Our approach to teacher training is informed by research, enhanced by experience and powered by passion.
We utilise a range of different professional learning models to ensure that learning is expansive, not restrictive, for our students.
Experiential learning: Knitting together theory and practice
From week one of our teacher training programme, our Associate Teachers’ time is split between taught sessions (theory) and classroom experience (practice).
We use Kolb’s experiential learning model (see diagram) and believe that professional learning can begin at any point in the cycle. When in classrooms, the learning of our trainees begins with concrete experience. This can later be reflected upon and conceptualized in taught sessions led by programme leaders. Some learning begins in taught sessions by discussing an abstract concept – our trainees can then look for this in their next visits to classrooms. This knitting together of theory and practice is crucial to the success of our programme.
Expansive learning: Growing teachers for everyone
We seek to ‘grow teachers for everyone’. We strive for expansive learning. This means we seek to give you the skills to teach well in any school, in any community. That means equipping you with the ability to question everything you’re told, to reflect critically on your practice at every opportunity… and crucially, when reflecting, to critically appraise the validity of the goals you’re aiming for. Developing this ability will ensure you are able to adapt and refine your professional skill set to suit the needs of the children you teach.
Wherever you go on to teach after graduating, you will be ready.
Attaining excellence: No perfect people allowed
We want people who are relentless in pursuing improvement.
Our definition of an exceptional teacher is somebody who always believes they can be more exceptional. It is this attitude that we seek to instill within our trainees.
First and foremost, out trainees need to be people who can critically appraise themselves, identifying next steps and avenues for improvement. This doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate success. We just don’t accept that one serving of success is enough.
Learning from failure: Black box thinking
Bestselling author Matthew Syed’s book ‘Black box thinking: Marginal gains and the secrets of high performance‘ alerts us, as educators, to an incredibly important and relevant truth: we cannot be successful unless we are prepared to acknowledge our mistakes and systematically dissect them so that we learn from them. Only then, can we adapt and improve.
Within our teacher training programme, we nurture our trainees and reassure them that mistakes are okay. In fact, mistakes are, in many ways, essential. It is how we respond to mistakes that matters. If we seek to blame others or become defensive, we are building walls in the middle of our own pathway to improvement. Our trainee teachers learn to look, first of all, at themselves when they analyse failure. This ensures we grow the very best teachers.
The beginning of the journey
We believe that meeting the end of an initial teacher training programme is only the beginning of a long journey. This journey will involve a career-long commitment to inquiry and study, as well as practice.
We urge you to start your journey with us.