to agree on anything is very difficult. Ideology plays a very much higher role than it otherwise might because of [professional] ambiguitywhen you do not know what you need to do."'The difficulty in designing courses is that there are differences between the different curriculum areas and between tutors' opinions within a curriculum area. Some people emphasise more work with children in classrooms, and other people emphasise more background reading and so on. One of the problems is also uncertainty really eg. not knowing in advance staff numbers. Everyone is in cost effectiveness and making the most of the budget ..... So at the end of the day it is human resources and time which are the problem.""A number of students and many tutors would like to work with informal groups and in workshops and we do, but as numbers increase it puts pressure on the staff, pressure on workshop space ie. money at the end of the day. If we want quality processes you have to pay for it. Money ensures good quality staff too."
Unbalanced allocation of time between core subjects and foundation subjects leads to problems in designing the teachinglearning process and catering for students' professional needs. Quotations to illustrate these problems from several interviewees follow:
"No problem with English, Maths, Science because of statutory requirement. But that eats up a lot of time in a course which is only 36 weeks long. Therefore the problem is in ensuring sufficient time is allocated to foundation subject courses. It is a big problem to solve-making sure its balances."
"We give priority to English, maths and science Because they are defined as core subjects by the National Curriculum.In fact, English and maths are already taught competently. Science and foundation subjects, (e.g. Art, geography, history, PE etc.) really need more priority because they are taught poorly.""National Curriculum and CATE emphasise the content of the core curriculum, (maths, science, English) and they have little to say about children's attitudes.""...Too much time is given to core subjects. but not enough time is given to arts subjects. Real attention is not paid to special educational needs. You have to be very sure what your value systems are, and often they are not the same as the CATE criteria."
McNamara also points out that the CATE criteria focus on the students' need to be expert in one or two subject areas. But it would be more suitable that the primary teacher should have gained understanding of the basic principles and processes within the National Curriculum subject areas. Moreover, it can be dangerous to stress the subject but not the child. To teach children requires awareness of children's psychological development and their cognitive processes.Although it is not claimed that the teacher's knowledge of a subject area does not affect pupils' learning, teachers also need to know how that knowledge is taught and how pupils can learn effectively (McNamara, 1991, pp. 113-128).
In summary, problems encountered in course design and the teaching learning process include: lack of time for anything but core subjects; controversy about how to teach and how children learn; difficulty in working collaboratively with schools, shortage of good schools; and inadequate resourcing of initial training courses.
Findings from HMI reports also support the ideas mentioned by tutors in teacher training institutions (HMI Reports 138/89; 127/89; 285/87). Problems in assessing student achievement were identified: although the criteria used in assessment were defined very explicitly, tutors still interpreted them differently. Tutors found difficulty in allocating students to grades A, B or C for a wide variety of types of course work. There were also many difficulties in the assessment of student presentations and group assignments. Quotations to illustrate these problems from interviewees follow:
"There is the problem of what happens if one person has not done very much and another person has done a lot more. In some modules we asked the group to mark themselves. And they have to decide as a group. Although this method leads to some problems in their social relationships.... It helps them to articulate their own theories of learning and to think about their own response to learning which we think is an important part of this reflective process... Therefore they are much more aware and become much more articulate about the learning process.""The assessment of teaching practice has very clear criteria set down [by the university department]. The student again is involved in marking themselves on their own school experience. We have three people marking in school experience. We have the tutor, we have the students and we have the class teacher. They have to sit down together and decide and agree a mark between the three... So again the students are made very central to their own evaluating process.""We still do not know enough about assessing adult learning and we still do not know enough about assessing school-based performance. I think we need to look very carefully at some of the industrial models of training. i e. in assessing levels of competence and assessing people in the work-place. We need to tighten that up."
In one of the institutions tutors pointed out that students have to be assessed in maths, science, English and one specialism, but they are never assessed in foundation subjects.
In every institution, if there is disagreement among assessors and students, external examiners make the final decision.
3.3. Sources of These Problems
All the tutors are in agreement about the sources of the problems mentioned. They are: increased public expectations; government requirements; lack of time; shortage of money; and the expertise of the trainers. Quotations to illustrate these problems from several interviewees are follow:
"Government emphasis on education as a 'vote winner'. We are being asked to do more and more with similar resources in time and expenditure. We need more time and more investment in order to cope with a more elaborate method of teacher training with greater partnership with schools.""We are all expected ..... [to be] involved in writing, research, administration and training, and if you look at the expertise in training, most of us have learnt that by doing it. In an industrial model we should all have been trained to be trainers.""Talk of teacher training being shut down. The only way going to stop that is by showing that we are actually effective trainers and that we have got skills and techniques that we have had some systematic training in ourselves""Requirements of NC (National Curriculum) and CATE; financial [which are the sources of problem]."
In conclusion there is much general anxiety about the present and future role of initial training departments and the confidence of tutors in the system.
4. Differences Between One-Year PGCE and BEd All the tutors studied pointed out that PGCE courses are much more flexible, responsive, quicker and cheaper than the BEd, making it easier to change planning quite radically and to make the training institutions more effective from one year to the next. Moreover, students on the PGCE know what they want to do as they tend to be much more mature and motivated than the students in BEd.
One of the tutors expressed:
"The biggest differences [between BEd and PGCE students] are experience and expertise of students with/without degrees and time."
Another stated:"The BEd. is more likely to be in colleges rather than universities. It is a slower process to plan courses. Often BEd courses are validated by universities or CNAA. But universities do not have to do that- they are autonomous."
One of the tutors who teaches on both of them explained:
'There is becoming less and less difference between them now. Partly because of the organisational changes in our polytechnic so that the staff who teach on one programme also teach on the other programme. We both adopt this reflective teaching model and so we both operate on the same kind of principles,. However, obviously the key difference is the fantastic time pressure which you are under on the PGCE because we have got only one year. However that year is becoming longer and longer because instead of only about 36 weeks it is now 42 so they start earlier in the academic year and we also make it longer still by asking them to do two weeks of observation at the primary school before they come on the course. We also ask them to do a week work experience on an industrial placement during the Christmas holidays. They are expected to do a one week work experience placement in one of the social services also during the Easter vacation. So we keep extending' the year. However, nonetheless it is tremendous pressure on time that the PGCE's are under. But it works out really that they spend almost as much time on the curriculum studies as the BEd. does. Because the BEd. students spend so much of their time doing their other field. So as I say there is less and less difference now between the two other than the feeling of pace and pressure which you get on the PGCE... At the end of the day there is not a lot of difference between them."
"...Very different kind of students when our students came in on the BEd. They are very young very immature. The PGCE students tend to be a brighter group. So you can teach them in different ways... [turning now to the advantages of the BEd] I think that particularly this reflective practioner model if it is based on thinking and trying to find out more about yourself and your own beliefs and how this affects your teaching takes time. There is not much time on PGCE course, so I think that if we are going to adopt a reflective teaching mode it is much easier to try to do that on a four years basis, you have -a lot more time to reflect and develop the spiral curriculum, and the PGCE tends to be more linear. Because there is not that much time for spiralling. ...I think what concerns me more than anything else is the lack of provision and support for continuing training and development. Once they start teaching during the probationary year and afterwards you can only do so much even if four years. Both are inadequate. What really worries me is not making that period better but improving the opportunities for training after you have qualified.""It is very nice if you can have two routes. It is quite luxury. But i think that it is quite a useful safety value. Both for those who decide they want to teach from the word go, they can make that commitment and those who are not sure and want to decide later also have that opportunity. So I think they are very lucky. Because obviously it is much cheaper for them to do a one year course. I am sure the government will be pushing that. They do not like the four year BEd. Because it is expensive, it is much less flexible."
One of the tutors who used to teach on the BEd. and, now, teaches on the PGCE explained:
"...[There is] some evidence that students benefit from intensive teacher training whereas they they have many experience problems, if they have several main subjects to study concurrently as they have in the BEd route. In BEd , professional training may begin only in the last two years after the main and second subject studies have been completed. The routes have moved together. Hints that future may support PGCE but not BEd. ... One year is not enough, there is no doubt about that. It is not enough to deal with with all the National Curriculum subjects, all teachers, for all the primary age range. It is really asking too much of everyone."
This idea is supported by Lawrence who argues that in a one-year PGCE course there is no time to develop sophisticated understanding and skills that professional preparation requires. He puts forward that, contrary to popular belief the students acquire considerable practical experience of work -in school on the PGCE course. In fact it is generally neglected that practice should be illuminated and enriched by theoretical underpining (Lawrence, 1987, p. 394).
According to Bassey, the present routes to teaching of the one-year PGCE and the four- year BEd seem to be unable to produce well trained teachers (Bassey, 1990, p.l). The weakness of one year PGCE courses is that they are too short to meet the demanding primary teacher's role (HMI Report: DES, 1988, 1989).
In the four-year BEd courses, the problems are created by the expectation of high standards for the structure and content of the courses in both academic study and professional study from the validating body (usually CNAA) accrediting agencies (CATE, DES, LEA), and by the institution itself making conflicting demands on time and commitment of staff from other courses. The expectation of BEd students that they will be adequately prepared both in academic study and in professional skills leads to weakness in this route (Bassey, 1990).
Bassey also claimed that "the criticisms of HMI, mediated by our own experience, should convince those of us in teacher education that the BEd is a poor vehicle for training for excellence" (Bassey, 1990). Moreover, some educators argue that the self confidence, professional skills and subject knowledge of the National Curriculum which trainee teachers need can be gained only in a two-year PGCE (Lawrence, 1987; Sassey, 1990; Rudduck, 1991).
HOW WELL THE STUDENTS ARE PREPARED AND THROUGH WHICH COMPONENTS OF THE COURSES
In this chapter, findings on how well
the students and their trainers felt students had been prepared as primary
teachers, and which components of the course had helped to
prepare them, are presented; together with suggestions put forward by students and trainers as to how courses might be developed and improved.
One-year PGCE students' perceptions on how well the students are prepared as primary teachers for the areas given are shown in Table 2.
As seen in Table 2 there was substantial variation among the one-year PGCE students in their perceptions of how well they are prepared. In most areas the majority felt that their preparation was at least adequate, but substantial numbers also indicated that they had had very little preparation.
The majority of students felt that their preparation was adequate or more than adequate in relation to: feeling confident as a primary teacher; teaching maths; teaching science and creating equal opportunities. However, with regard to preparation for fostering children's social, emotional and physical development they were less likely to feel this was adequate. In terms of catering for children's individual needs, constructing programmes, classroom organisation and management, assessing children's achievement, teaching English, teaching foundation subjects and working with parents and others they were most likely to respond "adequately" or "very little".
Comparable results for BEd students are shown in Table 3.
As seen in Table 3, the highest proportions of BEd students felt adequately prepared in relation to feeling confident as a primary teacher, fostering children's social, emotional, and physical development, constructing programmes, teaching maths and teaching English, although perceptions showed a wide range from "very well" to "very little".
Results related to the perceptions of trainers in institution A (one-year) on how well their students are prepared as primary teachers for the same areas are shown in Table 4.
In some areas the trainers' perceptions ranged only from very well to adequately: feeling confident as a primary teacher; teaching maths; teaching science; teaching English. In other areas- fostering children's emotional development, cognitive development catering for children's individual needs, constructing programmes, classroom organisation and management and creating equal opportunities for children- the trainers' perceptions varied from "more thanadequately" to "very little", but with the majority stating "adequately".
Trainers' perceptions varied from "adequately" to "very little" in the remaining areas- fostering children's physical development, assessing children's achievement, teaching foundation subjects and working with parents and others. The last area was the only one where some indicated there was no preparation at all.
Results for trainers in institution B are shown in Table 5.
As seen in Table, 5 for all areas the majority of responses were either "more than adequately" or "adequately" Their responses ranged from "very well" to "adequately", but the largest proportion of trainers felt that their students had been prepared more than adequately in these areas: feeling confident as a primary teacher; fostering children's cognitive development; catering for chidren's individual needs; teaching maths; teaching science; teaching English. In the remaining areas- fostering children's social development, emotional development, and physical development; teaching foundation subjects; constructing programme; classroom management and organisation; assessing children's achievement working with parents and others- although trainers responses varied from "very well" to "very little", the majority felt that their students have been prepared adequately.
Comparisons Between Students and Trainers and Between Trainers in Different Institutions.
Results of these comparisons are summarised in Table 6 Students versus trainers in institution A (one-year PGCE).
Students versus trainers in institution A (one-year PGCE):As seen in Table 6, There were significant differences in the perceptions of students and those of trainers in institution A about how much students have been prepared for classroom organisation and management; teaching English; and working with parents and others. While students' ratings in the first two areas were significantly lower than those of trainers, in the last area trainers' ratings are significantly lower than students' ratings (See Tables 2 and 4 )
Students versus trainers in institution B (BEd): There is no significant difference between the perceptions of students and of trainers in institution B on how well the students are prepared for primary teaching skills, although the perceptions of trainers are likely to be higher than the students' for preparation in many skills (see Table 3, 5 and 6).
Institution A&B students versus institution A&B trainers: When the two institutions are combined to compare students and trainers, there were significant differences between students and trainers with regard to preparation for "fostering children's cognitive development" (z=-2.05, p<.04), "classroom organisation and management for children's learning" (z=-3.23, p<.03), and"teaching English" (z=-3.23, p<.001). In these areas, students perceptions on how well their training had prepared them are significantly lower than the perceptions of trainers (See Tables 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6).
Students in institution A (PGCE) versus students in institution B (BEd): There are significant differences between the perceptions of students in institution A (PGCE) and institution B (BEd) on "fostering children's social development" (z=-2.07, p<.03), "physical development" (z=-2.93, p<.003) and "cognitive development" (z=-2.54, p<.O1) and "catering for children's individual needs" (z=-2.17, p<.03). In these areas, PGCE students' perceptions of how well their training has prepared them were significantly lower than the perceptions of BEd students. However, in the rest of the eleven areas there was no significant difference in their views of how-much their training had prepared them.
Trainers in institution A versus trainers in institution B: There were significant differences between trainers in institution A and trainers in institution B with regard to preparation for "fostering children's cognitive development (z=2.10, p<.03)"; "teaching foundation subjects (z=-2.95, p<.003)" "working with parents and others (z=-2.93, p<.003). In terms of these skills, trainers in institution B had perceptions which were significantly higher than the perceptions of trainers in institution A.
Which Components of the Course Have Helped to Prepare Students As A Primary Teacher
Results related to one-year PGCE (institution A) students' perceptions on which components of the course helped to prepare students as a primary teacher for the skills given are shown in Table 7.
As seen there, it is mostly Teaching Practice and Other School Based Experience which are said to have helped to prepare students in all of the skills given. For each of gaining positive image as a primary teacher", "fostering children's social, emotional development", "catering for children's individual needs", "classroom organisation and management for children's learning", "creating equal opportunities for children", "working with parents and others" the most frequently indicated components are Teaching Practice, Other School Based Experience and Professional Studies (respectively). Mathematics and Science components are also reported as having helped students in "gaining positive image as a primary teacher", "fostering children's cognitive development", "constructing programmes for children's learning", "assessing children's achievement", "teaching mathematics" and "teaching science". "Teaching English" and "teaching foundation subjects" are said to have been helped more by Teaching Practice than by English and Foundation Subjects components.
Results for BEd (institution B) students on which components of the course have helped to prepare them for the skills given are shown in Table 8. As for PGCE students, Teaching Practice is said to have helped to prepare students more than all other components. However, for some skills, Professional Studies, Mathematics, Science, and Foundation Subjects contributed, even if this contribution is not as great as Teaching Practice.
Results for trainers in institution A are shown in Table 9.
According to the trainers, Teaching Practice and Other School Based Experience have helped about equally impart the skills for being a primary teacher. Beside these two components, Professional Study, Mathematics, English, Science and Foundation Subjects helped the students according to their trainers, in "gaining positive images as a primary teacher", "catering for children's individual needs", "constructing programmes", "classroom organisation and management", "assessing children's achievement", "creating equal opportunities". Professional Studies also helped students to "foster children's whole development" and "work with parents and others". "Teaching Mathematics", "teaching English", "teaching science", and "teaching foundation subjects" have been helped mostly in Mathematics, in English, in Science and in Foundation Subjects components.
As shown in Table 10, trainers in institution B thought that mostly Teaching Practice and Professional study had helped students to acquire each of the skills. In addition to these two components, Other School Based Experience, Mathematics, English, Science and Foundation Subjects helped the students in "gaining positive images as a primary teacher", "fostering children's social and cognitive development", "catering for children's individual needs", "constructing programmes", "organising and managing classroom", "assessing children's achievement", "creating equal opportunities", "working with parents and others", "teaching mathematics", "teaching English", "teaching science" and "teaching foundation subjects" are said to be helped by Mathematics, English, Science, and Foundation Subjects components.
Comparisons between students' and trainers' perceptions in institution A: In institution A, there were significant differences in the perceptions of trainers and students on which components helped to prepare students with regard to many skills and many components (Table 11). Trainers responses indicated that Professional Studies, Other School Based Experience, Mathematics, English, Science and "Foundation Subjects components helped to prepare students significantly more than did students' responses. Perceptions of trainers are also significantly higher than perceptions of students about whether Professional Studies helped the students "to foster children's social development", "to cater for children's individual needs and "to work with parents and others".
Perceptions of students were significantly higher than perceptions of trainers that Teaching Practice helped the students "to teach maths", "to teach science" and "to teach foundation subjects".
Additionally, trainers' perceptions were significantly more positive than students' perceptions about the following components: the extent to which Other School Based Experience helped the students "to construct programmes for children's learning", "to organise and manage the classroom for children's learning"; the extent to which Mathematics helped to prepare students in "assessing children's achievement", "teaching science" and "teaching English"; the extent to which English helped to prepare students in "gaining positive images as a primary teacher", "fostering children's emotional and cognitive development", "constructing programmes", "classroom organisation and management" and "assessing children's achievement"; the extent to which Science helped the students in the "classroom management and organisation", "assessing children's achievement" and "teaching English"; and the extent to which Foundation Subjects helped to prepare students in "gaining positive images", "fostering children's' emotional, physical and cognitive development", "creating equal opportunities", and "teaching foundation subjects".
Comparisons between students' and trainers' perceptions in institution B: As seen in Table 12 the perceptions of trainers are significantly higher than the perceptions of students for every component except Teaching Practice. There are significant differences between trainers and students in the following components and skills: the extent to which Professional Studies had helped in "gaining positive images as a primary teacher", "fostering children's social development", "catering for children's individual needs", "constructing programmes for children's learning", "assessing children's achievement", and "creating equal opportunities for children", whether School Based Experience helped the students in "gaining positive images as a primary teacher", and "fostering children physical development"; how much the Mathematics component enabled the students "to gain positive images as a primary teacher", "to cater for children's individual needs", "to assess children's achievement", "to create equal opportunities", "to teach mathematics", "to teach science", "to teach English", and "to work with parents and others". the extent to which English helped in "catering for children's individual needs", "constructing programmes", "classroom organisation and management", "creating equal opportunities", "teaching mathematics", and "teaching English"; the contribution of science with regard to preparation for "catering for children's individual needs", "constructing programmes", "classroom organisation and management", "assessing children's achievement", "creating equal opportunities ", "teaching science", and "teaching English"; whether Foundation Subjects also prepared for "gaining positive images as a primary teacher", "fostering children's social development", and "catering for children's individual needs". In all cases, trainers' perceptions were significantly higher than students' perceptions about how much these components helped the students to gain primary teaching skills. In other words, whilst trainers believed that all components have helped to prepare students for primary teaching, students felt that they acquired almost all skills in teaching practice.
Comparisons between students' perceptions in institution A (PGCE) and in institution B (BEd): As seen in Table 13, in most areas there were not significant differences between PGCE students and BEd students, but where there were differences, PGCE students were usually more positive. PGCE students were significantly more positive than BEd students in the following respects: the extent to which Other School Based Experience prepared students in "gaining positive images as a primary teacher", "fostering children's physical development", "classroom organisation and management" and "teaching English"; the extent to which Teaching Practice helped students in "catering for children's individual needs"; the extent to which Mathematics also enabled the students "to cater for children's individual needs" and "to teach mathematics"; the extent to which Science prepared students "to cater for children's individual needs", "to teach mathematics" and "to teach science"; the extend to which professional studies helped students "creating equal opportunities for children.
On the other hand, BEd students' perceptions were significantly higher than PGCE students about how much Professional Studies prepared students for "teaching foundation subjects" , and Foundation Subjects helped students for "working with parents and others".
How Well the Students Are Prepared As a Primary Teacher
The majority of PGCE, and BEd students and their trainers, felt that students have been prepared adequately in most of the skills of primary teaching. However there was substantial variation among the students in their perceptions of how well they are prepared.
The majority of PGCE students responses indicated that they were prepared more than adequately with regard to creating equal opportunities for children and teaching Mathematics and Science. In terms of gaining confidence; fostering children's social and cognitive development; catering for children's special needs; planning curriculum; classroom organisation and management; assessing children's achievement; and teaching English and Foundation Subjects, the majority thought that their training was adequate. With regard to preparation for fostering chidren's emotional, physical development and working with parents and others they were likely to feel that they were trained less adequately.
The perceptions of the PGCE students' trainers generally were similar to those of students. However, trainers' reports of how well students were 'prepared for classroom organisation and management and for teaching English, were more positive than those of the students.
These findings were supported by many interviews and also suggestions given by students and trainers. Interviewees stated that graduates of primary teacher training are ready just to begin to learn to be teachers. One trainer said: "we do not pretend to train them fully in only one year, it is only initial training".
All the findings indicated that students gained professional awareness in many areas, but there seems to be a need for more emphasis on preparation in fostering children's whole potential; organising appropriate learning environment; managing teaching-learning situations; assessing children's characteristics and teaching foundation subjects as well as core subjects.
The majority of BEd students felt that they were prepared more than adequately with respect to catering for children's special needs and teaching science. They also thought that their training was adequate for gaining professional skills- in having confidence; fostering children's whole development; planning programmes; assessing children's achievement; and teaching Mathematics and English. However they felt less well prepared for teaching Foundation Subjects and for working with parents and others. Although the perceptions of trainers seem to be higher than the students' in some areas, there were no significant differences between trainers and students.
Perceptions of PGCE and BEd students were very similar to each other. However, in terms of preparation for fostering children's development (except emotional development), and catering for children's special needs, BEd students felt better prepared than did PGCE students.
This small difference may be explained by time restrictions on the one-year PGCE. Nevertheless, results indicated that even if the four-year BEd had fewer time constraints, it did not make a substantial difference with respect to how well prepared for being a primary teacher they felt. Moreover, the majority felt that their training was adequate in most of the areas, but also indicated that they might need more focus on teaching core and foundation subjects; organisation and management of teaching-learning process; assessing children's characteristics; and creating equal opportunities for all children.
These results are supported by some HMI reports, that both PGCE and BEd courses students were not adequately prepared for the assessment of children's learning, curriculum planning, fostering children's development and abilities, meeting special needs, and establishing relationships with parents and wider communities (Report 74/89; 188/87; 303/88; HMI Survey, 1987, pp.76-102; Bassey, 1990 ).
These deficiencies may appear because of the balance of time allocation between subject, curriculum and professional studies in BEd, and also within curriculum studies on the oneyear PGCE. Many interviewees pointed out that giving priority to core subjects- Mathematics, English, Science- led to insufficient training in Foundation Subjects.
Particularly, high expectation from the BEd course, which trained students both as a subject specialist and a professional, and lack of links between subject studies and their teaching might lead to deficiencies in primary teaching (Report 26/87; 138/87; Bassey 1990; McNamara, 1991).
Which Components of the Course Helped to Prepare Students to Be a Primary Teacher
Most of the students, on the PGCE and BEd, believed that Teaching Practice was most important in helping to prepare students to be primary teachers.
The majority of PGCE students indicated that Other school Based Experience also contributed to gaining all the skills of primary teaching. In addition, students said they had acquired teaching mathematics and science skills in Mathematics and Science components as well as in Teaching Practice components. Professional Studies enabled the students to create equal opportunities and work with parents and others. However, the perceptions of PGCE tutors were significantly higher than those of the their students about how much students had been helped in gaining many skills on many components. Trainers' responses indicated that every component prepared students with regard to their objectives. On the other hand, students' perceptions were higher than tutors' about how much the Teaching Practice component helped the students to learn teaching mathematics, teaching science,and teaching foundation subjects.
As mentioned, BEd students reported that they gained all primary teaching skills in the Teaching Practice component whereas their trainers felt that all components enabled the students to acquire the professional skills which were included as objectives in those components. In this respect, there were significant differences between the perceptions of trainers and of students. Although the perceptions of trainers were higher than those of the students about how much every other component helped the students to gain many skills, the perceptions of BEd students, like PGCE students, were significantly higher than their trainers about how much Teaching Practice helped the students to teach mathematics, science, and English as compared with subject studies in Mathematics, Science and English.
These findings support the idea that Teaching Practice is the heart of teacher training. Moreover, all worthwhile professional learning is experiental, including the acquisition of relevant and useful subject knowledge (Fish, 1989; Elliott, 1990). However , at the same time real practice should be supported and enriched by professional and curriculum studies so that teacher training can achieve its full objectives.
Professional Studies, on the PGCE and BEd courses, include among their objectives enabling students to understand children's development and learning; to plan and evaluate the curriculum; to organise the teaching-learning environment; to meet children's individual needs; and to teach and assess children's whole development.
Curriculum studies, core and foundation subjects, also include the objectives that students will be able to gain both subject knowledge and appropriate teaching approaches, including how children learn and how to teach effectively.
However, results for the PGCE and BEd students, indicated that professional studies might need further development so that students would be able to plan for children's learning; to organise, manage and evaluate teachinglearning situations; to cater for children's individual needs; to assess children's learning and, therefore, to foster children whole potential. HMI also suggested that "there is a need to strengthen professional work" (Report 86/87). In addition, the findings suggest that English and foundation subjects might need to be developed to enable students to feel confident to teach these subjects.
Results for the BEd students also indicated that other school based experience might need to be made more helpful for students in gaining professional skills. Moreover, Mathematics, English, Science and Foundation subjects seem to also need further development so that students can acquire appropriate knowledge of these subjects for primary school children and also understand how these subjects can be taught effectively to children.
Suggestions from the students on how to improve initial primary teacher training were focused on the content and teaching methods of Professional Studies, Mathematics, Science, English and Foundation Subjects- generally Geography and History; time allocation and implementation of Teaching Practice; time allocation of Foundation Subjects, Early Years Education and First Aid; assessment of trainees; attitudes of tutors; finding suitable schools and classrooms for doing teaching practice; and finally library facilities.
Although suggestions put forward by trainers sometimes mirrorred those of the students, the majority of trainers suggestions concerned course time and time allocation of components within the course; relationships among institution, schools and local authorities, and between tutors; teaching methods and materials, and, last but not least, commitment to in-service education for newly qualified teachers.
1. Time allocation of the courses: In particular, one-year PGCE trainers and students suggested that this route needs to be extended to fill some professional gaps and to obtain professional skills during initial training. Furthermore, 77% of students recommended that First Aid must be covered or must be compulsory, to enable them to cope with classroom incidents.
A sample of trainers' and students' suggestions in this respect are given below:
"Ideally a two-year course about 50/50 school and college. This would allow more theory, longer practice""Time is the biggest problem some sort of system involving a one-year PGCE. Ideally a two-year course about 50/50 school and college.""More early years education time""More specialist tutorial time""Having more time should be more opportunity for students to develop greater subject specialist skills.""No second field, more emphasis made on main subject""Partnership should be increased.""I feel when I start teaching in September that is when 1 start learning how to be a teacher. I do not really feel I can teach at the moment, even though I have finished the course. I feel I have got a lot to learn. I did not have chance to read material on reading lists this year. There is not enough time to do everything in a year. This training needs more time.""Not enough time to do everything. We just focused on certain areas and neglected others.""I feel that an aspect of First Aid for young children (early years) should be incorporated into the course.""First Aid need to be covered on the course.""First Aid course should be compulsory: no advice given how to deal with classroom accidents or individuals with asthma, epilepsy etc."
2. Professional studies: A Substantial number of students (75%) indicated that they need more in depth knowledge in professional studies such as how to plan curriculum, how to organise and manage teaching-learning process, how to cater for gifted and handicapped children's needs, how to help the emotional and social development of children who are abused or have social and emotional problems, how to assess children's characteristics. This should be through a better balance between theory and practice, and enhanced real case studies and applicable ideas.
Some examples are given below from students' suggestions:
"We need more depth in Professional Course. We just skimmed across.""A better balance between theory and practice. The more theoretical course work and also the more practical integration.""Professional course points you in the right directions but really it is up to you. I think we should have been given more practical advice on how to plan lessons and on what actually to teach.""Practical ideas, options, suggestions, discussions, etc. about alternative methods of classroom organisation for various situations, age ranges, subjects, this would relate across the curriculum areas.""I do not think we have learnt enough strategies for classroom management.""I think you find out classroom organisation by doing it yourself, by making mistakes.""Perhaps we could have more practic sessions to give as a "bank" of ideas to try out on teaching practice.""Sessions on case studies /senarios that might arise in the classroom- these could involve child abuse, social situations, emotional travma. e.g. death in the family, discipline, relationships- with parents/non teachers staff/ colleagues .... the course did not seem to me to address them.""More specific work possible some case studies etc.""In the professional course, more information /work an child abuse and children's social-emotional development.""Catering for individual needs: no advice is given on how to cope with individuals social problems whether it be child abuse at home or inability to mix in the play ground. These are vital part of primary teaching.""We have not been taught how to deal with distruptive children. Thats something really really important, otherwise you can not teach.""What worries me is if say you were taking ten and eleven year olds and you had a child that was really bright and needed developing a lot further than that, I do not think I would feel confident or able to teach maths, science to that child.""For assessing children achievement: more advice and suggestions for record keeping are needed."
Some of the trainers' ideas supported students suggestions about further development of professional studies and also they recommended that the time allocation for professional studies need to be extended.
"Professional course: Increase links between theory and practice by a) emphasising the usefulness of a professional journal b) working on real case studies c) raising common ideas in professional course and in other aspects of course.""much greater emphasis on practical work and demonstration appear to be required and valued.""More on class organisation.""We need to give more opportunity for bilingual situations. We do not give them very much opportunity for knowing things about children with special needs or severe handicaps."
3. English, mathematics and science: 75% of students suggested that they need to learn more about basic principles, the procedures and structures of Mathematics, Science and English, and how to effectively teach children to gain basic skills in these respects. Moreover, particularly how to foster the development of reading, writing and mathematical skills in the early years ought to be taught by real practical situations. Furthermore, students need to be given advance organiserssyllabus, outline of lesson plan- of lessons or components in order to understand objectives and methods- what they learn, why they learn, how they learn.
A sample of the students suggestions concerned with this matter are given below:
"Take us through a programme of developing mathematical skills from the beginning.""An understanding of the basic of science- especially for those who may have had little experience for some time.""An understanding of the basic of English grammarone can not build unless the building blocks are there.""Teaching English needed to be taught how to teach reading- this is covered in acceptable module, but is not compulsory and should be.""Maths and English need more practical attention with the BEd course which is on-going.""Science: for early year specialists more specific work e.g. actual framework lesson plans rather than 'just play in the sand' or 'knock nails into wood!' ""I think especially on the science course we were left very much to find out for ourselves, where I think it would have been a lot better if there had been more direction.""Personally , I am not a good 'learner by doing'- I prefer an outline of what I am expected to achieve before tackling whatever (syllabus).""We would not feel confident about going down to early years, we would not know how to approach maths or reading in the early years.""Development of reading and writing skills from the beginning with sample examples.""For early years, time spent on various approach of reading.""More time at junior level spent on teaching children to read and write."
Trainers also reported that more time should be devoted to early years education.
4. Foundation subjects: The majority of students (77%) and trainers agreed that foundation subjects must be given more time and attention. In addition, students need to gain varied and specific approaches to teaching particularly Geography and History in the National Curriculum.
A sample of students' and trainers' ideas to further the development of the foundation subjects are given below:
"There was very little time spent on foundation subjects. Especially history & geography also the teaching was not very well prepared. Drama and Dance were given far more thought and emphasis and yet these are only elements of another subject. They need more space.""Geography and history: lots more ideas needed and much more diverse approach to teaching these subjects.""Geography and history need to be taught and with clearer reference to the National Curriculum.""Computer studies: more very basic training needed, individually, for those with very little computer knowledge.""The emphasis is clearly placed on core subjects. There is little or no space for the cross-curricular areas. In particular, health education has been squeezed into art in the new degree. The student feel dissatisfied with this situation.""More funding and time for foundation subjects."
5. Teaching Practice: 73% of students suggested that they need to spend more time to gain experience with real, complex, practical situations in schools, not only as a block but also throughout the training years by having feedback about their integration of theory and practice and their implementation. In addition, students also reported that they need to be taught about observing, planning, organising and managing teachinglearning situations before and during teaching practice. For example:
"More planning for teaching practice before it begins.""2 weeks observation at the beginning felt by some to be a waste of time. I think observation is very important if you are just allowed to observe. But what you need first of all is to learn how to observe .... before ...be shown how to make observations ...right at the beginning of the course. One suggestion for 1/2 day each week to get together and discuss experience.""I think we need to spend much more time in schools on a regular basis throughout the year rather than just two six-week practises we should have spent more time ....in schools..."Teaching practice needs to be'spread throughout the year ie. one day a week plus block practice but some positive feedback.""We need more teaching practice -only two terms is not enough especially when they are seperated by more than a year (We have one practice in term 2, year 2, and the next one practice in term 1, year 4). It would be better to spent a long period (a couple of months) in school each year.""A gap of four terms between first and second school experience (teaching practice) one's confidence has diminished and its like starting all over again.""Teaching practice in the third year.""All areas of teacher training would be greatly enhanced if students could spend much more time in real classrooms, with real mixed ability groups of children.""However good the quality of lecture inside an institution, there is no substitute for contact with children which was sadly insufficient on my training course."
The majority of the trainers shared the students' view that they should discuss and give feedback about learning experience of students in schools.
"We need to discuss with students ways in which they can develop understanding of children, they need to talk about it, do it, then be able to come back and discuss it further. Needs to be more close connection between what we do here and the experience they (students) get in the schools.""We need more micro-teaching with use of more flexible tutor time for consultations by individuals (clinic time)."
5. Relationships among institutions, schools and local authotiries: Trainers considered that good and strong contact among institution, schools and local authorities should be established and maintained as part of the teacher training course. Thus, students can be trained more competently by having good conditions. At the same time teachers can also be trained through tutor-teacher interactions ie. inservice education.
"There is a great need to maintain very strong contact with an experience of school as part of the course.""Trainers need to be aware of problems in schools, need to do inservice work for local teachers, spend time talking to local advisers, inspectors etc. If institution is making demands on LA then institution needs to listen to LA 'listening as well as telling'.""We should keep closely in touch with class teachers by asking class teachers who have students in their schools to come into university for a day during teaching practice.""We should tell class teachers about course development and ask for suggestions to improve communication techniques and have guest speakers on important issues. Class teachers should be involved in assessment etc., head teachers too.""Genuine partnership between schools and tutors. Relationship with class teacher not head teachers. ie. at the right level.""Need to have colleagues/ teachers in the school to work more closely with us. ie. teaching the students and the teachers.""We should put on a course for the teacher-tutors."
7. Other suggestions: Other suggestions from trainers concerned collaborative work between tutors, tutors workload; teaching methods- enquiry based approach- and having more funds and audio-visual media with DES support. They also reported that newly graduated teachers should be provided with inservice education by local authorities.
These suggestions are illustrated by the following quotations:
"More collaborative work by paired tutors and panels of tutors.""Tutors should have lighter workloads in order to be able to offer students a better service.""More encouragement and opportunity to take a research/ enquiry based approach to teaching.""Videos from DES on these themes (constructing programmes, classroom organisation and management, creating equal opportunities for children, teaching science, maths, English and working with parents and others) to be made and distributed to ITE (Initial Teacher Education) centres.""Basically central bodies (NCC and DES) could do much to help prepare students and contribute to the raising of standards. Also ever worseing SSR's actually undermine quality and ITE centres need more funds."" Need more time, money and expertise.""I think the first thing would be guarantee by the government that they- newly trained teachers- will get further training, once they are started, of a systematic nature.""The links with INSET proved valuable. I think there should be more of these and a longer training or probationary year links with university."
Students other suggestions stressed more objective and general assessment, better attitudes of trainers and better library facilities.
"More assessment in general.""There must not be wide variety in marking of assessment and favour some students.""All the teaching staff must be very helpful rather than hindrance.""It was very difficult to get access to books from the university library. A bigger library with more books would be adequate solution."
In summary, students suggested that professional studies might need further development including how to develop the curriculum, how to organise and manage teaching-learning situations for helping children's learning, and how to cater for children's special needs by integrating theory with practice. In Mathematics, Science, English and foundation subjects students need to be taught the basic principles, structures and procedures of these subjects and how to teach them effectively to primary school children. Foundation subjects need to have more attention and time. Students also need to be informed in first aid. According to students, teaching practice would be better planned before starting and during training. In addition, it needs to be extended throughout the training years, not only as a block.
These suggestions are consistent with the questionnaire findings indicating which components helped the students most in gaining primary teaching skills.
The majority of trainers' suggestions concerned extending course time; developing relationships among the institution, schools and local authorities, being supported by DES with educational technology and more funds and commitment from the government for newly qualified teachers to receive inservice education.
COMPARISON BETWEEN TURKISH and ENGLISH
INITIAL PRIMARY TEACHER TRAINING and RECOMMENDATIONS for TURKISH PRIMARY TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAMME
1.1. Initial Primary Teacher Training System In Turkey
In Turkey, all the primary teacher training institutions have been under the control and sponsorship of the Supreme Council of Higher Education (YOK) since 1982. This body is responsible for designing the general principles of all higher education programmes, for approving promotions and appointments of lecturers and accrediting institutions administratively in order to provide equality and similarity among the institutions in the whole country. Hovever, it does not accredit them academically.
Until the 1989-1990 academic year, initial
primary teacher training took place in two-year higher education institutions
attached to a faculty of education or directly attached to a university. The
period of this training was extended from two years to four years after the
1989-1990 academic year by the decision given by the Supreme Council of Higher
Education on 23.5.1989 in order to increase the quality of teacher candidates.
Candidates for initial primary teacher training can be accepted by these institutions with regard to the scores which they have gained in the university entrance examination which is administered centrally by the Centre of Student Selection and Placement after high school graduation.
For four-year higher education- initial primary teacher training institutions, the outline of the teaching programme, which contains the title of courses, allocated time, credits and content and which would be applied in the 1990-1991 academic year has been prepared by the Supreme Council of Higher Education (YOK) taking into account suggestions from higher education institutions.
Although the courses which take place in each term, their time and credit allocation and themes, are defined by YOK, other responsibilities of curriculum development such as defining objectives, preparing teaching-learning resources, designing teaching-learning activities are given to the institutions. YOK also asked for feedback on the implementation of programmes designed by YOK in order to develop programmes through the coordination and sharing of experiences. Thus, this is intended to provide equality in primary teacher training (Higher Education Institutions Teaching Programme, 1990-Egitim Yuksek Okullari Ogretim Programi,1990).
In this programme, students are trained as a teacher for the age group from 7 to 11. As students who also want to be a teacher for second part of basic education- for 12-14 age levelcomplete successfully the first two years, they can take one of the eight subsidiary subjects according to a supervisor's approval in the third year in order to be a subject specialist in one subject. These subsidiary subjects are mathematics, science, social science, Turkish, pre-school education, art, music, and physical education.
The programme as carried out in the 1990-1991 academic year is given in Table 14, classifying modules with regard to the components of English initial primary teacher training courses. The allocated total time of each module has been calculated by multiplying allocated hours per week by the number of weeks in one term, approximately fourteen weeks.
As seen in Table 14 the Turkish initial primary teacher training programme is strongly theory based rather than school based. In this programme, Subject Studies are given priority as a proportion of time allocation (38%). The proportion of Subject Studies is followed respectively by the proportion of Professional Studies (30%), Curriculum Studies (26%) and School Based Experience (7%).
Subject studies cover various kind of subjects which are included in the National Curriculum for Primary Education, rather than specialising in one subject.
With regard to time allocation, professional studies, which include a variety of disciplines from the educational sciences are given more priority than curriculum studies, even though curriculum studies consist of Primary National Curriculum Subjects and their teaching.
In addition, a dramatically small proportion of training time is allocated to School Based Experience
1.2. Comparison of the Components of Turkish and English Initial BEd Primary Teacher Training Courses
Percentages of allocation time for Turkish and English initial BEd primary teacher training courses are given in Table 15.
As seen in Table 15, even if English students are also trained as a subject specialist, the time allocation for subject studies is less than in Turkey. Turkish system devotes the biggest proportion of course time to subject studies.
In the English BEd course, Curriculum, Subject Studies and School Based Experience have similiar proportion of time allocation, even though the time allocation of some of the curriculum areas was not distributed adequately as was mentioned by English trainers and students (See Table 1). In the Turkish course, proportion of time allocated to curriculum studies is less than in England although all the National Curriculum subjects are given approximately equal time, in contrast to the English system (See Table 14).
In the Turkish system, professional studies have the second largest proportion of time allocation after subject studies. In the English BEd course, professional studies has the lowest proportion of time. It is shown that Turkish initial primary teacher training gives more priority to professional studies than to curriculum studies, whereas the English BEd course allocates more time to curriculum studies than to professional studies.
In the English BEd course, whilst one of the biggest proportion of the course time is devoted to school based experience and teaching practice, in the Turkish BEd course the smallest proportion of the course time is allocated to school based experience and teaching practice.
Theory and Practice Balance
Teaching is a very complex, dynamic and demanding process which includes creative thinking, choice, decision making and exploration. The main components in this process are research, experimentation and evaluation. These constitute teaching competence- reflectivity (Hextall & et al., 1991). Initially, teaching competence is gained through the teacher training process. In the 1970's teacher training moved away from using concepts of the educational sciences to the solution of everyday professional situations. In the 1980's, it was put forward that professional knowledge and competence can be acquired through being the reflective practitioner who observes, analyses, and evaluates teaching-learning situations and develops judgements through experiental- teaching practice and other school based activity (Alexander, 1984; Pollard and Tann, 1987; Galton, 1990). That is, to be a 'reflective practitioner' is to gain understanding of situations holistically, to look at them from a variety of perspectives, to solve problems intelligently in unpredictable and complex, social situations and evaluate their own judgements and problem solutions. Hence, gaining this competence necessitates interacting with real practical conditions.
"The new professionalism" model which can be applied in teacher training also includes the following principles: 1Worthwhile professional learning is experiential, including the acquisition of appropriate and useful knowledge. 2- The professional learning curriculum should be made up of the study of real practical situations which are complex, problematic and open to a variety of interpretations from different points of view. 3- Professional knowledge should be enriched and supported by pedagogy so that learners can develop to become reflective practitioners. 4- The acquisition of knowledge can be fostered by interacting with real practical situations (Elliott, 1990, pp. 8-9).
From the points of view of the reflective practitioner and the new professionalism models, the experiences which are gained from real practical interactions play an essential role in acquiring professional knowledge and competence. However, Lawrence criticized particularly English one-year PGCE courses, "the theoretical underpinning that should illuminate and enrich the practice is generally neglected" (Lawrence, 1987, p.394). The majority of English one-year PGCE and BEd students' responses seem to support Lawrence's claim. Students indicated that they substantially gained most of the professional skills and appropriate subject knowledge to teach primary children in Teaching Practice (See Table 7, 8). They also suggested that they need more applicable theoretical course work as well as more practical integration. Moreover, they need to be taught more about planning programmes, the organisation and management of the classroom, catering for children's special needs, the assessment of children's characteristics and first aid before starting teaching practice and during teaching practice. Thus, in teacher training programmes theory and practice should be well-balanced to cater for demanding professional responsibilities and to enable students to obtain professional competence.
In contrast to the English system, in the Turkish teacher training programme, theory is given much more emphasis. 30% of course time is allocated to professional studies, which include separate disciplines derived from the educational sciences. Therefore, there might not be lack of knowledge in the professional subjects such as Primary Curriculum and Development, Measurement and Evaluation, Special Education, First Aid. Nonetheless, school based experience which enables students to integrate theory with practice is given dramatically less time (7%). Bassey pointed out that studying the theory of education without putting the experience into practice is at least ten years out of date, and continued:
"The days of left wing sociology, rats and pigeons psychology, ancient Greek philosophy and chantry school history are long dead. Theory today is about children learning to think, to understand, to create, to communicate, to relate to each other and the world; it is about teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment. The teacher training institutions work hard to integrate theory with practice" (Bassey, 1991).
In the light of these aspects and findings Turkish initial teacher training programmes need to give more time to school based experience and teaching practice which is the heart of the initial teacher training process. Hence, students can be enabled to integrate theory with practice and to become reflective practitioners.
In addition, in the Turkish initial primary teacher training course, Primary School Curriculum and Development and Introduction to Special Education modules taken in the eighth term- after all the school based experiences finish- might need to be repositioned, taking into account the sequence of students' educational needs. Because the Primary Curriculum and Development module includes planning the curriculum, organising teaching-learning process and evaluating curriculum, and the Introduction to Special Education module introduces students to how to cater for the needs of children who are gifted and handicapped, they should be taken before or during teaching practice if students are to apply essential professional knowledge in real practical situations.
In addition, Early Years Education which is taken only as a subsidiary subject ought to be compulsory since most of the primary school teachers and administators work in early years education. The entire range of primary education, therefore, can be provided from the early years to the middle years.
Subject and Curriculum Studies
The Turkish initial primary teacher training course does not train students as a subject specialist like the English system. The English BEd course is criticized by McNamara (1991) as it focuses on one subject instead of the majority of subjects within the National Primary Curriculum. He put forward that it would be more useful to ensure that primary teachers have a sound knowledge based on basic principles and processes within the subject areas of the National Curriculum, and to focus on children's development and learning and how to teach subject areas effectively. Suggestions from English PGCE and BEd students supported McNamara's ideas (See Suggestions section).
Although the Turkish initial teacher training course covers Primary National Curriculum subjects in subject studies, it is given the biggest proportion of the course time as against learning how to teach these subjects.
In the English teacher training courses, the core subjects, namely English, Mathematics and Science, are given priority in terms of time allocation. Trainers and students reported that other curriculum subjects- foundation subjects- namely History, Geography, Music, Art, Physical Education, Drama, Dance etc., need more time in order to overcome lack of competence in these areas (See Suggestions Sections). Even though in the Turkish system, the time allocations for all curriculum subjects are approximately equal, the total time devoted to curriculum studies is less than to subject and professional studies.
The findings indicate that Turkish teacher training courses need to give more time to subject application (curriculum studies), since curriculum studies help students to acquire the professional skills required for each subject area.
Two-Year Post Graduate Certificate of Education
Some of the educators in the English primary teacher training system claim that it can be more appropriate to train primary teachers through a two-year PGCE route, as primary teaching is crucial for the development of future generations of society, and needs dynamic and complex skills (Lawrence, 1987; Bassey, 1989, 1990; Elliott, 1990; Rudduck, 1991).
Trainers who taught on the BEd and PGCE one-year courses disclosed that, although the one-year PGCE has very little time, this route is much more flexible, responsive and cheaper than the BEd course. It can be changed easily with regard to needs and requirements from one year to another. Hence, curriculum development can be provided quickly through the PGCE course. Moreover, students who are on the PGCE are substantially more mature, motivated, and responsible and they know what they want to do and why they are asked to do it, compared with students on the BEd. In short, they are aware of the importance of being a primary teacher. However, this route needs more than one year to cater for the needs of a very challenging and crucial job - primary teacher.
The route of the two-year PGCE can be implemented into the Turkish initial primary teacher training system along side the four-year BEd route. People who decide to be primary teachers after having a first degree in one of the Primary National Curriculum areas from the faculties of literature and science can be trained as primary teachers by a two-year PGCE course. This route would cover knowledge of the basic principles and processes of the National curriculum subjects and their teaching as curriculum studies. Professional studies would consist of how to foster children's whole potential and how to guide children's learning; how to cater for the needs of children who are in special situations; how to design and manage teaching-learning resources; and how to assess children's characteristics. This component would also enable students to be aware of the educational system and relevant issues as well as how to communicate and educate parents and the community. Teaching practice would provide students with professional competence the ability to apply appropriate knowledge in complex, unstable, unique situations. Thus, this route can be more relevant to preparing well qualified, motivated, effective primary school teachers.
1. The time allocation to professional studies might be reduced by focusing on helping children learn- to think, to enquire, to create, to solve problem; fostering children's whole potential development; designing and managing teachinglearning resources and processes; assessing children's characteristics- diagnostic, formative and summative- to remedy developmental and learning deficiencies. The time allocation to school based experience, therefore, could be increased to enable students to gain professional competence by interacting with real practical situations including creative thinking, enquiring, problem solving and evaluation of own judgement.
2. In the professional studies components, some modules need repositioning. with regard to sequences of subjects and educational needs.
3. In terms of time allocation, curriculum studies which include National Primary Curriculum subjects and their teaching in primary schools would be given more priority than subject studies which are taught merely as subject knowledge without linking with primary teaching or education.
4. It could be more appropriate to train primary teachers through a two-year PGCE initial teacher training course in terms of having not only well-qualified, mature and motivated teachers but also a flexible, responsive and quicker system to cater for developmental needs from one year to another as compared with the BEd route.
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