Teenagers Should Take Charge Of Lessons To Encourage Them To Teach, Say MPs

PA  |  Posted: 1/05/2012 05:53 Updated: 1/05/2012 11:17   PA

Teachers Classroom

Teenagers should be put in charge of lessons to encourage them to train as teachers, MPs said on Tuesday.

"Teaching taster classes" should be offered to sixth-formers and undergraduates to show them the benefits of a career in the profession, according to the Commons Education Select Committee.

It also called for would-be teachers to be observed in the classroom before they are offered a training place to check their suitability for the job.

In a new report, the influential committee examined the best ways of recruiting and retaining the best teachers.

Evidence has shown that very good teachers boost pupils' grades and make a significant difference to their students' future earnings, it said.

The report says that allowing young people to try out teaching could improve the quality of applicants and lead to a lower drop-out rate.

The government should consider developing a formal "internship" system, similar to one run in Singapore, to allow youngsters to experience the "content, benefits and career potential" of teaching before committing to it.

These "taster sessions" should include actual teaching, rather than just observing lessons, the committee said, with students given feedback afterwards.

"Applying to do teacher training is a 'high stakes' decision and the purpose of these sessions is to give people a chance to try out their own aptitude before committing," the report said.

"We believe this approach could help both deter some people who are not best suited to teaching and persuade others to consider it."

The committee also called for all teacher trainers to observe potential recruits in lessons before offering them a training place.

"Our evidence was clear that teacher quality cannot be fully established without observing a candidate actually teach," the report says.

The MPs backed ministers' plans to toughen up the literacy and numeracy tests taken by trainee teachers but suggested caution over the introduction of a test of candidates' personal skills.

The committee said it welcomed the idea but called for the Department for Education to publish details of what the test might include and keep it under close review.

It raised concerns about the government's move to use a potential teacher's degree class to determine whether or not they get a bursary to train.

Under the government's plans, anyone with a third-class degree will not be eligible for funding. But the committee said that the bursary scheme alone will not attract more people into teaching.

"Whilst bursaries will help to attract people with strong academic records, greater effort is also needed to identify which subset of these also possess the additional personal qualities that will make them well-suited to teaching," the report says.

It also backed ministers' plans to create "teaching schools" to train teachers.

While it acknowledged that these schools will be expected to work with universities, the committee warned against any reduction of universities' role in teacher training which would bring "considerable demerits".

The report suggests the creation of a National Teacher Sabbatical Scholarship scheme to allow outstanding teachers to take time out of the classroom to work in a different school, undertake research or refresh their subject knowledge.

It echoes a suggestion made by Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, who said in November that good teachers who suffer "burnout" should be given time off.

It also called for the government to develop plans for a new "College of Teaching", a professional body modelled along the lines of Royal College or chartered institutes seen in other professions.

Committee chairman Graham Stuart said: "It's crucial that we have an educational system which celebrates great teachers, keeps more of them in the classroom, supports their development and gives them greater status and reward."

Loading Slideshow...
  • Zoo keeper Jo Shirley from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, with an orphaned baby wallaby that is being hand-reared by keepers. Picture date: Monday April 30, 2012. The orphaned baby wallaby is busy settling into her new home - which comes in the shape of a rucksack. Tiny Tilly is being hand-reared by keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after she was found out of her mum's pouch a month ago. She is being looked after by keeper Jo Shirley who carries her around in a substitute pouch made from a rucksack wherever she goes - just as her real mum would do. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

  • London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone at the launch in south London of a poster supporting his campaign to be Mayor of London today. Picture date: Monday April 30 2012. The London mayoral election takes place on May 3. See PA story POLITICS Mayor. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

  • A seagull lands on a man's head at Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, May 1, 2012.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

  • Jeon Sang-Guen of South Korea competes in the Men's +105kg during day seven of the Asian Weighlifting Championships at Yichung Culture & Sports Center on April 30, 2012 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (left) argue on the touchline.

  • Women dressed as witches dance during the Walpurgis Night at the famous Hexentanzplatz (Witches' dance ground)' in the Harz mountains near Thale, northern Germany, Monday, April 30, 2012. Hundreds of costumed devils and witches meet to celebrate Walpurgis Night, a traditional religious holiday of pre-Christian origins. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

  • A torn safety net on One World Trade Center provides a window view of the Manhattan skyline, Monday, April 30, 2012 in New York. One World Trade Center is being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks. It reached just over 1,250 feet on Monday. That's just taller than the observation deck on the Empire State Building. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool)

  • Palestinian protester, wearing a national flag mask, takes cover during clashes with Israeli troops outside Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 1, 2012, following a demonstration in support for prisoners held in Israeli jails. Clashes erupted between stone-throwing youths and the Israeli army, who fired tear gas, rubber bullets and a foul-smelling liquid known as 'skunk' to break up the demonstration. AFP PHOTO/ABBAS MOMANI (Photo credit should read ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Militants and labour union members gather around a burning the effigy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino in Manila on May 1, 2012 as part of the May Day protests demanding higher wages and policies that would make it harder to fire workers. Aquino has said he is trying to help labour but has warned that giving too many benefits will make the country less competitive, costing more jobs. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Swan glide through the flooded riverside walkways in the shadow of the cathedral in Worcester. (PA)


Filed by Lucy Sherriff  |