What the resource is:
This resource is a document of some thirty pages which highlights and explores significant elements of the Ofsted survey of Primary Languages in Initial Teacher Training, including its key findings and recommendations. In addition to summarising ‘key' findings, the survey seeks to provide more detailed evidence of the quality of teaching by trainees observed in school, with many examples, some of which are supported by concrete illustrations of good practice. In its attempt to evaluate the quality of the training provided by ITT establishments, this Ofsted report considers several factors such as course structure and the placement abroad, as well as effectiveness and management of the training. This report is a follow up to an Ofsted survey of the original five ITT providers, the evaluation report of which was published in 2003 (Primary Modern Foreign Languages in initial teacher training: A Survey (HMI 1768), Ofsted, 2003).
The aims of the resource:
This Ofsted report into Primary Languages in Initial Teacher Training aims to illuminate and explore the key points of a survey of ITT providers conducted by Ofsted during the academic year 2006/7. The purposes of the survey were twofold; firstly to evaluate the quality of ITT provision in preparing trainees to implement the National Languages Strategy in Primary schools by 2009/10; and secondly to measure the impact of said training on trainees' knowledge and skills.
Key findings or focus:
ITT courses are judged to provide good quality training for trainee language teachers.
Trainees are well prepared for their future role within primary schools, whilst the most successful examples of language training are those which are fully integrated into the primary programme.
The best provision is underpinned by effective communication and cooperation between all stakeholders within and beyond the institution.
The placement abroad is highly valued; it is considered that the chance to work in two contrasting educational cultures enhances trainees' ability to reflect on and critically evaluate their practice.
The quality of trainees' teaching is judged to be good. Deemed by Ofsted to be of particular note are trainees' enthusiasm, creativity and understanding of the place and value of languages within the primary curriculum.
Areas considered less successful are trainees' use of target language (TL), their work with bilingual pupils, involvement of other adults, planning and assessment over time and preparation of pupils for transition to secondary school.
Transition is a key area for development; whilst most trainees have developed an understanding of the challenges this presents, few have first-hand experience of the work done within secondary schools to build on primary experience.
A shortage of MFL specialist mentors in Primary is a hindrance. Many trainees do not get the opportunity to observe good Languages teaching; consequently much of the feedback received is from a non-specialist.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
This is an Ofsted document and as such should not be regarded as independent research. Nevertheless, there are some useful pointers and some credible observations with concrete illustrations.
Of the 30 established providers of Primary Languages, 10 were visited twice during the academic year 2006/7 whilst a further 19 took part in a telephone survey. However, the absence of raw data and of statistics regarding percentages of lessons and/or of Initial teacher training sessions judged at each grade is an unfortunate omission.
The report is well presented, easily digestible and of interest and relevance to teacher educators, mentors and trainees alike.
Finally, although the age group is defined as 7-14, the report clearly specifies ‘Primary'.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
Key findings and recommendations may be helpful when conducting a self-evaluation of course content and organisation. The observations on p7 (‘Providers of ITT should...') are particularly relevant.
The development of stronger cross-curricular links between departments in ITT would help to model the more integrated approach favoured in the primary curriculum.
The key finding regarding a shortage of specialist mentors is significant. More training of mentors, coupled with encouragement of former ITT MFL trainees to become school mentors would help to address this issue.
The relevance to ITE students:
The longest section in this report considers trainees' teaching and raises important issues regarding their strengths and areas of development.
Key findings and recommendations are focused and relevant and may serve as a useful benchmark for the reflective student, whilst the addition of examples illustrations is of particular use to ITE students.
In addition, the use of subheadings and of short, digestible extracts serves to make this report user-friendly and easily navigable.
The following might be useful to read in conjunction with this resource:
Languages: the next generation. The final report and recommendations of the Nuffield Languages Inquiry (ISBN 1902985029), The Nuffield Foundation, 2000.
Primary Modern Foreign Languages in Initial Teacher Training: A Survey (HMI 1768), Ofsted, 2003.
transition, assessment, primary, languages, ITT, impact
Article Id : 14263
Date Posted: 9/5/2008