Move Me On 178: trainee sees all observation as assessment

The problem page for history mentors

Published: 27th March 2020

Move Me On is designed to build critical, informed debate about the character of teacher training, teacher education and professional development. It is also designed to offer practical help to all involved in training new history teachers. Each issue presents a situation in initial teacher education/training with an emphasis upon a particular history-specific issue.
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This issue’s problem: A.J. Cook seems to regard all observation by his mentor or tutor as an assessment. His constant worry about whether he’s doing ‘the right thing’ makes feedback very difficult.

A.J. Cook began training as a teacher immediately after completing an undergraduate degree in history. He has seemed anxious about assessment within the PGCE programme since the very beginning of the course, asking lots of questions about the process. The fact that written assignments within the course are formally assessed at Master’s level and therefore conform to systems that operate across the whole university (with numerical scores and associated grades) means that he has tended to transfer assumptions from his undergraduate – perhaps even his school – experience into his thinking about the assessment of professional practice.  

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