What do we want to know?
The Review Group wished to determine what evidence there is that the quality of initial teacher education (ITE) is influenced by its organisational structure, management processes and conceptual framework.
Who wants to know and why?
The review aims to support thinking and development in ITE at course, institutional and policy levels. By focusing on the evidential basis for relationships between structural components of ITE, it seeks to provide a starting point for informed action in terms of national and institutional policy. The report will be of interest to policy-makers, initial teacher educators (school- and college-based), and trainee teachers.
What did we find?
Of the 18 studies reviewed in depth, only five were considered to offer medium weight of evidence (WoE), and none offered high WoE. They were fairly evenly balanced between primary and secondary phases of ITE, and the majority were from the United States. The five medium-weight studies suggested the following:
One study found no clear evidence that PGCE or BEd resulted in better quality teachers. Another found that undergraduate students were more concerned with children’s learning, while postgraduates thought more about lesson planning and classroom management. A third study suggested that teachers from alternative teacher certification programmes felt least prepared in terms of pedagogy, but most prepared in terms of subject matter. Teacher trainees benefited from increased time in school and from mentoring. Each of these studies was considered to be exploratory, so the conclusions are tentative.
What are the implications?
There is a paucity of research in the area. Although increased time spent in school appears to be beneficial, there is no firm evidence on common issues and little agreement on issues at the level at which conclusions would be useful to providers or policy-makers. Future research needs the development of more refined databases, measures and methods, as well as development in the conceptualisation of quality.
How did we get these results?
A systematic review found 53 relevant studies, which were mapped. Of these, 18 were categorised as evaluations or explorations of relationships, and they were reviewed in depth.
The EPPI Centre’s reference number for this review is 1510. The full citation is:
Bill, L, Briggs M, Browne A, Gillespi, H, Gordon J, Husbands C, Shreeve A, Still C, Swatton, P (2007) Structures, management and process in initial teacher education: a systematic review. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.
To download the review, please follow the links, left.