Educational experts question extensiveness of new teacher training framework

2020-01-07

Several education specialists have voiced concerns over the scope of the new initial teacher training (ITT) framework, suggesting that it may not push trainees enough.


In a blog for the British Educational Research Association, eight teacher education specialists have questioned whether enough evidence was used to develop the framework.


It has led to the framework being labelled ‘superficial’, with the experts suggesting that some of the theory is based upon over-simplification of educational policy relating to memory and cognitive load theory (CLT).


The latter is based on the concept that people have a limited short-term memory and that information overload could be detrimental to a pupil’s learning.


Part of the new ITT framework includes principles that are similar to CLT, although the theory is not mentioned specifically.


According to the experts, who have roles at a range of universities or in education, the limited details of cognitive theory included in the framework could leave teachers “unable to understand how different teaching strategies correspond to different memory-based learning outcomes”.


“The framework entirely neglects the personal, sensory-perceptual and emotional-affective dimensions of recalling information,” it is suggested.


With the new ITT framework released ahead of the general election in late 2019, it is due to be implemented from the start of the new academic year in September.


The set of experts have said it required “detailed scrutiny” from across the education sector to ensure that it adequately prepares teachers with the required skills.


The blog was co-authored by Viv Ellis, Chris Harrison and Peter Kutnick, all from King’s College London, as well as Keith Turvey from the University of Brighton and Anne Watson from the University of Oxford.


Independent researcher and former headteacher Kenny Frederick, Matthew Slocombe of Birkbeck, University of London, and author and teacher trainer Sue Cowley also contributed.


Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said the framework will “underpin training for all new teaching” and described it as the “biggest teaching reform for a generation”.


“This framework will play a fundamental role in ensuring the training new teachers receive is consistent, evidence-based and of the highest quality across each and every training provider,” they explained.


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