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Which school-based elements of partnership in initial teacher training in the UK support trainee teachers’ professional development?

What do we want to know?

Partnerships involve collaboration and co-operation between Higher Education Institutions and schools, with the objective of providing quality initial teacher training (ITT) experiences for trainee teachers. Successful partnerships are considered important in ensuring the best experiences for ITT students across primary and secondary courses.  In 1992, the Government set out its requirements for the accreditation of secondary phase ITT for England and Wales; a similar document for primary ITT providers was issued in 1993. There was much that was new in these documents and their implementation required a fundamental change to the design, organisation and management of ITT. These changes form the basis for the current partnership system. The purpose of this review is to identify and synthesise research evidence pertaining to the school-based elements of partnership and how they support trainee teachers following the changes implemented in 1992-93.

Who wants to know?

Policy-makers, teachers, those involved in teacher education.

What did we find?  

Because the weight of evidence was low, these findings should be considered tentative:

  • Trainee teachers’ professional development is supported by regular constructive feedback. Regular oral feedback offers the chance for constructive dialogue between the trainee teacher and supervising teacher on issues of immediate concern and practical relevance. Written feedback is linked more with long-term development and identification of aspects that the trainee should strive to improve in the longer term
  • The following professional skills are supported and developed through experiences in which two students are placed together in a single classroom: organisation and management, compromise, communication, problem solving, sharing tasks and teamwork.

What are the implications?

  • There appears to be a dearth of research into what schools do in partnership – either there has been no in-depth research into what schools actually do; or schools do little in the organisation and management of the partnership, apart from providing a classroom and a supervising teacher. The review would suggest the need for research to examine how schools within a partnership support students, in order to identify not just perceptions of experience but criteria for specific – and effective – practices.

  • If this systematic review reflects accurately the dearth and poor quality of research into the school-based elements of partnership, then partnership – even where it includes the many facets in the original Government Circulars – still may not achieve a level of depth and quality to support trainees as future teachers.

How did we get these results?

Two studies were reviewed in depth, but their weight of evidence was considered low.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI Centre

This report should be cited as: Moyles J, Stuart D (2003) Which school-based elements of partnership in initial teacher training in the UK support trainee teachers’ professional development? In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

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