Teachers are not the only adults to work with young people, and schools are not the only places where learning happens.
‘Every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances’.
Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto
The Workforce Reform agenda, and Every Child Matters have brought to the fore the necessity for teachers to work efficiently and effectively with other professionals, so it is essential that student teachers develop their knowledge of who these groups of people are and how best to work with them in order to enhance learning and teaching.
Student teachers may become so intent upon developing themselves as teachers that they are unaware of the support and expertise available from working with other professionals. As well as learning how to make the best use of teaching assistants (TAs), they need to develop their awareness of the many agencies outside schools that actively promote connections to both deepen and broaden children’s learning. It can actually be very supportive for a new teacher to realise that they are not on their own when faced with responsibility for their first class or for a number of groups. Their own professional subject knowledge can be greatly enhanced by working collaboratively with specialists in related fields.
Using outside agencies such as theatre groups, authors and museums can certainly enhance learning, but without sufficient planning, preparation and follow-up, student teachers may fail to capitalise on the events themselves. They will need to learn how to do this.
Particularly in the Primary stage, where children are with just one teacher for most of the year, enlisting the skills and expertise of other adults is an important element of the teacher’s role. For example, even though they will be aware of teaching assistants in school, and may even have been teaching assistants themselves, they may not fully realise how to choose the pupils the teaching assistants work with, how to plan their work, and how to communicate it to them. Secondary teachers should be able to find helpful ideas within these pages, which may be easily adapted to use with older pupils.
Ask student teachers to list all the other professionals they might profitably work with as part of their job as a teacher. Use the results as the basis for a discussion.
1.3 Useful Links