Learning to teach design and technology in university or in school: is emerging teacher identity shaped by where you study?

Owen-Jackson, Gwyneth and Fasciato, Melanie (2012). Learning to teach design and technology in university or in school: is emerging teacher identity shaped by where you study? In: PATT26 - Technology Education in the 21st Century, 26-30 Jun 2012, Stockholm, Sweden.

URL: http://www.ep.liu.se/ecp/073/044/ecp12073044.pdf


Technology education for the 21st century is a constantly-changing concept, so how do we prepare teachers for this?

In England, most student teachers take a first degree in their subject, followed by a one year teacher preparation programme. The one year programme can be university-based (PGCE) or school-based (GTP), although alternatives are available. Whichever route is taken, all teachers in England are required to have Qualified Teacher Status, which is conferred by the Training and Development Agency, a government agency.

The PGCE has been a major route into secondary D&T teaching but GTP numbers have grown. In 2008 for all teachers ‘employment-based routes … account for some 18% of provision’ (Furlong et.al 2008, p.309). In D&T figures were higher, in 2007 22% of D&T student teachers were on a GTP programme (TDA Census 2007), although this has since fallen to around 16% (TDA Census 2010). There are, however, some concerns over the effectiveness of the GTP route; Ofsted (2011) reported ‘there is proportionately less outstanding provision in employment-based routes than in HEI-led partnerships’ (p.3).

This study is investigating these two routes to become a D&T secondary teacher. The research is examining the students’ learning experiences and professional identities with the aim of finding out whether there are differences in the teachers who emerge from these two routes.

The methodology involved surveying institutions for details of their course content for PGCE and GTP courses. This was followed with questionnaires and interviews to a smaller number of institutions, asking students about their learning experiences and their self-perceptions of professional identity.

Initial findings from the survey seems to indicate that there is a lot of similarity in course content for the two routes, although more detailed analysis is still to be undertaken. Interviews have not yet been conducted.

The context in which the research is being conducted is one of ‘shifting sands’. The UK Coalition Government elected in May 2010 is introducing major changes to the preparation of teachers and many involved in teacher education are working in a world of uncertainty. It is hoped that this research will contribute to the discussion about the effective preparation of technology teachers for the 21st century.

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