An aid or a burden? 1

May 27, 2005

The issue of teaching teachers to teach is one of the most important facing academe. Recent letters seem to have missed the point I raised (Letters, May 6), namely that there is no proper research showing that PGCHEs are useful (other than as an employment scheme for educationists).

Graham Gibbs (Letters, May 13) cites research of the sort I dismissed as useless: attitude surveys. Of course students will tend to like teaching that is similar to that they have grown used to in schools.

Proving this does not prove that the teaching students are comfortable with is better teaching. Educationists' research is often self-validating:

"trained teachers teach better - we know this because they do the things we train them to do". I repeat: before we go on spending millions of pounds that could be spent on employing more lecturers, buying more books and building more laboratories, we should get some proper scientific evidence as to whether students actually do learn more when taught by those with teaching qualifications.

Richard Austen-Baker


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