Readers' comments on Masters in Teaching and Learning

28 Jun 2009 BBC News

Having recently completed a Masters in Practitioner Enquiry at Newcastle University whilst working as a secondary school teacher, the article on the government's new Masters in T & L sent alarm bells ringing for me.Firstly, I work closely with the Head of Education at NCL university and she has said quite a few times that this new masters wouldn't even pass university regulations for Masters. It completely de-values post-graduate study that passes these regulations with flying colours. Also, as stated in your article and as I have been told, this new course with be school based. This is a major issue for educationalists because it is a problem based/vocational approach - instead of taking a critical step  back and triangulating with theory and research. This is why this new course wouldn't pass the regulations at NCL uni.

 Finally, having a coach or a mentor in school. Would the mentor be Masters qualified? Who is going to train the mentor and student iand direct them? I think the government is clutching on straws and de-valuing educated opinions on education.

I appreciate that the BBC's mandate is to provide 'balanced' coverage of news items and issues. However, as you well know, teaching is being ruined by innovations such as the new MTL and the control freaks in Government. The pressure being placed on teachers especially newer ones continues to grow, and no-one is doing much about it or really seems to care. I think you have a responsibility to inform the wider public of what really goes on behind the scenes in schools and colleges, as well as offer an 'objective' view of educational matters. Teachers today are still underpaid, overworked and undervalued and this has to change.

Why not make the PGCE an MSc?  A very few of the very best experienced teachers I worked with never got a degree, but that should now not be an issue with the rise in availability of degrees.  I thought the PGCE I did at the Centre of Educational Studies at King's College London offered at least the same possibilities for academic study as the MSc I did in Neutron Physics.  There is no reason why the PGCE should not contain more academic work added onto what's there now.  As an MSc it could then be taken in modules (like the NTEC MSc based at Manchester University where I lead the lecturing of one of these modules where each module is one week with a requirement for two weeks set assignment and then an exam with the whole MSc taking up 8 modules).  This would allow the flexibility for those thinking about changing to teaching to approach the qualification over a few years.  Alternatively perhaps QTS could be gained by either a PGCE (as now) or the TTL
 MSc.  As you argue to do both at the start won't work.

We have already got this in Scotland with the Chartered Teacher programme.
Problem is (a) teachers have to fork out LOTS of money to do each module and
although they then get an automatic payrise to top scale by the time they
get it done, they'd have got to that level anyway and (b) it is supposed to
be improving teaching but Scottish government regard it as another way of
making teachers do 'management' type functions for free. Ie CTs in school
perform many jobs previously done by Depute Head Teachers. This is also why
not as many have gone for this route as the government wanted.

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