Man defends cushy job

Michael Gove needs to get his research right on teacher training

Only university-based courses offer the right blend of theory and practice


John Wadsworth is a senior lecturer in education at Goldsmiths, University of London

7 thoughts on “Man defends cushy job”

  1. The amount of university time in teacher training is a bit of a red herring. It is barely different between PGCEs and schemes like GTP.

    The thing that PGCE advocates are really defending is their universities being the recruiters into training. It is just odd that unlike any other profession control of training positions in work after the academic stage is in the hands not of employers but universities. If all trainee teachers were recruited and employed by schools (as with GTP) the levels of wastage and drop outs from training would be much lower. Training would be better because schools would not be “lumbered” with trainees (at present they get some derisory sum of the order of £500 a year for hosting a PGCE student) but would be investing in a trainee to meet their own needs. It is one of the reasons why independent schools manage to train their teachers well enough to maintain the standards they want.

    Schools could then decide upon which universities would provide the sort of academic background best for their trainee teachers. rather as Accountancy firms do for their ACA trainees.

  2. Unmitigated rubbish. I have met, and have the privilege of working with, any number of emergency medicine instructors who have never taken a degree of any sort let alone a B.Ed. or PGCE. Many of them have benefited from courses in instructional techniques, but these are typically a few days covering the essentials of learning such as Bloom’s taxonomy ( and the essentials of presentation technique.

    Beyond that, they have learned to instruct by shadowing other instructors, co-instructing, doing observed instructing, and finally being allowed to run free when the senior instructors have confidence in them. There is a constant minimum standard applied to their teaching (are their students passing assessments done by other EMS practitioners) and they are typically required to provide evidence of ongoing study in a combination of teaching techniques and emergency medicine topics.

    This seems to work pretty well. How exactly does John Wadsworth propose to improve it? I do like that he proposes that “we need to empower teachers to think for themselves” and in the same paragraph makes it plain that he wants the university department to tell them what they should be thinking.

  3. Ancient American joke:

    “Why is there no school of education at [let us say] Yale?”

    Chancellor of Yale: “When there is something known about education that is worth teaching, there will be a school of education at Yale.”

  4. Having just finished my GDTLLS (a PGCE for FE teachers), I can tell you that it was a useless piece of sh*t and a total f*cking waste of time.

    99% experience, 1% theory. NOT the other way round.

  5. Hey, this is that nasty self-interest the Fabians keeps saying is evil. He might learn an important lesson from this.

  6. The best teacher I ever had did not have a degree (he joined the RAF when he left school and chose to take a teaching qualification when the War ended), the second (and third, and fourth …) had degrees but no formal teaching qualifications. It is true that some of these *were* “trained in some of the best institutions in the world” but it would only have been their good manners that prevented pointing out that Goldsmith’s is not anywhere near a par with their Almae matres.

  7. To paraphrase the original press cutting:

    “Guild-master says guilds are good”.

    In other news:
    – Prevalence of popes found to be catholic
    – New research discover bears shit in the woods

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