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Enhancing the Learning Sciences within Primary Initial Teacher Education

Bath Spa University's Centre for Research in Scientific and Technological Learning (CRSTLE) worked with the Wellcome Collection to develop resource materials to engage trainee teachers in primary initial teacher education (ITE).

Led by Kendra McMahon and psychologist Pete Etchells, with Alison Lee, Chloe Shu-Hua Yeh, Alan Howe and Sarah Earle, and based within the Centre for Research in Scientific and Technological Learning (CRSTLE), this project - funded by the Wellcome Trust - brings together an interdisciplinary team of neuroscientists, psychologists, education researchers and teacher educators to design and trial materials with ITE primary trainee teachers on Primary PGCE or School Direct routes.

These materials aim to give trainee teachers confidence in being able to read, understand, critique and apply relevant research to their teaching, and help to break down communication barriers between teachers and scientific researchers. 

This will help them support children’s learning and prepare them to critically evaluate the claims and packages they may encounter in their future careers.

"This project aims to deepen our understanding of ideas, values and experiences of trainees and university tutors in relation to the learning sciences in ITE."

What inspired your project? 

Over the past decade, there have been increasingly louder calls for greater integration and collaboration between neuroscience and teaching. However, to date there has been relatively little headway made in creating practical tools that allow trainee teachers to develop confidence in assessing and challenging neuromyths and misconceptions about learning sciences.

"I enjoyed learning about new parts of the brain and finding out how little we know. I also learned how to recognise valid research and not just readily accept theories."

- Project student participant

Press, media, and publications

You can find more information regarding details of this study, as well as its outcomes and reports, via the Wellcome Trust's website

An in-depth exploration of the project has recently been published in Impact: Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching, as part of their wider issue on "The Science of Learning".

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