Achieving Outstanding on Your Teaching Placement: Early Years and Primary School-Based Training

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Jonathan Glazzard & Jane Stokoe

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    Acknowledgements

    We would like to thank all past and present students, whose experiences we have drawn on to produce this text.

    Thanks are also extended to Richard Myers and Lehan Medlock who have kindly contributed to this text by providing case studies.

    About the Authors

    Jonathan Glazzard

    Jonathan has been responsible for primary Initial Teacher Training at the University of Huddersfield for the past six years. He also leads the MA in Early Years and Primary Education. Prior to his work at the university, Jonathan worked as a teacher and assistant head teacher in primary schools for ten years. He is currently engaged in research in the field of inclusive education and pupils' views of primary education.

    Jane Stokoe

    Jane works as an assistant head teacher in a Barnsley primary school. She has responsibility for the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and also teaches children aged 4 to 6 years. Jane also leads Special Educational Needs and Inclusion within her school and works in partnership with the University of Huddersfield to support trainee teachers, both as a link tutor and as a senior mentor. In working with trainees, Jane is able to share her expertise with them but also enjoys learning from them. She has taught for 35 years and continues to enjoy the many challenges and rewards presented to her in her chosen profession.

    Table of Acronyms

    APPAssessing Pupils' Progress
    ARGAssessment Reform Group
    ASDAutistic Spectrum Disorder
    ASTAdvanced Skills Teacher
    CPDContinuing Professional Development
    DfESDepartment for Education and Skills
    EPPEEffective Provision of Pre-School Education
    EYFSEarly Years Foundation Stage
    ICTInformation Communication Technology
    INSETIn-Service Training
    ITTInitial Teacher Training
    KS1Key Stage 1
    NQTNewly Qualified Teacher
    OfstedOffice for Standards in Education
    QCAQualifications and Curriculum Authority
    QTSQualified Teacher Status
    REPEYResearching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years
    ZPDZone of Proximal Development

    Glossary of Key Terms

    • Achievement Achievement refers to a measure of a child's knowledge, skills and understanding at a given point in time.
    • Assessment for Learning ‘The process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teacher to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there’ (Assessment Reform Group, 2002).
    • Attainment Attainment refers to a measurement of children's knowledge, skills and understanding at a fixed point in time against national age-related expectations.
    • Auditory Learners Auditory learners predominantly learn through listening. These learners will learn effectively through listening to adults and peers in either whole-class or group situations.
    • Community Cohesion According to Alan Johnson:

      By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people's backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community. (Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, speaking in Parliament on 2 November 2006. Based on the Government and the Local Government Association's definition first published in Guidance on Community Cohesion, LGA, 2002 and resulting from the Cantle Report in 2001.)

    • Creativity According to Hayes, ‘In short, creative learning necessitates a clearly formulated lesson structure, within which opportunities for pupils to reflect, think and be innovative can mature and enlarge, supported by a language-rich environment’ (2009: 14). Creative teachers:
      • allow children to be creative and do not restrict their ideas;
      • allow children to use their imagination in a range of ways;
      • develop a creative classroom which is resourceful, colourful, inspiring, imaginative and exciting so that pupils want to learn;
      • promote learning through first-hand experiences and outdoor education;
      • create imaginative contexts for learning so that pupils are ‘fired-up’ and eager to learn;
      • demonstrate connections between areas of learning, perhaps through the use of a thematic approach to curriculum organisation;
      • provide opportunities for children to apply skills and knowledge through the use of enterprise projects, play-based learning and enquiry-based learning;
      • provide children with opportunities to take responsibility for their own independent learning.

      This is not an exhaustive list and you will be able to generate further ideas of your own.

    • External Agencies Colleagues from external agencies work in collaboration with school-based staff and parents and carers to support the specific needs of identified children. These children may have special educational needs or may be vulnerable. External colleagues may work for education, health or social services.
    • Formative Assessment This is assessment for learning. It is usually informal and based on observation or samples of work. Its purpose is to inform the ongoing process of teaching and learning and to identify children's achievements, learning needs and next steps. It informs the planning process and helps to identify focused next steps in learning. It can take place within a lesson or at the end of a lesson. Formative assessment evidence may be collected from planned or incidental opportunities.
    • Higher Level Teaching Assistant This status provides formal recognition for staff in schools that carry out an enhanced role in supporting learning and teaching. Formal recognition of this status is dependent on the demonstration of specific competencies in relation to set standards. According to Hayes higher level teaching assistants are expected to contribute to ‘the full range of teaching and learning activities' (2009: 48), such as:
      • planning, preparing and organising lessons;
      • contributing to the assessment of pupils' learning;
      • working with individuals, groups and whole classes independently.
    • Identity The word ‘identity’ in teaching is often used to refer to a person's professional identity. Professional identity is shaped by a person's own philosophical position and the ownership of a set of guiding principles, values and beliefs which ultimately shape personal practice.
    • Initial Professional Development Initial Professional Development (IPD) refers to a planned programme of training to meet the specific needs of trainee teachers during periods of school-based and centre-based ITT. This includes:
      • the identification of trainees' targets on an action plan or individual training plan;
      • a planned programme of activities to address these specific targets including tutorials with academic tutors or school mentors, observing teachers in other classrooms, meeting subject leaders or staff with specific responsibilities, visiting other schools, personal research and engagement with on-line communities or subject specialist associations (not an exhaustive list);
      • reflection following periods of IPD activity on the personal learning and development that has taken place and the identification of future learning needs.
    • Kinaesthetic Learners These learners tend to learn effectively through first-hand experiences. They enjoy practical tasks and learning through concrete experiences. They may prefer to be more active than passive.
    • Lateral Thinkers Lateral thinking is a term originally used by Edward de Bono. Lateral thinking involves solving problems through an indirect and creative approach. It is about reasoning that is not immediately obvious and the application of new approaches to thinking and problem solving.
    • Learning Objectives Learning objectives are statements of intent related to learning. They describe the knowledge, skills and understanding that the teacher wishes to develop during the course of a lesson. Learning objectives (often referred to as ‘Programmes of Study’) are identified in the National Curriculum (DfEE, 1999) and the EYFS framework (DfES, 2007) (in this document they are referred to as ‘Development Matters'). They are often broad in scope and may need to be broken down into smaller steps.
    • Learning Outcomes These are focused statements which communicate clearly how learners can demonstrate success at the end of a lesson or unit of work. They should be written in a child-friendly manner. Additionally they should be differentiated to enable learners at different stages of development to demonstrate their learning and to enable teachers and children to recognise their successes in learning. They should be framed using positive language, for example: I can say the number that is one more than a number between 1 and 9. They should be measurable and support the child in evaluating their own learning as well as enabling the teacher to plan for next steps in learning.
    • Medium-Term Planning Medium-term plans provide an overview of a teaching sequence within a subject, area of learning or theme. These plans outline the intended coverage of specific learning objectives across a sequence of lessons and they may provide an outline of intended teaching activities and intended learning outcomes.
    • Multi-Agency Multi-agency working refers to a group of professionals who work together and in partnership with parents, carers or the child to enable the child to achieve the best possible outcomes. A multi-agency team may include professionals from education, health and social services. In many instances these teams support vulnerable learners or learners with additional needs.
    • On-Line Communities An on-line community refers to a group of people with similar interests who subscribe to a specific organisation/website. Through the use of discussion boards, blogs and other web-based tools, members of these communities can exchange ideas and resources. These communities are excellent vehicles for facilitating the development of reflective practice.
    • Parent Partnership Parent partnership is a broad concept and includes:
      • listening to the voice of the parent(s) or carer(s) when expressing views on all aspects of their child's education and care;
      • genuine partnership working which embraces the notion of parents and professionals working together to raise outcomes for all children.
    • Personalised Provision Personalised provision refers to educational provision which specifically meets the individual needs of learners. Effective personalised provision takes into account the intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs of learners and is therefore child centred. It also takes into consideration the individual interests and viewpoints of learners.
    • Professional Behaving as a professional is important in teaching. This relates to adhering to the rules and expectations of a range of stakeholders, including parents, colleagues, pupils and society as a whole, so that you do not bring the profession into disrepute. Your own ITT provider will have a Code of Professional Conduct which will intimately guide your practice.
    • Professional Learning Community A professional learning community refers to a group of people within an organisation who work together in a collaborative way to meet specific identified goals. Such communities embrace team working and the exchange of ideas and are united in a common purpose. Within a school the professional learning community includes all staff, parents, carers, pupils, governors and staff from external agencies.
    • Progress Progress refers to the measurement of learning that has taken place between two fixed points in time. It takes into account the child's starting point and level of achievement and represents an evaluation of the learning which has taken place between the two points.
    • Pupil Voice Pupil voice refers to the processes of seeking the views of learners, listening to what learners have to say and acting upon those views. The notion of learner voice views learners as active agents, who are capable of making decisions and taking responsibility for their own learning. Through being given opportunities to express their views pupils are viewed as equal participants within the learning process. The use of pupil voice affects the balance of power within schools; in schools that embrace pupil voice, power is distributed between learners and educators.
    • Scaffolding The term ‘scaffolding’ refers to the process of supporting a learner to reach a higher level of development. Children usually make better progress and achieve their potential when they are supported in the learning process. A practitioner can scaffold a child's learning through the use of modelling, questioning, demonstration or explanation. This is particularly effective when children have a specific misconception and through scaffolding, adults can support learners through this. Eventually the child will master the learning independently and will no longer need the support. At this point the child has reached a higher level of understanding and moved through their ZPD (see below). Scaffolding can also be used between learners and this is particularly effective when children at higher stages of development support children at lower stages of development. An application of this strategy is the use of ‘talk partners'.
    • Short-Term Planning Short-term planning refers to day-to-day lesson planning or weekly plans. It is developed on the basis of prior assessments of the needs of learners.
    • Socio-Cultural Theory Socio-cultural theory emphasises the importance of children learning through social interaction and first-hand experiences. It stresses the role of language within the learning process and recognises that learning is mediated through social and cultural values.
    • Statement of Special Educational Needs A statement of special educational needs refers to the formal recognition by the local authority that a child has specific additional needs. The statement is an official document which identifies the specific needs of the learner and ways that these needs should be addressed.
    • Subject Knowledge Subject knowledge for trainee teachers includes pedagogical knowledge (i.e. the knowledge of how to teach a subject effectively and how to develop effective pedagogical approaches for curriculum delivery and organisation for specific subjects and age phases) and subject knowledge per se (which refers to your own level of knowledge and understanding of the skills, knowledge and concepts within specific subjects).
    • Subject Specialist Associations Subject specialist associations have been established to provide educators with a wealth of information in relation to best practice within specific subjects. The organisations share resources, pedagogical knowledge and research with their members and thus such organisations facilitate the process of reflection. Many of these organisations operate through websites, but this may be supplemented through the use of regular journals, CPD courses or conferences. Case studies of best practice or practitioner action research are often shared with members of such organisations.
    • Success Criteria Success criteria are often referred to as ‘learning outcomes'. (See the definition of this term.)
    • Summative Assessment This is the assessment of learning and takes place at a fixed point in time. It provides a summary of the child's attainment at the end of a unit of work, a term, a year or a key stage. It may be formal but the judgement can also be based on continuous assessment of the child's learning over the given period of time. The outcomes may be communicated to parents or the local authority, for example statutory assessment tests or Foundation Stage profile scores at the end of the EYFS.
    • Visual Learners Visual learners thrive in learning contexts that make good use of visual imagery. These learners can often make sense of learning when information is presented in pictures, diagrams, models and through digital images. This is not an exhaustive list.
    • Zone of Proximal Development The zone of proximal development (ZPD), introduced by Vygotsky (1978), refers to the distance between a learner's actual level of development and their potential development. Learners can move from one point to another through the support and guidance of more able adults or peers. Teaching is most effective when it is pitched within this zone.

    Introduction

    At the time of this book going into production the education system in England is in a state of transition. The government has set out its vision for schools and ITT in its White Paper: The Importance of Teaching: The Schools White Paper 2010 (DfE, 2010). The document contains clear messages about the need to reform ITT, the curriculum in schools and assessment processes.

    In the future more emphasis will be placed on school-based training with trainees spending a greater proportion of their time in schools. In addition, training places will be offered to graduates with the best degrees and there will be a stronger focus on faster routes into teaching for graduates from good universities. Exciting programmes such as Teach First will be expanded and additional short training programmes will be introduced, with a view to attracting the most able graduates into the profession. The White Paper emphasises that teacher training must include a stronger focus on reading, mathematics and behaviour management. The future of university ITT routes remains uncertain and concerns have been expressed from the academic community about the new emphasis on the training of teachers as opposed to the education of teachers.

    In schools, the White Paper emphasises that teachers and head teachers will have greater powers with respect to pupil discipline. There will be a strong focus on the core subjects and the curriculum will be reviewed and non-essential elements will be removed. The assessment system will be reformed and accountability will be increased. The government also plans to ensure that all young people participate in education or training up to the age of 18 by 2015. The government has stressed its commitment to the National Curriculum and a review of the existing National Curriculum has been launched. At the time of going to print the government is reviewing the EYFS and there is uncertainty within this sector about the current framework and assessment processes for children in the birth to 5 age range.

    It is clear that those of us in the education community are living in times of change and uncertainty. We are in a state of transition. It is difficult to predict precisely what the future holds. At the time of writing the policies and curriculum frameworks stated in this text are current. The websites listed at the end of chapters are live and the criteria identified by Ofsted for grading trainees are taken from the current inspection framework for ITT. We are aware that policy will change over the next few months and years and that it will be necessary to update this text in light of this. However, we believe that this text will still be a valuable resource for trainee teachers.

    Each chapter includes practical strategies which trainee teachers can consider to support them during periods of school-based ITT. Examples are illustrated through case studies and there are opportunities for trainees to reflect on these throughout the text. The book is organised in relation to the current standards for ITT. However, we are aware that the current professional standards will be reviewed and may be replaced by new standards which have a stronger focus on subject knowledge. The Appendix shows which standards are referred to in which chapters. Links to theories and research are made throughout the chapters. The text does not have to be read sequentially, and chapters can be read in isolation.

    We hope that we have produced a text which is both practical and accessible. We also hope that we have succeeded in our original aim, which was to deconstruct the Ofsted criteria for grading trainee performance, by illustrating ways in which trainee teachers can achieve the highest outcomes by the end of their professional training. The ideas and suggestions in this text are based on our years of experience as primary school teachers and teacher educators.

  • List of QTS Standards by Chapter

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