Learning to Teach in the Primary School (2nd edition)

Arthur, James and Cremin, Teresa eds. (2010). Learning to Teach in the Primary School (2nd edition). London: Routledge.


Teaching in primary schools has sometimes been thought of as having a somewhat lower status than ‘real’ teaching – that is, teaching a proper subject in a proper school, which means a secondary school. Primary teaching, so the folklore tells us, is just looking after young children until they get to the ‘proper’ school – showing them how to hold a pencil, wiping their noses, telling them a story or two, but not actually teaching them too much of real importance. Those (fairly rare) teachers who have made the change from teaching in secondary schools to primary schools often find that parents, even pupils, ask them why they have ‘come down here’, the idea that someone might voluntarily choose primary teaching over secondary being a hard one to grasp.

Thankfully, at least in official quarters, the image of primary teaching has changed and we now recognise that primary school is a crucial period, perhaps the most crucial, in children’s learning. During this time children have to be taught those complex skills that are the foundation of all the learning they will do in the rest of their lives. It is primary teachers who teach children to read, to write, to manipulate numbers and to observe, record and question their experiences of the world, and who provide them with opportunities that stimulate their imaginations and expand their worlds. It is also primary teachers who help to foster positive attitudes and creative learning dispositions, as well as develop children’s interpersonal skills and collaborative capacities. Far from being seen as childminders with little expertise, primary teachers are now viewed as professional learning enablers, possessing a wide subject knowledge base and a rich understanding of child development and teaching and learning, both within and beyond the classroom.

This book serves as a core professional handbook for trainee teachers to support them as they develop their skills and competences, passions and practices as reflective primary teachers.

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