Partners in classroom

February 21, 1997

THE MEASURED professional tone adopted by the writers of Personal View (THES, February 7) was welcome, as was the overwhelming endorsement which their research provides for the partnership model of teacher training.

Such endorsement should be doubly gratifying when we remember that full partnership, itself hotly contested by many in teacher training at the time, is only four years old in secondary and less than two years old in primary training.

But the core concern of the article relates to the apparent lack of a clear role for higher education in teacher training. The Teacher Training Agency is just as clear now as it was two years ago that our trainee teachers need a balance of education, training and experience to become effective in the classroom. The issue is not the lack of a clear role for HE, it is rather the spectre of a changed role that many in HE find difficult to accept. Initial teacher training is not an academic study, and therefore, an intrinsic part of HE.

That the writers having, despite their doubts, endorsed partnership should then suggest that the safest bet would be to dilute partnership, is disappointing. The notion that ITT would be aided by the abolition of the TTA is a similar non-sequitur. How much more constructive if they wanted to take up the challenge of re-positioning ITT and in-service training. It needs to be remembered that some far-sighted vice chancellors, principals and deans of education are already working with local education authorities and schools to develop regional training consortia through which ITT and in-service training can be delivered.

I should like to think that others could help plan for the future with the same enthusiasm.

Anthea Millett

Chief executive Teacher Training Agency

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