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Professor Diana Burton


UCET/HMI Symposium: Closing the achievement gap and improving the life chances ... TDA say no penalisation for not having MTL but in practice not being offered the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Professor Diana Burton

The Role of Teacher Education in Helping Close
the Achievement Gap Reflections on Current
  • Professor Diana Burton
  • Pro Vice Chancellor
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • UCET/HMI Symposium Closing the achievement gap
    and improving the life chances of all young
    people 24th March 2009

What is the achievement gap?
  • Disparity in performance of different groups in
    SATs and GCSEs.
  • Strands (2008) work points out the interaction
    between social class and ethnicity on results.

Does a pre-occupation with standardised
assessment serve to maintain inequalities in
  • Situational factors such as poverty or poor
    schooling, and dispositional factors such as
    cultural differences, language and gender have
    all been associated with inequality in assessment
    contexts (Gardner, Holmes Leitch, 2009).
  • Well worn cycle of performing badly leads to
    feeling valueless (Skeggs, 2004) with assessment
    scores reinforcing that failure (Reay, 2006)
    leading to teachers setting low-level work.

Government approaches striving for social
  • Every Child Matters UK
  • No Child Left Behind US
  • Both have policy challenges (Williams, 2004 Gay,
  • Early intervention, better prevention and
    accountability can sit uneasily with responding
    to disadvantaged pupils cultural and social
  • Pressure to teach to the test is particularly
    detrimental to these pupils.

Deficit models ride again!
  • The English Education Priority areas and US
    HeadStart programmes of the 1970s all assumed a
    deficit model of achievement.
  • We see this again with Fresh Start schools,
    Special Measures, Academies, National Challenge
    all involve resource redistribution and
    organisational restructure in an attempt to
    rescue pupils rather than address the societal,
    political and economic roots of their

Teachers as Agents of Change
  • Technical prowess of teachers has improved
    through focus on professional standards.
  • We now need teachers and children service
    professionals to work together to change the
    effects of socio-economic disadvantage.
  • First they have to acknowledge their own success
    as products of a generally middle class education
    system, taking practical account of diversity
    and promote equality and inclusion in their
    teaching' (TDA, 2007, September, p.11).

Personalisation Panacea or Smokescreen?
  • Well intentioned but fraught with difficulties
    ambiguity of meaning, requires in depth knowledge
    of each learner, very resource intensive,
    potentially isolating if technological solutions
  • Jackson and Serf (2008) found 140 mentors could
    not clearly convey to student teachers how
    personalisation could be achieved.

Is the Masters in Teaching and Learning the
  • This new qualification will eventually be
    available to all NVQs in an attempt to make
    teaching an all-matters profession. It will
    give teachers the opportunity to develop their
    professional skills and specialist expertise in
    the workplace with the support of a trained
    in-school coach as well as a tutor from a higher
    education institution. The benefit for schools
    will be the impact on pupil outcomes and the
    opportunity to enhance the culture of
    professional learning in the workplace. (TDA,

Ensuring improved teacher quality
Through the programme design, coverage, delivery
and assessment, the MTL should enable the teacher
be supported in their learning
develop a learning mindset becoming a lifelong
collaboratively learn from and with others
Improving outcomes for all children through
improved teacher quality
The Aims of MTL
  • The aim of the MTL is to raise standards, narrow
    the achievement gap and give children better life
    chances and it is proposed that Further
    improving the quality of teaching and learning is
    key to our ability to do this. The TDA state
    that The MTL will enable participating teachers
    to become consistently highly effective so that
    all children and young people realise their
    potential, regardless of their age, abilities or

MTL Content Areas
  • Teaching and learning and Assessment for
  • Subject knowledge for teaching and Curriculum and
    curriculum development
  • How young people develop and learn and management
    of their behaviour and inclusion
  • Leadership and management and Working with
  • To facilitate teachers understanding of the
    factors that face the children and young people
    they teach and how these might impact on each
    pupils potential for academic achievement with
    an aim of creating a positive, safe and
    effective learning environment.

MTLs focus on preparing teachers for cultural
  • MTL includes both understanding the social and
    cultural reasons why some children and young
    people from disadvantaged backgrounds and from
    black and minority ethnic groups may have low
    prior attainment or come to school unprepared to
    learn and a range of inclusive and personalised
    teaching, learning and assessment strategies to
    remove barriers to learning and enable all
    children and young people to make good progress.

Accessibility of Learning
  • MTL states that teachers must learn to teach in a
    culturally and socially responsive manner to
    personalise their teaching
  • Teacher educators need to encourage questioning
    of personalisation and why its important if
    teachers are to adopt the approach.
  • Teachers need to believe in its efficacy as an
    approach to learning and in their self-efficacy
    to achieve it.

MTL - A transformation in teacher education
  • Existing masters degrees allow transfer of 60 (or
    more) M-level credits from PGCE
  • MTL only allows transfer of 30 M-level credits
  • Could undermine status of PGCE as an academic
    postgraduate qualification
  • Inevitable change in structure of PGCE
  • New and existing teachers hold qualifications of
    same title but with different content and
  • TDA argue that reduced pressure of M-level work
    on PGCE will allow more time to grasp fundamental
    teaching skills

Implications for existing masters with PPD
  • Near certain termination of funding for existing
    education masters leaving MTL exclusive
  • Standardisation of post-qualification teacher
    education no choice
  • A government strategy to wrest further control
    from teachers and HEIs who provide training?
  • HEIs that already run successful courses have to
    construct and validate the MTL

Standardisation or Personalisation?
  • Will needs of individual teachers be met?
  • Non-core modules can be used to meet teachers
    specific needs
  • Flexibility dependent on number of NQTs enrolled,
    diversity of their needs and availability of
    tutors and coaches

Why should the MTL work?
  • Prolonged CPD provides opportunity to better
    integrate theory into practice (Robinson Sebba,
  • Positive impact of PPD on teachers and pupils
    (TDA, March, 2007)
  • Paradoxical as PPD being replaced with MTL
  • Improved pupil performance linked with teachers
    ability to self-reflect
  • Self-reflection key to becoming a quality teacher
    (Hargreaves, 1998 Malm, 2004/2009)

Timing and Availability
  • Available to NQTs as soon as they start their
    first post
  • Cement teaching knowledge early on vs. too much
    too soon
  • Benefits of a delayed start
  • Allowing NQTs time to settle in their new post
    may reduce pressure and allow optimal gain from
    what MTL has to offer
  • Number of bureacratic issues with MTL including
    funding and recruiting and training coaches
    later start would allow more time to resolve

Leaving existing teachers behind
  • Existing teachers who do not already have a
    masters may miss out acquiring one
  • TDA say no penalisation for not having MTL but in
    practice not being offered the MTL may
    disadvantage existing teachers
  • How will TDA address this social justice issue?
  • Extending safeguards for PPD funding?
  • Making MTL available to existing teachers?

MTL Academic vs. Applied
  • Practice-based emphasis may compromise perceived
    credibility of course
  • Major challenge of HEIs is to design programmes
    that meet QAA M level requirements

A missed opportunity for research?
  • Action research can have benefits for
    self-reflection, attitude change and teaching
    (e.g., Flecknoe, 2000)
  • MTL proposes that it will enable teachers to
    develop an open and questioning mindset but does
    not include any core research modules
  • MTL overlooks opportunity for teachers to conduct
    action research in dedicated time
  • Action research encourages self-direction and
    self-criticism (Bartlett Burton, 2006) and
    could be promoted and facilitated by providers as
    part of non-core modules

Teacher resistance to change
  • Challenging teachers beliefs regarding ethnicity,
    social class and gender issues may lead to
    responses of resistance (Cockrell et al., 1999
    Mueller OConnor, 2007)
  • Ignorance of disadvantage creates inconsistency
    between teacher beliefs and the promotion of
    diversity necessary for disadvantaged pupils to
  • Process of self-reflection will be difficult and
    will require the faith of teachers that change is
    necessary and possible

A need for critical consciousness
  • Teachers need to question privilege and
    oppression in relation to their own identity
  • Increasing pupil diversity met with uniform
    teaching force often White and middle-class
    (Milner, 2006)
  • Experience in different cultural settings can be
    beneficial if there is time to reflect
    something that could be facilitated within the
  • Teacher educators need to encourage critical
    consciousness without attributing blame

Finally, some thoughts from the TDA marketing
  • We have done research with heads, NQTs and
    coaches (no details of who, how many or methods!)
    in order to find the buttons to press so that
    people will behave in the ways we want them to.
  • We will help you determine what to de dupe
    (which apparently means get rid of duplication of
    materials/messages). A new word for our lexicon
  • We will provide collateral for you to draw down
    from our website no, this is not money or gold,
    its something much more valuable yes,
    marketing materials!
  • I would have thought all providers will want to
    pass on our collateral