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It is likely that trainees will be involved in a `paired placement' arrangement during the PGCE course. This will occur where a trainee is on placement with, and working closely with, another trainee on the PGCE course. This may involve a trainee working with another trainee from the same subject group or a trainee from a different subject group. It is most likely that this will occur during the Complementary School placement (Block 2) but there will also be some Partnership Schools in which this arrangement will take place during the Homeschool placements (Block 1 and Block 3).  We have piloted and evaluated this arrangement within our PGCE programme and a number of clear advantages have emerged:

 a) from the trainee's perspective these include:  

  • mutual support;
  • peer observation and discussion;
  • the sharing of ideas and learning from each other;
  • the opportunity to work collaboratively;
  • more support and training from both mentors and tutors through co-observation and joint feedback; and,
  • quicker progress and development.

b) from the perspective of schools and Subject Mentors the benefits were:

  • the extra help brought in by having more than one trainee in the department;
  • greater contact with the University and therefore a greater feeling of partnership;
  • joint observation and feedback for trainees resulting in a steeper learning curve which in turn was more beneficial to pupils;
  • trainees settling into the department more quickly, making more contribution and being less reliant on teachers for ideas and support; and,
  • more focused discussion in weekly mentor meetings. 

In terms of the implications for timetable/teaching commitments, we found that the following were useful strategies for a paired placement and could be incorporated as required: collaborative planning, with each other, with the Subject Mentor etc;

  • observing/teaching alternation;
  • classroom assistant role alternating, dividing class into smaller groups, or even teaching separately and then coming together for plenary;
  • collaborative teaching;
  • planning/teaching split (one trainee preparing a lesson for the other to teach);
  • resource development and evaluations through shared teaching use;
  • class division split, with clear management roles;
  • collaborative assessment in the classroom; and,
  • cross-curricular collaboration In addition to whole class teaching commitment, each trainee might take on the following: 
  • working with small groups of Year 11 pupils, where appropriate;
  • observation of post-16 classes, where appropriate, with some team teaching with the class teacher;
  • supporting SEN pupil(s); and,
  • form Tutor attachment. 

Detailed guidance on the `paired placement' arrangements will be provided for both trainees and school colleagues. Whatever placement arrangement is in operation, all trainees will receive their own Practice of Teaching Reports at the end of each placement and these will reflect their progress and achievements during that placement period.    

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