The importance of subject specific training

HA Update

By Jason Todd, published 14th April 2016

It is my passion for history and interest in young people that has sustained me both as a teacher and latterly as a PGCE history tutor.

Last term a number of seemingly unrelated issues began to coalesce in my mind. Over the summer I met a number of teachers that had completed their training in previous years within our PGCE partnership. Many of them expressed fatigue with  the relentless exam-focused nature of the teaching that they felt they had been forced to adopt – described by, many as an ‘exam factory’ approach, that served to reduce their history teaching to the most instrumental of elements. A related concern was the feeling of a lack of creativity in their role. In October, as the HA was responding to a government consultation on Continuing Professional Development (CPD), I asked for feedback, once again from ex-trainees. While this was hardly rigorous research, their overall conclusion echoed the findings of the HA’s annual surveys: very little historyspecific training is being offered – a critical omission given the high profile given to increased subject knowledge at GCSE and A-level. The final issue was my experience of the chaotic...

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