View full size project poster (pdf)
What the resource is:
This is a website resource promoting and enabling access to an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) funded project at the University of Ulster. The project is part of the ESRC’s TLRP (Teaching and Learning Research Programme), and its website is linked to the ESRC main TLRP pages, in itself a useful resource for ITE planning and development.
The aims of the resource:
The website aims to inform educators and researchers about the project through access to a project poster and to the main site where research findings will presumably be posted. (Access to the main project site, however, was not possible on 20th June 2006, when I reviewed this resource; it will be interesting to see it when it becomes ‘live’. The poster and the project summary were the sources I used for this review. I have emailed the project contact but, at publication, have not received a reply yet).
The project is investigating the area of values in Initial Teacher Education (ITE), teacher induction and early professional development (EPD) ‘within the context of a government review of the future of teacher education in Northern Ireland (NI)’ and within the additional contexts of changing school curricula (and selection procedures) and an increased emphasis in schools on ‘values and skills-based learning, personal, social and health education, and citizenship’. This area of research has resonances with developments and issues in the rest of the UK education system, especially in relation to diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource from a subject perspective and in relation to ITE:
From a subject perspective (values education and professional standards in initial teacher education and continuing professional development) the project will be a useful reference point for others engaged in educational research.
It is a three-year research programme and it intends to track ‘a representative sample of PGCE students (20 primary and 20 post-primary) through induction and their first year of EPD’. It will also carry out some innovations in each of the three phases of the Northern Ireland partnership model of teacher education including:
- the evaluation of ‘the effectiveness of current selection criteria and recruitment procedures for Initial Teacher Education on PGCE courses’
- the testing of ‘strategies and pedagogies that enable student teachers to reflect on the values dimension of the proposed new curriculum and to develop the knowledge, values, attitudes and skills necessary for inclusive practice, and teaching and learning involving contentious issues in a culturally diverse society’
- an investigation of ‘how far beginning teachers develop distinctive values associated with separate school sectors and types’
- the testing of a pilot network to ‘maintain cross-sector contact for professional development learning’
- the testing of a model for ‘learner-driven professional development'
- an investigation into ‘the sustainability of cross-sector, teacher professional development networks’.
As an ESRC TLRP funded project it has a research authority and provenance which should reassure others about its validity and relevance. In relation to ITE research, the material provides a source of evidence concerning the current attitudes, values and professional concerns of a small sample of teachers entering the profession between 2006 and 2008.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors – when and how it could have best impact:
As a resource for ITE courses, it has limited and highly specific use. It would be of use to those designing ITE courses. Tutors and mentors introducing students in professional development sessions to educational research and the necessary critique of professional standards and school curricula will find it an interesting source.
The relevance to ITE students – how and why it has importance:
This project has some relevance for ITE students across the UK in terms of their own professional background knowledge. For student teachers of Citizenship Education and those interested in values education across the school curriculum, the project should reveal some interesting data about specific educational contexts in Northern Ireland and their impact on personal development and attitudes.