Sustaining teacher education: does where you learn to teach make a difference to the teacher you become?

Owen-Jackson, Gwyneth and Fasciato, Melanie (2013). Sustaining teacher education: does where you learn to teach make a difference to the teacher you become? In: PATT27 Technology Education for the Future: A Play on Sustainability, University of Waikato, pp. 378–386.


In England, as elsewhere, pre-service teacher education is subject to changing political directives. The last twenty years have seen an increase in government involvement, with government-defined criteria for student entry, course provision and exit competence Standards. Provision is regularly inspected to ensure ‘compliance’.

School involvement in pre-service teacher education has also increased over the last twenty years with the introduction of school-based mentors, partnership with universities and now full responsibility for the recruitment and training of teachers.

Currently, there are several postgraduate programmes available in the UK for those wanting to become secondary school teachers, but two predominate. These are the university-based Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and the school-based Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP), in which students are employed by schools as unqualified teachers whilst training ‘on the job’. In 2012-13 85% of new teachers qualified through a PGCE programme and 15% through a school-based programme (DfE 2012).

This study investigated these two programmes with design and technology (D&T) student teachers, with the aim of finding out whether there are differences in the professional identities they form. The research is located within that relating to teachers’ professional identity and explores an under-researched area, student teachers of design and technology. It also links to research in teacher preparation from a sociocultural perspective.

Government documents were examined and institutions providing PGCE and GTP courses were surveyed. This was followed by interviews and observations of student teachers as they progressed through their course, one group of PGCE students and one of GTP students.

The findings showed that the emerging professional identities of the two groups were similar and suggests that this is due to the macro-level context of learning to teach being more influential than the micro-level context. It also found that the two programmes attract different types of students and suggests that reducing the availability of choice would be detrimental to student teacher recruitment.

Viewing alternatives

Item Actions