Student Teacher Voice - Listening to the future teacher
Should we look at student teachers as customers of their institution, entitled to provide feedback on the courses they attend?
Members of the ITE Forum met on 21st February and discussed the whys and wherefores of involving student teachers in designing university courses and curricula.
The meeting opened with a video presenting the views of two student teachers at the University College Dublin, who both argued that student voices are important, not only at the end of the course, but also throughout its duration.
In discussion, Peter Claxton from Smart Technologies took this thought further, by proposing to view students as university customers, entitled to provide feedback for the services they receive. However, it was observed that under current circumstances, students might lack the necessary experience and skills to provide a constructive and useful feedback. As a result, they can feel intimidated when asked to do so. Hence, as a starting point, students need to develop and practise the skills needed to provide appropriate feedback, which can be captured and used by institutions and tutors. Eventually, future teachers could find such a skill useful in the span of their careers as well.
Participants concluded that bringing in student voices and providing them with an opportunity to express their opinions benefits both students and the initial teacher education providers. It can result in better quality courses, better outcomes for students and it can empower students by allowing them to manage their own learning processes.
The ITELab project aims to establish and propose ways in which student teachers could be involved in design of the curricula. It includes a strand of activity that provides student teachers with a chance to express their opinions on the courses they attend and programmes of study.
The ITE Forum will continue this discussion at the 2019 School Innovation Forum and at future ITE Forum meetings.