… a collaborative approach to student learning within Primary Initial Teacher Education
… Conclusion – What contributed to the project’s success:
The project sought to explore a way of embedding Global Citizenship and PSHE in our primary 3 year ITE course. The methodology for doing so was designed to reflect the nature of global education in its focus on the democratic process and relationships / decision-making within this.
The fact that the Institute of Education at UCW has now adopted this methodology as a permanent feature of its primary undergraduate course is testament to its success. In addition, the evaluation indicated that the students not only valued the focus on citizenship and PSHE, but that it had a positive impact on their subject knowledge and application in school:
- 1. provision of a coherent approach across the year
- 2. strengthened links between subject modules and the Pedagogy and Management strand
- 3. clear mechanisms for communication between student groups and tutors
- 4. focused opportunities for students to apply their developing knowledge and understanding theoretically (assignments) and practically (peer observation during block school experience)
What aspects need further development?
The evaluation of the project, both formal and informal, has enabled us to identify elements that we will try to improve in the coming years.
- 1. Provide mechanisms to strengthen communication between students, tutors and mentors and within each of these groups (student reps with their peer groups; PAM coordinator with PAM tutor team; mentors with school staff)
- 2. Strengthen school-based element (evidence that some schools did not see the relevance of the work and therefore were not supportive of students)
- 3. Coherence across all subjects, including the core.
- 4. Teaching controversial issues: role of the teacher drawing on P4C and other thinking skills approaches.
Of these, 1 and 2 are areas that we feel we could build on to enhance the student experience even more, while 3 and 4 are areas where we feel we are not particularly effective at present.
In terms of my own learning, I have a much deeper understanding of the complexities of using a democratic approach to student development within a tightly controlled course. I feel that this is an area that needs further development, not least in using it more explicitly with the students to help them become explicitly aware of the concept of democracy as an ideal and their experience of it in practice. This would hopefully enable them to better apply their understanding to, for example, democratic systems that are often used in schools, such as schools councils. At UCW we all recognise that this is a work in progress, but one that we are committed to … (full 23 pdf-pages text).