The Training of Teachers (1957)

This pamphlet, written by a group of H.M. Inspectors with experience in the work of training colleges, made proposals regarding the extension of the teacher-training course from two years to three, which took effect in 1960.

The complete document is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various sections.

I Some General Considerations (page 1)
II The Calibre of the Students (4)
III The Scope of the Three-year Course (5)
IV Professional Studies and Teaching Practice (12)
V The Needs of the Schools and the Consequences for the Curriculum and Organisation of Training Colleges (15)
VI The Size of the Colleges and some Related Problems (21)
VII Conclusion (23)

The text of The Training of Teachers was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 24 April 2022.

The Training of Teachers (1957)
Ministry of Education Pamphlet No. 34

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1957
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


[title page]

Training of Teachers

Suggestions for a three-year
training college course




[page ii]


This pamphlet was written by a group of H.M. Inspectors with experience in the work of training colleges. The group was invited, before the decision was taken to lengthen the course at the general training colleges, to advise the Minister about what might be done in a three-year course.

The pamphlet is now published as a contribution to general discussion. The Minister believes that it may be of value to all who are concerned with bringing into effect this major change in the training of teachers. It should be understood however that the opinions expressed in it are those of the Inspectors concerned and are not to be taken as necessarily representing the Minister's views or as committing him to a decision on any of the matters of policy or detail discussed.

[page iii]


I. Some General Considerations1
    The scope of this pamphlet1
    The extent of the change1
    Better educated men and women1
    The overcrowded college curriculum2
    Professional and "academic" studies2
    The relation between the course and the needs of the schools3
    The contribution from the schools3
    Maturity of the students3

II. The Calibre of the Students
    Capacity on entrance to college4
    The students at the end of the course4

III. The Scope of the Three-year Course
    The use of the available time5
    The relation between the vocational and cultural aims of the course5
    The variety of courses6
    Main subject courses7
    Curriculum courses7
    Education courses8
    English and Welsh10
    The Arts10
    The students' choice of courses11

IV. Professional Studies and Teaching Practice
    The study of children and young people12
    Teaching Practice12

V. The Needs of the Schools and the Consequences for the Curriculum and Organisation of Training Colleges
    Primary Schools15
    Possible forms of the college curriculum (primary)16
    Secondary Schools17
    Possible forms of the college curriculum (secondary)18
    The special problem of colleges in Wales18
    The contribution of school staffs to professional training19

[page iv]

VI. The Size of the Colleges and some Related Problems21
    Limitation of the courses offered by individual colleges21
    Guidance of the applicant for admission to a college21
    Transfer of the student22

VII. Conclusion

[page 1]

I. Some General Considerations

The scope of this pamphlet

This pamphlet discusses a three-year course of training with special reference to the abilities and intentions of the students, the balance of personal and professional studies and the types of teaching practice and their supervision. The views expressed in the following pages are presented in the knowledge that most, if not all, of them are controversial and that they are subject to the errors of simplification inherent in any attempt to make short statements about a substantial part of our educational system. The final paragraphs raise a number of questions of importance that follow from the general arguments.

The extent of the change

It would be possible for a three-year course merely to give the opportunity to do, in a more leisurely way, what is now done in two years. But if the extra time is used boldly for particular purposes, rather than spread evenly over all, the three-year course offers an opportunity for a kind of training which in some ways could be fundamentally different from the present two-year training. It could perhaps be best described as an extension of the best existing practice; for the three-year course becomes possible at a time when there is much hard thinking and some change of practice in the colleges. The full scale of the changes - in the demands made on the staff, in the organisation of the colleges, in the curricula followed by the students and in the general quality of college life - will only be apparent when the three-year course has been under way for some years.

Better educated men and women

The arguments for the three-year course of training turn on the need for teachers who, at the time of entry into the profession, shall be better educated, more mature and better prepared to begin their work in the schools than is possible at present. In recent years, the demands made on the colleges have become increasingly heavy in view of the students' need to know more about the subjects they teach, in view of the changed relationships which now exist between children and adults and in view of the revolutionary changes in school discipline and methods of teaching which have taken place in our own lifetime. In addition to the immediate advantages which the phrases "better educated" and "more mature" imply, there are more distant benefits to

[page 2]

be looked for. The teacher's riper knowledge and wisdom can come only from continued study, experience and reflection. Most students enter college with the attitudes, the responsibilities and the intellectual standing of adolescents. The course has so to change them that they become adult students, and this is unlikely to be accomplished unless they are obliged progressively to accept adult responsibilities for mapping out much of their own work, for studying independently for considerable periods of time and for discussing intellectual and other kinds of problems with their tutors on as level terms as may be.

The overcrowded college curriculum

The training college curriculum has always been overcrowded. It is true that there have been great changes from the earliest days when only good health and inflexible will can have enabled many students to survive, but there is a tendency for overcrowding to increase. It is natural for the scope of subjects to become wider and the addition of new techniques and the increased knowledge of what children can do has led in some cases to the inclusion of so many 'courses' that the curriculum is in danger of fragmentation. In consequence, it is increasingly difficult for students to see the relevance of one part of their work to another. It is to be hoped that the three-year course will not be used as an opportunity to add courses on more and more topics to the college curriculum.

Professional and "academic" studies

There is no convenient word to cover all the subjects which are not "professional". Except where the context indicates otherwise, "academic" is used in this pamphlet to cover music, art, physical education and other "non-academic" subjects as well as the "book" subjects for which the word is usually reserved.

The place which professional as distinct from academic studies should take in the three-year course is being much discussed. The view is widely held that a considerable proportion of the extra time should be taken up by all that arises from the syllabus in Education, but it may well be that professional studies will benefit more from a re-arrangement of the course and from the greater maturity of the students in the third year than from any additional time that is taken up by them. Professional studies are particularly open to the addition of more and more topics as the years go by; any extra time given to these studies would be better used for tutorial and seminar purposes than for extending the syllabus in Education. In this pamphlet the view which is adopted is that the most substantial changes following from the extension of the course from two years to three should be in the academic work in the colleges.

[page 3]

The relation between the course and the needs of schools

The demands which primary schools make on their staffs are different from the demands that secondary schools are increasingly making on most, if not all, of those who teach in them. Account must be taken of the increasing variety in the organisation of secondary schools and of the heavier demand for teachers which day-release (the release of young people from employment for one day weekly to continue their education) will undoubtedly make. Further, youth clubs will continue to need the part-time services of trained teachers and the development of county colleges is a possibility to be borne in mind. Not only do many of these tendencies lead to a demand for more knowledge from the teachers, but also they stress some subjects more than others - science and mathematics particularly at the moment. In addition, it will become increasingly common to find graduates and non-graduates working side by side in the schools. It is important for the health of the teaching profession as a whole that three-year training should give a considerable proportion of teachers an academic standing and confidence which will enable them to take their places alongside graduates. Indeed, the three-year college could provide a better training than a university for certain types of general and specialist teaching in both primary and secondary schools.

The contribution from the schools

As far as the professional side of the work is concerned the three-year course may well bring about a closer relationship between schools and colleges. In the long run, nothing but good can come from an acceptance by the teaching profession as a whole of a greater responsibility both for the teacher in training and for the young teacher.

Maturity of the students

The greater maturity of the students in their last year should have important results. Not only will they set improved standards of work but also, in the organisation of their work and recreation and in the more subtle interplay of personality, they can be expected to have a powerful effect on the general life of the college, provided that they are given a generous measure of responsibility in those matters. Great changes have already taken place in this respect and it is to be hoped that something approximating to the best in university life will become the normal lot of all college students. The relationships between the staff and the students will become closer. The first few years of the new regime are likely to be an exacting and strenuous time for college staffs; the assumptions with which they approach their tasks will be all important.

[page 4]

II. The Calibre of the Students

Capacity on entrance to college

Within a few years the training colleges will take in a much smaller proportion of the age groups than they have had to accept during the last decade, and this should make for an improved quality of entry. It is true that the universities and the higher technological institutions will attract larger numbers of the ablest students than at present and, as a result, the number in the upper ranges of ability in the training colleges may not increase to any remarkable extent, but it seems reasonable to assume that the weakest candidates who now cause the colleges great concern and for whom remedial and "life-saving" courses have to be devised, will no longer be admitted.

The students at the end of the course

Although a number of factors will tend to eliminate the least able and the worst prepared candidates for entry, the very fact that the course will be longer should mean that attainments and interests at the end will have a wider spread. At least, this will be so if every student is encouraged to develop his powers to the fullest extent. The possible achievements of students in a three-year course cannot be deduced from what they can achieve in two years merely by simple proportion; the three-year course will provide an opportunity to improve so markedly the conditions under which work is carried on that, if the best students are given their heads, it is probable that work suitable for them in their third year will be well out of the range of that which is appropriate for many of the others. Many of the latter will be best served by courses developed in breadth, that is to say, by breaking fresh ground in their subjects of study without introducing new concepts beyond their powers of understanding, while their abler fellows can go much further and may reach, in some part of their course, levels comparable to those reached in university work. The main point here is that the range of possible achievement of the students will set the colleges the most important problem which they will have to solve. It will at the same time present an opportunity to meet the needs of' the schools for teachers with widely differing qualifications.

[page 5]

III. The Scope of the Three-Year Course

The use of the available time

Between the beginning and the end of the course there will be about 105 weeks when the students are working either in college or in the schools and there will be 40 weeks' vacation: a 50 per cent increase in term time and a 75 per cent increase in vacation time.

All too often, the hurry and pressure under which students now work can impoverish their own learning and induce passive and unquestioning habits of mind. First among present difficulties is that the proportion of the student's time which is left free for his own reading, thinking and writing, and for consultation with individual lecturers, is often far too small. Secondly, the periods when he is free from lectures and other compulsory activities are often so scattered throughout his timetable as to be but little use for concentrated or sustained study. Thirdly, a student just gets into his stride, hurried as it is, when he has to break off and turn his attention to the necessary, but totally different, experience of teaching practice. These seem to be the particular problems, associated with the general demand for more leisure, for which solutions should be sought in the three-year course; there is plenty of room for bold experiment in dealing with all three. The conduct of the courses in some subjects might be drastically modified in order progressively to reduce the number of lectures which students are obliged to attend. If, for example, the three-year course included no greater number of lectures than is now crowded into two years it would give the equivalent of a whole year's lecture and free time from which new patterns of course might be devised. There will be two long vacations instead of one and, at least in part, they could, and indeed should, be used for further study or for work in schools and in other places where students can meet children. This rhythm of the course - the way in which time is allocated to academic and professional studies and to teaching practice - could allow for at least one long stretch of uninterrupted work in college.

The relation between the vocational and cultural aims of the course

In post-war years attention has been focused on the dual function which training colleges have to perform, first as places of further personal education and secondly as a training ground for teaching. On the one hand the training college has offered "main" courses in the usual range of subjects, making it clear that these studies have

[page 6]

reference solely to the student's personal development while on the other hand it has also, through its "curriculum" courses, to provide the student with a background of other knowledge to carry him comfortably at least through some months of teaching, to relate this knowledge to the ideas that invest modern education and to help him to develop skill in putting those ideas into practice. The resulting dichotomy between the "student in himself" and "the teacher in training" is one to be deplored since it would tend to blur the proper function of the training college and to render professional training less effective than it might be. A training college should certainly accept all reasonable demands for the full development of its students through hard thinking and sustained study, but these aims are attainable, even more probably attainable, with training college students when vocational relevance adds motive power to otherwise disinterested study. Such a policy, far from diminishing the quality of work in specific courses of academic study, would rather enhance their significance. The student's studies will, of course, extend far beyond the range of school work; but the particular value to him of knowledge pursued for its own sake need not be diminished because of his growing awareness of the interest and value which his subjects can have for children and a growing respect for what children can achieve in these fields. Although in fact there is never a complete cleavage between the two sides of training it is to be hoped that the colleges will take the opportunities offered by the longer three-year course to promote the unity of professional and academic studies.

The variety of courses

At present there is a wide variation in the nomenclature used by the Area Training Organisations in the country as a whole. Similar courses are sometimes given different names and' different courses the same name; but, broadly speaking, three types of course exist:

(i) Main Subject courses, sometimes called "special" subjects, which provide the most substantial part of the student's academic education;

(ii) Curriculum courses which aim at providing the student with directly usable teaching matter and method. Such courses vary widely from college to college, in the number provided, in their duration and in the depth to which they are taken. Some are not more than rehabilitation courses which give the student just enough confidence in his own knowledge to be able to take a class of junior children without making mistakes which will be obvious to the pupils. These courses sometimes go under the name of "basic" or "remedial" courses;

[page 8]

(iii) Education courses, forming the greater part of the student's professional studies, which are themselves split up into a number of subsidiary parts.
This pamphlet refers to courses under the following three titles - Main, Curriculum, Education - and suggests that any course which does not fall naturally under one of these headings should be scrutinised carefully to determine whether it is really necessary, though the study of English and Welsh may need special consideration. It would be unfortunate if the coming of the three-year course of training were made the occasion for the addition of more and more courses to the curriculum of the college or to the timetable of the individual student. Any fragmentation of the course of training tends to frustrate the ablest students and to bewilder the weakest. It is highly doubtful whether an isolated course of a few weeks' duration is likely, in the long run, to give the student either a coherent body of knowledge or the necessary insight to apply it to teaching.

Main subject courses

It has been argued that among students who study a subject for three years there will be, at the end of that time, a much greater difference between the attainments of the abler and the weaker students than at present. It would seem appropriate, therefore, to develop Main courses on two levels:

(i) "A" level courses which would extend over the full three years and which, though in some subjects different in content from a university course, would give students both knowledge and appreciation of comparable quality;

(ii) "B" level courses which might go little farther than main courses now go in intellectual difficulty though, in some cases, they would range over a wider field.

"B" level courses would also normally extend over the full three years but in some circumstances it should be possible for an able student to accomplish them in two years. The "A" level course could be an adequate preparation for the student who wished eventually to become a teacher in charge of his subject; he could devote a large proportion of his time to it in the third year of the course and, concurrently, make a special study of the teaching of his chosen subject.

Curriculum courses

No part of the training college course now suffers more from the effects of lack of time than the Curriculum courses. The hope, expressed above, that courses of very short duration will not continue to exist under the conditions of three-year training applies very strongly to

[page 8]

Curriculum courses. Broadly speaking, it would seem that if such courses cannot be sustained over a period of three terms they should be regarded as of very doubtful value. The lecturer's task in the Curriculum course is specially difficult, for here he is dealing with students whose initial knowledge varies widely and this, often coupled with a desperate shortage of time, is bound, as matters stand at present, to leave some students with too little knowledge of the subject and too little feeling for it to develop their resources when left to their own devices. The Curriculum course must give students at least some appreciation of the value of the subject to children, some understanding of what is involved in teaching it, some insight into the difficulties that children are likely to meet and how these may be handled, and some knowledge of the organisation of the work in school and the materials required for it. It seems, therefore, that the Curriculum course should, on the one hand, give students the experience of learning something entirely new, at their own intellectual level, in order to help them understand what this experience means to children and, on the other, of studying closely, if not extensively, examples of work actually carried out by children. Unless the Curriculum course is an amalgam of the student's personal and professional education it is hardly likely to serve its purpose. It should be possible in the three-year course to make curriculum and child-study courses mutually supporting to a degree rarely possible at present.

If the view, expressed on page 4, about the ability of the students on entry into college is the right one, it should not be necessary to accept those who need a course at so low a level that it has to be called "remedial". There could well be a case for accepting a student whose music, for example, was exceptionally good but whose arithmetic was almost non-existent; but there should not be a requirement that such a student should be taught just so much arithmetic as will enable him to appear to children not to be a failure in the subject or to appear to an appointing Authority to be able to teach it when in fact he cannot. Such a student should, when accepted, be given a programme suited to his abilities, and he should seek an appointment suitable to his training.

Education courses

The subject in the college curriculum which has been expected to make the greatest contribution to the professional training of the student as distinct from his more academic studies, and has constantly competed in the struggle for the limited time available, has been that commonly known as Education. This subject usually consists of;

(i) a study of some of the main lines of educational thought and practice;

[page 9]

(ii) general educational psychology;

(iii) the history of education;

(iv) the educational system and its administrative pattern;

(v) the methods of teaching particular subjects;

(vi) health education - sometimes treated as a separate subject;

(vii) child study - or the theories of how children grow and learn - usually accompanied by direct observation;

(viii) teaching practice and other work with children in schools.

The principles of education obviously constitute a study which is not only both comprehensive and difficult but is capable of indefinite extension, and there will no doubt be some demand that more time should be given to this galaxy of subsidiary subjects in the three-year course. But the right action, it is suggested, would not be to extend the subject further but critically to review its range in order to determine what in fact might be reduced or abandoned, what needs to be done by a specialist lecturer and what can be done by all the staff in their own subject fields. It might even be helpful to remove some part of the Education course from the formal examination if not from the syllabuses or, alternatively, to examine some sections before the end of the third year. In general, the work in the first year should be firmly based in the students' experience of education as they themselves have known it and as they now come to see it in the schools.

Philosophical questions would become increasingly prominent in the third year when some of the perennial problems of education, which had been thrown up in earlier stages of the course, might be drawn together. The aim should be, at least in the third year, to reduce the number of separate branches of the study of Education so that what is done can be done thoroughly and so that it will form as nearly as possible a unified body of knowledge. No part of the curriculum is more susceptible to fragmentation than Education.

As in other subjects, so in Education, the three-year course will disclose a wide range of ability and of interest among the students which will call for corresponding differences in the studies they undertake. Though few students will have the cast of mind to enable them to gain much from a somewhat deeper study of all that goes under the heading of Education, some could benefit from a specialised study of one aspect of the subject. The chief problem in arranging such studies is one which presents a chronic difficulty to training colleges, namely, the problem of safeguarding the student from a blind acceptance of theory in advance of experience which might provide evidence for critical appraisal.

[page 10]

English and Welsh*

There can be no doubt that all teachers should have a substantial course in their mother tongue. Whether it should be the same course for all students in any given training college and what its duration should be are matters on which opinion will vary widely. It is essential for a teacher to understand that his command of words will determine the clarity, precision and force of his presentation and that personal relationships between pupil and teacher may be at the mercy of effective speech - effective in diction as well as in choice of words. For most teachers, and for all in primary schools, the ability to read aloud effectively is an essential skill. Moreover, if every teacher is to teach language in relation to his own subject he will need some power over the written word and considerable dexterity in its use and perceptiveness for its misuse. Further, unless teachers as a body have a conscious attitude to the special qualities of their native language their pupils are unlikely to have such an attitude themselves.

There is another function which courses in both English and Welsh should fulfil in the training colleges; it is to ensure that all students, no matter where they intend to teach, are helped to enjoy the literature of their own language in ways that few, except those who now take specific courses in English or Welsh literature, are helped at present. One result of the present shortage of time is that many teachers simply cannot read widely enough in their own language for the work that they are attempting in the schools. What is needed is systematic, though informal, guidance in reading and discussion, the object being the students' enjoyment of literature and the refinement of tastes and sympathies, not merely a facility in answering examination questions about 'set' books. The contribution which literature can make to the students' understanding of childhood and adolescence is now widely appreciated and it is to be hoped that the Education course will receive increasing support from the resources of biography and novel.

The Arts

It is important that every student should have the opportunity to enjoy the arts for their own sake. This is as much a matter of balance in the aims of the college as a whole as it is of timetable allotments. Many students will make their contacts with the arts through the informal activities which constitute an important part of the general life of the college. If there is more "free" time there will be more opportunity for the arts to flourish, and if formal teaching time is reduced the staff will be better placed for helping with this side of the students' personal education.

*See also page 17, "The special problem of colleges in Wales."

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The students' choice of courses

The preceding paragraphs have indicated the range of courses which it seems necessary to provide in order to satisfy students differing widely as regards both their attainments and interests. While it is often the case that marked ability in any subject is matched by a special interest, it is also true that many able students have no consuming passion for one subject in particular but prefer to spread their attention over a much wider field of academic and aesthetic studies. Undoubtedly many of the ablest students will train to be specialist teachers in secondary modern schools, but many others will prefer to use their special knowledge to make a distinguished contribution in primary schools. Inclination and width of interest, as well as level of ability, should be allowed to influence a student's choice of course.

The more stringent selection for entry to training will not eliminate the problem presented by the students of weaker ability. Their interests will not be best served by a course which has been designed as suitable for those who hope to specialise in academic subjects (using academic in the narrower sense). Moreover, these students will not be all of one kind. Some of them may never have had the opportunity to develop some particular gift and they may show unsuspected ability especially towards the end of a three-year course. Some will prove to have a natural sympathy with children either of primary or secondary school age; for these students additional work in child study may be appropriate, not as a "soft option" but because they are more perceptive in this direction. Some will have no obvious bent. For these the most appropriate choice may well be the pursuit of those subjects in which they have already had some success at school; it is probable that they will not rise above "B" level in any subject, yet they could still become very useful teachers, some in primary, others in secondary schools.

[page 12]

IV. Professional Studies and Teaching Practice

The study of children and young people

One of the specific reasons why teachers have so much to learn in their early years of teaching is that their knowledge and understanding of children is still inadequate for the tasks that face them. Though some parts of what has grown to be the traditional content of Education courses may well be reduced, what comes under the heading of child study should be enlarged. This need not entail more lecturing, but it should certainly involve more observation by students of individual children's attempts at learning, more reflection on such observation and more discussion of the implications of what has been observed. For this work the three-year course can provide not only the opportunities but also the time interval which is necessary for direct observations to give rise to deeper understanding. Young teachers should then be able to base their teaching on a better understanding of children, their first years of teaching should become more effective than they can at present, and they should have a clearer conception of the actual standards which can be achieved by children of different ages and abilities. This aspect of the Education course could well be a unifying factor, both within the Education syllabus and between practising teachers and the colleges. If the weekly lecture programme is reduced there will be much more opportunity for the training college staffs both to maintain and to refresh their own contacts with schools and also to give help of a tutorial nature to individuals or to small groups of students who need to talk their difficulties out.

Teaching Practice

Probably no part of the students' programme will be more deeply affected by a three-year course than teaching practice. It would seem important that the plunge into class teaching, however enlightened the actual methods of teaching might be, should be delayed rather longer than is often the case now. The present common arrangement of a period of teaching practice early in the student's first year sometimes requires the application of a rule-of-thumb technique which may preclude any sensitive observation of the pupil's contribution to the work in hand and which may make the student so preoccupied with his own performance that he can scarcely be aware in any critical sense of his impact on the children. It would therefore seem desirable that in most cases a student's first contact with schools after entry to

[page 13]

college should take the form of work with individual children and small groups and of helping the class teacher in various ways. Such an arrangement, enabling the student to learn about individual children as well as to see something of a variety of subjects through the eyes of individual children, might be made during the first two terms of the first year, either on regular days or half-days spent in schools throughout this period or by fewer visits on several successive days. Such an introduction to schools, crucial indeed in setting a standard for a student's approach to children, might well be linked with discussion in the course on the principles of teaching so as to start students thinking about the aims of the schools. as they know them. It is not envisaged that during this period students will spend time in observing isolated lessons given by other students or teachers, though to watch a skilled teacher's relationship with a class throughout a whole day is quite a different matter. Observation would seem to be most valuable when the students who observe have sufficient experience to enable them to appreciate the problems at issue and some criteria by which to evaluate the results achieved, especially when the teacher giving the lesson is prepared to join in frank and critical discussion of his aims and methods.

With such a preparation behind them the students might then undertake a continuous period of work in schools for three or four weeks later in their first year; this might well be an extension of the kind of work discussed in the preceding paragraph with, for example, more than one student sharing the work of a class, particularly in primary schools. Group and individual work with children might continue during the early part of the second year, when the possibility of undertaking some special work connected with subjects studied in college might be considered. A period of continuous practice in schools might then be arranged towards the end of the year; for at least some of this time students would have complete charge of a class. The final period of continuous work in schools should be a longer one and might extend, in a few cases, to a whole term, but in certain areas a period longer than six to eight weeks would probably place too great a strain both on the schools and on the students.

If a slower lead into class teaching takes place at the same time as more of the course in Education is related to observation of schools, children and school work, the distinction between school practice and Education will be very much blurred, at least in the first year or so at the training college. It will follow that the whole training college staff will need to be drawn very deliberately into the Education side of the course. This adds force to the suggestion that the three-year course should see no large increase of time given to Education as a subject taken by specialist lecturers in Education; it should also lead

[page 14]

to a natural and easy reference to teaching in the course of periods devoted to academic subjects, when such a reference is in fact natural and relevant. If the whole staff is, so to speak, integrated into the course, the course itself will have an unforced integration.

The possibility of students undertaking their long teaching practice in their home areas has been raised from time to time. The arrangement would present some formidable obstacles, not least among them being the difficulties in the way of adequate supervision; certainly the schools would need to be fully briefed about the part they would have to play. The advantages might be substantial: resources of the teaching profession could be brought more fully into play, the pressure on schools could be relieved in areas where colleges are heavily concentrated and, in the long run, the arrangement could bring benefits to practising teachers remote from training colleges.

[page 15]

V. The Needs of the Schools and the Consequences for the Curriculum and Organisation of Training Colleges

Primary Schools

Prospective primary teachers, whether of nursery, infant or junior children, are preparing in the main to be general practitioners, but this is not to say that those with particular gifts and special training in any field have not a valuable contribution to make to primary education. While specialist teaching will be inappropriate, the teacher with advanced qualifications nevertheless has an important part to play. Generally the three-year curriculum might be expected to offer substantial work in a number of fields. It is appropriate to refer to fields rather than to subjects because not until children reach the last two years of the primary stage do they begin to organise their knowledge in the form of subjects as adults understand the word. Thus, in general, students might be expected to enjoy at an appropriate level five aspects of the work they will undertake in school, namely, literature including stories of all kinds, mathematics, natural history, (a term covering a wider field than is usually implied by nature study), the arts and physical education. They need to gain not only knowledge of methods of teaching but insight into the nature of children's learning at the primary stage. It is therefore important that in their own learning these students should have other objectives than the passing of examinations since studies geared directly to examinations can, and often do, impoverish the quality of learning. The knowledge which many will bring with them from the grammar school will need to be filled out and re-directed by further reading, by discussion and by reflection. Not infrequently the two-year trained teacher finds himself at the outset of his career with a sound knowledge of 'methods' but with too little to give. Students who are both able and interested enough to pursue the study of subjects to an advanced level ought certainly to be expected to do so. The demands made on teachers by the development of the primary school curriculum have increased and will continue to increase. In particular there has been a great development of ideas and experience of what children can do in the field of art, craft, physical education and music. More recently there have been developments in the field of language that a few years ago would have seemed astonishing. Further developments can be expected, for example, in the achievements of the ablest children, especially in the later years of the junior stage.

[page 16]

Possible forms of the college curriculum (primary)

For the sake of clarity an example is given here of the kind of college primary curriculum implied by the suggestions made in the pamphlet.

(i) Every student would offer one Main subject at 'A' or 'B' level. Not many could offer two because Curriculum subjects would form a large part of their course.

(ii) Subjects compulsory throughout the course.English or Welsh or both languages as circumstances require.
Principles and Practice of Education
(iii) Curriculum subjects to be taken compulsorily for a limited though substantial period of time, probably 2 years for most students. (Students taking one of these as a main subject would not need a curriculum course if due consideration is given elsewhere to the teaching aspect).Physical Education
One of the arts (e.g. Art and Craft or Music)

Curriculum subjects would normally be covered in the first two years leaving the third year for Education including a 'special' or 'advanced' study if the student wished, the main subject, the mother tongue and the final teaching practice..

(iv) Subjects, not taken under (iii), over which some degree of variation from college to college or of option by the students may occur (again, to be taken for a substantial period of time, 1 or 2 years). Two or more of these may be grouped as combined studies.Religious Instruction
Environmental Studies
History and Geography
Natural History

These courses would be tailored to fit individual students but in general they might be given either a 'professional' bias for students with a sound knowledge of the subject, or a 'subject' bias for those without.

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Probably most students would take Religious Instruction but it could not be made compulsory within the terms of the Education Act; the colleges would no doubt draw the attention of students to the needs of the schools in respect of this subject.

While no student would take a set college course in all subjects of the primary school curriculum - and here as elsewhere subject courses of very short duration are to be deprecated - there is every reason why students should be put in the way of finding for themselves what they need in those subjects in which they do not attend a set course. No student can be sent out into the schools prepared for all eventualities; that this should be clearly acknowledged in the college's arrangements and explained to the student is a part of his education. It is customary for the student preparing to teach a certain age-range to gain some acquaintance with the teaching of older or younger children, or both. For many students this part of the work might receive a rather fuller treatment than is possible at present.

Secondary Schools

There is little doubt that the place of the form-teacher as compared with that of the specialist teacher in secondary schools will continue to be debated for a long time to come. What is not in doubt is that secondary schools are making increasing demands on the knowledge of their staffs, that some degree of specialist organisation is becoming the rule for most forms in most secondary schools, and that the teacher who takes his own form for most of the week is becoming a rarity except when the form is one of low intelligence; and even here the form-teacher often has some periods with other and abler pupils. As far as school organisation is concerned, subjects like art, music and physical education are already taught by specialists; for the academic subjects, the needs of school organisation would be met if most teachers could teach two subjects to fifth form standard and one to a lower standard, for it would then be easy to draw up a satisfactory timetable - provided that there is no serious shortage of teachers for particular subjects.

At the moment (and in girls' schools for many years to come) mathematics and science cannot be adequately covered by the number of teachers available in the education system at large. In many schools this problem is solved by leaving some of the science out of the timetable and by requiring a large proportion of the teaching staffs each to take a little mathematics. This shows a lively awareness of the kind of public outcry there would be if mathematics or arithmetic began to disappear from the schools, and it places a special responsibility on the training colleges for some time to come. They have both to provide a stop-gap ability to teach mathematics and science (to

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provide for the present) and to build up during, say, the next ten years an output of students sufficiently qualified in these subjects to make the future much more secure than the present. It is not suggested that all students should be compelled to take a course in mathematics but that for the present many of them would do so voluntarily after the colleges have drawn attention to what awaits the student when he applies for his first post. As it becomes increasingly possible to select students it may be that, for a time at least, some ability in mathematics or science will often be given preference.*

Possible forms of college curriculum (secondary)

Again, solely to bring the suggestions to a focus, an example is given below to show what effect they might have on the college secondary curriculum. The following pattern appears to emerge:

(a) Principles and Practice of Education;

(b) at least two Main subjects to be taken by every student. Whenever possible one at least to be at 'A' level. Science could count as two Main subjects;

(c) Curriculum subjects to be taken strictly according to the student's likely needs. These should include the mother tongue; some students would take no other curriculum subject. It should be rare for any student to take more than two curriculum subjects.

Subject to the limitations of timetabling the pattern of the secondary course may be expected to vary widely from student to student. A few might take three Main subjects, two of them at 'A' level, Education and English; others might be better served by two Main subjects at 'B' level, together with Education, English and two curriculum subjects. Even for the form-teacher of backward children it is not necessary that more than five subjects should have been taken at a training college. The more the students take a restricted, though not too restricted, range of subjects the more possible should it be to provide variety of choice.

The special problem of colleges in Wales

The general principles enunciated in the pamphlet apply equally to

*Although the pamphlet is not concerned with the present three-year Specialist Colleges attention may be drawn to them as potential sources of teachers of mathematics and science. Some of them take in students who possess a General Certificate of Education at 'A' level in one, two and sometimes three sciences or mathematics. Given suitable help from a neighbouring institution these colleges could bring forward a small but valuable number of teachers who could at least help with the teaching of mathematics and science in their schools.

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Wales but the fact that Wales is a bilingual country, with all that this implies, calls for further suggestions.

The language of instruction in the Welsh training colleges is, in general, English, but at two of the colleges students may elect to do some or the whole of their course through the medium of Welsh. For such students Welsh is substituted for English as a compulsory part of the professional course and English is prescribed as a Curriculum course. All students may elect to qualify for the Bilingual Endorsement on their Certificate; such students must reach a satisfactory standard in Welsh and English and must follow a course of study (with appropriate teaching practice) of the problems of teaching both languages, as first and as secondary languages. At present the Education courses do refer to the bilingual problem but this is only one section in a wide and comprehensive syllabus. It should be possible to extend this section so as to include a study of the problem in its historical and cultural setting. Students should have a direct personal acquaintance with modern Welsh cultural institutions, all Welsh-speaking students should have some knowledge of the problems of teaching Welsh and English and all non-Welsh-speaking students should have a thorough training in the problems of teaching English as a second language.

The choice of a Main subject by the student must obviously be governed by the same considerations as have already been set out in the earlier sections of this pamphlet. There will be many Welsh-speaking students who, as now, will choose some subject other than Welsh for their Main subject. Such students might be encouraged to take their Curriculum subjects through the medium of Welsh or, at least, to take Welsh itself as one of these subjects.

Students who have elected to take their course through the medium of Welsh are required at present to take English as one of their Curriculum subjects. It may be doubted whether this is the best arrangement for such students and the three-year course may provide an opportunity to plan for them a wide and comprehensive syllabus in English literature and culture, lasting over the whole three years.

The contribution of school staffs to professional training

The relationships that now exist between the colleges and the schools are noteworthy for the respect with which each regards the problems and obligations of the other. Many colleges call upon individual members of school staffs to assist on specific occasions in the less formal sides of the training and these contributions are highly valued. In one way and another the changes to be expected when the three-year course is established will give considerable impetus to the cooperation between school and college; for example, if greater

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emphasis is placed upon the study of children at work in school it will follow that the teachers themselves must play an increasingly important part through discussion, and perhaps in other ways, in helping students to understand the whole situation of the child in school. A much more general contribution from practising teachers should be looked for as experience of the three-year course is gained, and some member, or members, of each school staff might have special liaison duties with the college using their school. Such an arrangement would provide professional people with opportunities to consult each other about the students' professional training. If the teaching profession were associated with training in that way it would hardly be possible to stop short of some more deliberate and organised form of cooperation than takes place at present. That training colleges can draw deeply on the resources of the best practising teachers is shown by the arrangements in Northern Ireland where a few of the ablest teachers are seconded to the College staff for periods of three years. It would seem that if a major extension of the training of teachers, such as is foreshadowed in the three-year course, is to be wholly successful it must, in due time, call for a commensurate contribution from the established members of the profession.

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VI. The Size of the Colleges and some Related Problems

Limitation of the courses offered by individual colleges

If the problems posed by the three-year course have been correctly appraised and the principles for their solution suitably chosen, it is clear that there must be a thorough examination of the range of courses which it is possible for the existing colleges to offer. Some re-examination is already taking place here and there; but the provision in the country as a whole will need close scrutiny and individual Area Training Organisations and colleges will have some difficult decisions to take. There are now 83 colleges offering courses of training for secondary school teaching. Of these, no less than 61 also train for teaching both infants and juniors. Of the colleges with 200 or fewer students, 37 are concerned with secondary training and, of these, 31 provide training for infant and junior school teaching as well. Some colleges also provide nursery courses. When a three-year training period becomes the rule these colleges will have year-groups of only 50 to 70 students. It is obvious that a large number of colleges will need to reconsider three things, namely, the range of schools for which they can train teachers, the range of Main subjects with which they can deal at 'A' and 'B' levels and the possibility of grouping students of more than one 'year' together for some part of their programmes. These problems, which can only be solved by the Area Training Organisations and colleges concerned, raise acutely the question of the degree to which colleges ought to regard themselves as autonomous. The solutions might lead, for example, to the evolution of a larger number of specialist colleges, to training colleges offering a fairly narrow range of subjects, to some joint arrangement either between a group of colleges or between a college and some specialist institution in the neighbourhood, and even to larger colleges offering a wide range of courses. But whatever solutions turn out to be the best - and these are bound to differ widely from area to area - it seems clear that many colleges, in one way or another, will be obliged to restrict the range of courses they offer.

Guidance of the applicant for admission to a college

Some of the possibilities outlined in the previous paragraph raise the whole question of getting each student into the right course. This process should start while the prospective student is at school and

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much greater publicity will be needed than now if the differences between the courses in one college and another become greater.

Transfer of the student

One characteristic of the present system, for which there is much to be said, is that in many colleges, just because they offer a full range of courses, it is possible for a student to delay his choice of the type of school in which he wishes to teach or, indeed, to change his mind if he is found part way through the course to have hitherto unsuspected abilities in a particular direction. If colleges become even slightly more specialised, the same kind of freedom will only be possible if transfer from college to college is made easier. It may well be that the problem of transferring a student to another college for advanced work will arise most frequently in the third year of the course. The problem must be plainly acknowledged and the necessary provision made for dealing with it. Where colleges are near together, a student's special needs could be catered for by making special arrangements for him to do more advanced work at a college other than his own. In other cases transfer from college to college might raise the question not only of continuity in the student's training but also of the acceptability of any examinations he may already have taken. It is to be hoped that the needs of individual students will be anticipated as early as possible so that the problems of transfer are reduced to a minimum, but that if such problems arise the principles of "free trade" between the colleges will be applied generously.


One or two references to examinations have been made already but it does not seem profitable to go into any detail on this matter. It is obvious that more varied practices than are current at present will be possible when the course stretches over three years. There would be advantages if not all the examinations were delayed to the end of the final year. With Curriculum courses the present practice is largely one of internal examination. It may be that some students could take Main subject examinations at 'B' level after two years so giving themselves a qualification which, in some respects, would be significantly higher than that of a Curriculum course. However this may be, more flexible examination arrangements could make it easier for students to match their attainments to their full ability. Some Area Training Organisations might prefer to tie 'A' level courses to a definite standard, in the university sense, dependent on examinations at the end of the course, while 'B' level courses, being perhaps differently conceived, might be subJect to a more flexible form of assessment, provided they stretched the individual student.

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VII. Conclusion

A definite point of view has been taken in this pamphlet. It is plain that other points of view are possible and that not all the ramifications of training can be pursued in so short a space. The factor of outstanding importance would seem to be the greatly increased time that could be made available, not for lectures, but for the students' own thinking and reading, writing and discussion. The results of sturdily refusing to let this advantage be submerged in favour of other claims are far reaching. The second guiding thought has been that in selecting the aims to be pursued, a sharp eye should be kept on the more pressing needs of the schools and their pupils. This does not represent a hard-boiled lack of idealism. It conceals, perhaps, a faith that really good teachers continue to learn on the job and to cultivate their minds after they have left college perhaps even more faithfully than during college days, and that three-year training will produce far more teachers who are good in this sense than would ever be possible under a two-year regime. Moreover, the three-year course could, and should, bring with it an enlarged contribution to the training of teachers from the established members of the profession, not only during the course itself but in the crucial period when, for the first time, the beginner faces the full responsibilities of his vocation. Finally, implicit in all that has been said is the view that many students can, if given their head, reach much higher standards of attainment than is possible at present. True, they will have to learn how to learn - but is not this one of the more valuable results of a successful education?