Do different models of teacher preparation produce different outcomes?
There is a major policy debate nationally – and indeed internationally – about the efficacy of different approaches to teacher education in the light of the challenges of preparing teachers for twenty-first centrury schools. The sector in England now embraces a wide range of routes through teacher education.
This diverse choice of routes is the backdrop to our study and underpins our key research question:
Do different modes of teacher preparation produce different outcomes?
'Perhaps the clearest message from generating this topography is the complexity of provision and the failure of published data to reflect this.'
Over recent years the routes that individuals can take to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS), i.e. the most widely recognised qualification equipping someone for practising teaching, have been diversifying. The multiplication of options has been led by various policy agendas, one of which is to shift the location of teacher preparation to the workplace - the schools.
The range of possibilities from which to choose has been becoming bewildering. Often the choices are explained to potential applicants simplistically, for example, as school based or not school based. As a result, the terminology and the general complexity in the field present a real problem for us in pursuing our goal of unpicking the models and subsequently, looking at their outcomes.
The members of the DiTE project team decided early on that it was necessary to carry out a mapping exercise using information available from national databases on teacher preparation routes. This topography forms the start point for the three further elements of the DiTE project (listed below)
We are pleased to present Towards a new topography of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) as the first in a series of occasional papers from the Institute for Education (IfE).
Our research questions
In generating the topography of the routes to qualified teacher status (QTS) for the year 2016/17, our target is to address the question:
What are the new routes to qualified teacher status? Building on this, the data permit us to enquire:
How do these contemporary routes differ from earlier ones and how are trainees distributed across them?
Policy and theory
The policy and theory dimension of the DiTE work gives us space to summarise and theorise the work for the study as it proceeds. We will address the question:
What are we learning about the different modes of teacher preparation in contemporary contexts and what can we conclude about the current state of ITE?
A focus on macro data allows us to approach our central question from a fresh angle. Adopting a quantative stance, we enquire:
Do the different models of teacher preparation produce different outcomes?
Further we ask: To what extent and how robustly captured systematically by the extant statistical data
Finally, for our qualitative fieldwork, we address the following:
What are the characteristics of different routes/pathways and how are they experienced differently?
Subsequently, we want to ask: With what effects?