ITTE Computing/Delivering High Quality Training

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Introduction to Delivering High Quality Training[edit]

In making decisions about factors that might affect course outcomes for ICT and IT in ITT your professional judgement is essential. Although you work within frameworks determined by the Training and Development Agency for Schools and by the ICT and IT curriculum taught in your partnership schools, it is up to you to decide in detail what makes a good course.

No subject is, or should be, static. ICT is especially affected by change, both in the technologies we have to use and in the applications and affordances resulting from those new technologies. This presents a challenge to the ICT Subject Specialist. Your role is to be both normative (that is, you should enable trainees to teach effectively in schools as they are presently structured) and innovative. That is, you should constantly develop the subject content that trainees acquire and the way in which that knowledge is taught or applied in learning and teaching. The Professional Standard Q8 requires that trainees have a creative and constructively critical approach to innovation.

Your mission as an ICT subject specialist teacher educator is to fulfil both roles.

In the following pages we set out some of the factors that can affect the quality of course outcomes.

There are no simple answers. It is not possible to point you in the direction of a single set of resources, materials or documents that will provide complete solutions. There are only frameworks, constraints, and choices. There are not even any syllabuses or appropriate schemes of work to draw from.

In this respect the tutor's role in ITT is perhaps more challenging than teaching in a secondary school. At the same time it is more rewarding because individual tutors and teams of tutors are the architects of good quality provision.

Good quality ICT teachers are more than just practitioners who can produce good results from GCSE and A level students. Not only will they have to develop a subject expertise, but must ensure that even non-specialist students have skills, knowledge and understanding to function in a society where many of the current driving influences are ICT related. ICT is a key skill.

Further to this, ICT is unique in its ability to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in other subjects. In good practice this should be a natural and unremarkable occurrence but is probably most evident in the primary phase where the same teacher delivers across the range of subjects. It may be less intrinsic in the secondary phase where subjects are taught more discretely and by different individuals. There may even be an ethos of protection which discourages overlap into other subject areas.

A good ICT teacher in a secondary school, therefore, can make a significant difference to standards generally that would not be the case, for example, with a good history teacher. However, trainee teachers need to be informed to be aware of the ‘value added’ nature of the role and the significance of the cross curricular implications of ICT.

Firstly, these individuals would need to be "public relations" sensitive – not everyone will welcome what may be seen as an intrusion into their subject teaching, however effective the ideas or well meaning the intentions. Secondly, the trainees would have to be prepared to learn beyond their own subject and to have more than a passing familiarity with the requirements of the curriculum as a whole. Thirdly, a very solid grounding in pedagogy is necessary to ensure that the enhancement potential of ICT is fully understood and used appropriately.

Good ICT teachers have the potential to be very special. If this is recognised and exploited at the training stage, everybody will ultimately benefit. author: David Longman, Lynne Jones, Richard Clarke and John Woollard The Professional Standards Q1 to Q33

All ITT courses in England are required to work within the framework published by the Training and Development Agency for Schools - Professional Standards for Teachers Qualified Teacher Status. These are set out in the document which can be obtained from the TDA website: Professional Standards for Teachers Why sit still in your career?

The Professional Standards Q1 to Q33[edit]

Q1 to Q9 Professional attributes - how trainees should behave
Q10 to Q21 Professional knowledge and understanding - what trainees should know
Q22 to Q33 Professional skills - what trainees should be able to do

An alternative approach is to consider the Professional Standards as a set of themes.

A most important document is TDA0396 - Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status and Requirements for Initial Teacher Training. This too contains the Professional Standards but also contains the requirements placed upon ITT Institutions

R1.1 GCSE requirement
R1.2 Degree requirement
R1.3 to R1.5 the suitability of applicants

R2.1 to R2.7 refer to the training requirements.

In Northern Ireland, further information can be obtained from http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/teachers-pg and the equivalent standards are described in http://www.deni.gov.uk/teacher_education_partnership_handbook-3.pdf

The Scottish Government provides support through http://www.teachinginscotland.com

The Welsh Assembly Government has introduced QTS standards which are similar to the QTS standards in England where appropriate, but vary to cover issues specific to Wales. http://www.teachertrainingwales.org

author: John Woollard

download pdf document: "StandardsThemed.pdf" (63K)

Getting the Right Students[edit]

Selecting and recruiting the right students for a course is a critical factor in delivering high quality outcomes. All ITT providers must ensure all of the following:

  • GCSE of grade C or equivalent in English and mathematics - a level 2 certificate is insufficient; it needs to be accompanied by evidence of a breadth of understanding and experience in the subject area.
  • Recruits to programmes to teach pupils aged 3 to 11 years must also have a GCSE of grade C or equivalent in a science subject.
  • A first degree or the equivalent - the TDA places the responsibility for deciding the degree equivalence upon the ITT provider.
  • All entrants must be subjected to a CRB enhanced disclosure.
  • All entrants must be interviewed and it must be established that they have the academic capability and the qualities, attitudes and values to be a teacher. They must be able to read effectively and be able to communicate in standard English.
  • The training must be resourced and structured to enable the trainees to demonstrate all of the Professional Standards. There must be equality of access to resources and training. The training must take account of the individual needs.
  • The training must cover at least two stages of education and trainees must have experience of the stages before and after the ones they are trained to teach.

Recruitment into teacher training for Computing is difficult in many areas of the UK. Consequently, there is a tension between the need to meet quotas and fill the course and ensure high standards of recruitment.

One tension is the desire to have trainees with degrees in computing. A strategy may be required to accommodate applicants whose first degree is not computing. For example...

Entry without a degree in computing[edit]

Those applicants with degrees in business studies, information systems, joint honours may be accepted unconditionally because of the level of IT/ICT/computing in their studies. Those with degrees with no computing element would have requirements to evidence their capability to work at graduate level in an aspect of computing and have sufficient skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to support pupils at all levels (attainment targets) in the Key Stage 3 and 4 National Curriculum. Applicants may have requirements placed upon them to complete before the start of the programme including some or all of these: provide copies of prior assignments in the IT field that are at level 4; write a 3000 word assignment about an aspect of applied computer technologies considered to be at level 4 (undergraduate); provide a report of their commercial experience of using IT and/or training in the IT field and/or voluntary work in IT related field. This requirement varies between providers.

Other activities can be introduced in an attempt to ensure that entrants have the required qualities and capabilities.

For example, Applicants do not necessarily have to have a computing degree but must have significant computing skills, training and experience. Trainees without a traditional computing degree are accepted on the programme providing that they have the appropriate experience, expertise and motivation. You must have skills in all 'office' software (in particular database management and spreadsheets), ability to create and publish web pages and some programming/scripting experience at some level between writing macros/VBA and PASCAL/C++ inclusive. As a Information Technology trainee teacher you should consider that you are undertaking to work at GCE Computing standard (see syllabus, for example, http://www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce.php).

Applicants need to show those qualities of personality, presentation, confidence and sensitivity required to be a teacher. Also, they need to show an awareness of the current educational process and a knowledge of the work of schools. We strongly recommend obtaining classroom experience before the interview. Candidates will normally have had recent experience of a secondary school ICT classroom. Teaching is a challenging and rewarding profession; teaching ICT is a very good way in which we can enhance the lives of young people.

In preparation for the interview we advise you to spend time in a secondary school observing ICT classes, reading National Curriculum documents/textbooks and talking to IT/ICT teachers so that you can, with confidence, talk about what teaching ICT is like. You must be convincing of your informed desire to become an ICT teacher. We regard this as especially important when someone is leaving another field of employment to train as a teacher.

If you are offered and accept a place, then a number of additional ‘Requirements of Entry’ (in the form of pre-entry experiences) will be specified. You will set yourself targets to achieve, that will strengthen your teaching potential, before starting the course. For example: visit the local library and browse the children’s computer books; create a number of web pages and post them to a server; obtain a GCE level computing text book and become familiar with its organisation; review all the generic functions of a word processor, spreadsheet, database management program, web page editor and a graphics program (including drawing, painting and charting); use LOGO. By accepting a place on the course, you are acknowledging that you have good skills in all forms of office-type software (see above). You are also stating you have good capability in handling new software, being able to explore functions in a systematic as well as an imaginative way.

As part of the qualifying process, trainee teachers must complete the QTS Skills Tests after the programme starts. Details can be found at http://www.tda.gov.uk/skillstests.aspx

author: John Woollard

How to Gauge the Appropriate Level of Study[edit]

There are two broad ways to look at the depth of study required for ITT courses:

Students are taught sufficient ICT to enable them to the teach the target Key Stage of the course they are following.

This is the 'just enough' approach. Most useful in cases where ICT courses are part of a wider curriculum of subjects, and/or where ICT is taught in a cross-curricular context. In relation to meeting the standards, we would assume that there is a minimum threshold of knowledge and expertise that enables a trainee to "meet the standards". This approach allows us to define and apply this minimum threshold.

Students are taught to the highest level attainable in relation to the standards and criteria of the courses they are following, regardless of target Key Stage.

Here, specialist subject study courses or modules would be more likely to teach content to this level. The definition of "highest level obtainable" is open. For degree level courses we would assume that the student will work to a level beyond that of the Key Stage they are likely to teach (by implication this means beyond 'A' level). For postgraduate courses we would assume that this level of knowledge and expertise is in place.

Of course, mere "quantity" of knowledge is not enough. We also have to think about the level at which knowledge is understood and the level to which trainee teachers can communicate that knowledge and understanding - that is the pedagogic content knowledge.

A PGCE is sometimes described as post-graduate in name but not in nature, and indeed to be genuinely post-graduate all or most of the content of the program would have to be pitched at Masters’ level. The structure of PGCE courses will vary from one provider to the next but generally they tend to be pitched at level 5/6 with the understanding of teaching practice occasionally assessed at level M.

Some institutions differentiate between students by offering the PGCE in two ways:

  • Professional Graduate Certificate of Education - studied post-graduate but not achieving Masters level;
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education - studied and achieving standards equivalent to Masters level.

This differentiation can be achieved by students electing to study at Masters level or their work is submitted and is summatively assessed to be at professional or postgraduate level.

Guidance and further explanation of the structures and levels found in Higher Education courses can be found on the QAA http://www.qaa.ac.uk/ website, following the links Academic Infrastructure > Subject benchmark statements > Master's level benchmark statements. The statements pertinent to computing and education have not yet been developed but there is a summary of discussions from the event held in February 2006, providing an overview of opinions surrounding the possibility of developing benchmarks for academic programmes at M level.

The second issue is the depth to which trainees are required to engage with the subject pedagogy and the subject itself. Subject pedagogy usually presents less of a problem as candidates are often required to reflect upon and critically evaluate their own and others' practice, thus fulfilling the appropriate criteria for the level. The delivery of subject knowledge can present more of a problem as the academic level of the course requires an engagement at a level far above that required in terms of operational delivery of the subject.

For PGCE students with an appropriate degree this is not usually a problem. For some QTS courses, and in particular two year top up from HND models, additional support may be necessary. The TDA provide subject enhancement programmes which may be as short as 10 days and as long as 12 months. A further consideration here is the phases that trainees are expected to teach on as the level of subject knowledge required at KS5/AS/A2/AVCE/Diploma level will inevitably be far more detailed than that required for key stages 2, 3 and 4. There is also the tension between the computing body of knowledge and the ICT body of knowledge. The two are blurred and elements of traditional programming are becoming more relevant in ICT including:

  • LOGO to give spacial and algorithm awareness;
  • Scratch, Greenfoot, etc. to give awareness of sequencing and algorithm;
  • Game authoring tools like Game Maker, to develop narrative and scripting skills;
  • Control technology programming languages and graphical interfaces such as Crocodile Clips and Flowol that develop logic and programming.
  • Macro writing in office-type software, such as OpenOffice, to show automation of processes.
  • HTML and associated web page construction to show the values of scripting and organisation of data (folder structure).

Some 11-16 QTS courses meet their obligation to "engage with the expectations, curricula, strategies and teaching arrangements in the age phases immediately before and after the ones they are trained to teach" by requiring trainees to spend time in those classrooms and make presentations to their peers at a level above that they are trained to teach. For example, a directed activity might be to: teach to the rest of the group an assigned computing topic through a short lesson of no more than 15 minutes and create a web page and three A4 sheets including: an activity sheet, a worksheet and an information sheet then locate the topic in the GNVQ GCE AVCE GCSE curriculum [2.1d] Topics are assigned from: CPU; Prolog; Keywords; Logic; Normalisation; Sorting; Queues; Stacks; Encryption; Binary; GIF/JPEG; JavaScript; VisualBasic; Encryption; Compression; Recursion; VBA; SQL; Linux; Interrupts; PSS etc.

author: David Longman and John Woollard

Equipping students with sufficient pedagogical knowledge[edit]

How can tutors ensure that they equip students with sufficient pedagogical knowledge and understanding to become effective and reflective teachers?

All PGCE and QTS courses should have modules on teaching studies or similarly titled elements that address this aspect of professional practice. Typical areas that are covered include:

  • Strategies for differentiation
  • Inclusive education
  • Classroom management
  • Pupil motivation
  • Effective planning, delivery and evaluation

Resources to assist in the delivery of these topics can be found at: Becta TeacherNet

Opportunities for trainees to develop teaching skills should also be included as an early part of the course with teaching studies used as an opportunity for trainees to try out short teaching events (microteaching) to peers, sample marking and moderation sessions and having a go at exam papers likely to be sat by pupils.

Books that provide pedagogic knowledge in ICT include:

Begley, M and Sadler, D (2001) 101 Red Hot ICT Starters London: Letts

Capel, S, Heilbronn, R, Leask, M and Turner, T (2004) Starting to Teach in the Secondary School: A Companion for the Newly Qualified Teacher Oxford: Routledge Falmer

Capel, S, Leask, M and Turner, T (2001) Learning to Teach in the Secondary School Oxford: Routledge Falmer

Cole, M (2002) Professional Values and Practice for Teachers and Student Teachers Oxford: David Fulton

Dan R (2002) Promoting Assessment as Learning Routledge Falmer

Dillon, J (2007) Becoming a teacher: issues in secondary teaching Oxford: Oxford University Press

Ellis, V (2004) Learning and Teaching in Secondary Schools Exeter: Learning Matters

Fautley, M (2007) Assessment for learning and teaching in secondary schools Exeter: Learning Matters

Horton, WK and Horton, K (2007) E-learning tools and technologies: a consumer's guide for trainers, teachers, educators and instructional designers New York: Wiley

Kennewell, S (2000) Developing the ICT-Capable School Oxford: Routledge Falmer

Kennewell, S (2007) A Practical Guide to Teaching ICT in the Secondary School Oxford: Routledge Falmer

Kennewell, S, Parkinson, J and Tanner, H (2002) Learning to Teach ICT in the Secondary School Oxford: Routledge Falmer

Leask, M (2001) Issues in Teaching Using ICT Oxford: Routledge Falmer

Loveless, A and Ellis, V (2001) ICT, Pedagogy and the Curriculum: Subject to Change Oxford: Routledge Falmer

Russell, T (2001) Teaching and Using ICT in Secondary Schools Oxford: David Fulton

Woollard, J (2007) Learning and Teaching Using ICT in Secondary Schools (Achieving QTS) Exeter: Learning Matters

author: David Longman and John Woollard

The Features of Quality Provision[edit]

Quality and Standards in Secondary Initial Teacher Training (2003) is the Ofsted report on three years’ inspection of Secondary ITT courses, 1999-2002. Although the report does not cover ICT specialist courses some useful indications of the features of good quality provision in this area are indicated. There is some lack of clarity in the report about the quality of ICT specialist subject courses. On the whole the report treats ICT as a cross curricular issue and treats it in terms of the use of ICT in the teaching of other subjects.

In general terms, trainees’ fitness to teach was found to be good and their use of ICT greatly improved. The introduction of 4/98 in 1999 was found to be useful in this regard and had helped to raise the standards in terms of what trainees were taught about the use of ICT in subject teaching. Annex B contained a comprehensive list of skills and concepts associated with the educational use of ICT including the terms provenance and provisionality when associated with the worldwide web. However, poor resources in some partnership schools continued to hamper development. In addition, too few trainees had knowledge of or strategies for dealing with transition from KS2 to KS3 and trainees’ use of assessment to inform planning continued to be weak.

Generally providers made ineffective use of subject knowledge audits. Self-audits were felt to be almost useless whereas in the best practice audits were systematically collected and analysed by staff and strategies were in place to help trainees develop their areas of weakness in the subject.

The role of the school mentor in ensuring that subject knowledge is adapted for teaching purposes is crucial but at times was found to be poor. In the case of the embedded use of ICT in subject teaching, mentors’ own lack of knowledge resulted in poor trainee development. This was found to be particularly the case in training that was entirely school-based.

Training was often found to be effective and of good quality where

  • recent developments in the subject are covered to ensure trainees are up-to-date when they start work;
  • assignments are linked to school experience;
  • a systematic programme of skills development is provided;
  • there is good integration between subject study, school experience and professional studies;
  • trainees' subject knowledge is systematically audited, and monitored.

The following year, the Annual Report from Ofsted made this limited reference to ICT in ITT "Secondary teacher training has improved in a number of areas. Trainees are now better prepared to use ICT in their teaching. The Key Stage 3 Strategy receives appropriate attention and has helped to improve aspects of trainees’ teaching, for example, planning in subjects such as ICT". http://live.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/annualreport0304

In subsequent years, Ofsted has not commented upon the use of ICT in ITT nor the teaching of the subject of ICT.

The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools 2004/05 http://live.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/annualreport0405 microsite only

The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools 2005/06 2 pages of ITT (pp 33-34) but no reference to ICT http://live.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/annualreport0506

The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2006/07 - 2 pages of ITT (pp 52-53) but no reference to ICT http://live.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/annualreport0607 .

author: David Longman and John Woollard