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“If you listed everything that all the experts we spoke to as part of the Carter review said was essential for the basic understanding a newteacher needed, it adds up to five years [of training],” states professor Samantha Twiselton, director of the Sheffield Institute of Education, on this week’s Tes Podagogy podcast. “There would be nothing on that list you would disagree with, but it is completely unrealistic [in the timeframe we have].”

Initial Teacher Training is regularly criticised on social media and by some in the DfE, with accusations about ideological bias and ‘missing’ elements. On the latter, professor Twistelton is clear that – as her quote above demonstrates - too much is expected of ITT in the time they have, and she adds that often people misunderstand the timeline of a developing teacher.

“We need a better understanding of the stages of development a trainee teacher will go through,” she says. “Early on they do need lots of practical things, until they have got the behaviour and routines sorted, and know it is not going to go completely wrong for them. We have to recognise that the bigger picture has to come a little later in the course.”

As for the ideological criticism, she explains that the nature of ITT means such a one-sided approach would be impossible.

In a wide-ranging discussion, professor Twiselton also talks about the role of research in ITT, how schools can best support trainees, and the importance of behaviour management quick wins.

 

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