A new paradigm for teacher education: supported, open teaching and learning at the Open University

Hutchinson, Steven and Wolfenden, Freda (2006). A new paradigm for teacher education: supported, open teaching and learning at the Open University. In: European Educational Research Association Annual Conference, 13-16 Sep 2006, Geneva.


In this paper we draw on our experience over the last twelve years with three large scale distance education programmes for UK teachers to suggest factors which need to be considered by those embarking on large scale distance learning teacher education programmes. We focus on three programmes: a pre-service programme in initial teacher education, the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE); and two in-service programmes, the Learning Schools Programme (LSP) and TeachandLearn.net. which have made been significant in promoting access, entitlement and diversity. We suggest that in each case the programme structure and design was influenced by the interplay of a number of factors: the nature of teacher professionalism; current policies and priorities; financial constructs; technological tools and the regulatory framework. A number of themes emerge from analysis of participant data together with evaluation evidence back from institutions and individuals participating in these programmes. These can be identified as: (1) linear versus modular structures; (2) the importance of broking between the university and the school settings; (3) interactions of programme elements; (4) the role played by contemporary forms of ICTs. We draw together our experiences and research data for these programmes to suggest characteristics of the next generation of teacher education programmes.

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