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Learning Sciences in Teacher Education – Bath Spa University

Learning Sciences in Teacher Education

This project aims to give trainee teachers confidence in being able to read, understand, critique and apply relevant scientific research to their teaching.

Bath Spa University's Centre for Research in Scientific and Technological Learning (CRiSTLE) was funded by The Wellcome Trust to develop resource materials to engage trainee teachers in primary initial teacher education (ITE).

The project is based within the Bath Spa University Primary and Early Years PGCE and has been led by Kendra McMahon and Pete Etchells, with Alison Lee, Lisa Howarth, Kate Humphreys, Chloe Shu-Hua Yeh, Emma Arblaster, Darren McKay, Emma Asprey, Kerry-Anne Barber, Lynn Salter, Sarah Earle and Alan Howe. It was funded by the Wellcome Trust (2017-2020), bringing 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 prepare teachers to critically evaluate brain-based claims and to support children’s learning.

We have developed teaching and learning resources which are available on our resources page and at BathSpaData. There are resources for students, for tutors to use in sessions and for ITE leaders and tutors in England implementing the Core Content Framework for ITE in their curriculum.

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. This project began with challenging neuromyths and has built on this by taking an open and critical look at how cognitive psychology and neuroscience can become part of educational dialogues.

"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

Additional information

Press, media and publications
Supporting ITT core content framework

The documents below provide a summary of our debates and ways forward that we hope others will find helpful in planning and delivering Initial Teacher Education.

Click on the links below to view and download copy of the attached documents:

Image by Gabriel González-Escamilla

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