Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

An investigation into the Pedagogical Trajectories of PGCE Trainees Using Espoused 'Beliefs'
Matt Smith

Postgraduate trainee teachers undergo profound ‘shifts’ in their pedagogical understanding and practices through the year that they are taught at a UK Higher Education Institution. This study ‘investigated, in a paired pre–post design, the espoused pedagogical beliefs of three cohorts of PGCE trainees, at two time points – at the onset and toward the end of their studies in a teacher education department in a major HEI in the UK, with corroborative results from a fourth cohort and from a wider set of institutions. Using an adaptation of the ‘practices’ scale of Swan (2006), trainees’ pedagogical beliefs were charted and described on a continuum running from transmissionist to child-centred through answering 25 items, and shifts from pre-course to post course were investigated on two fronts – individually and for each item. Two general principles are represented in the data: trainees seem to either make rather more radical shifts towards child-centeredness (75/117 trainees [64.1%] at an average shift of +0.28) or more slight shifts towards a more teacher centred orientation (37/117 trainees [31.6%] at an average shift of -0.18. The average shift was +0.14 per trainee (from 3.35 to 3.49) - a significant trend towards a greater learner-centrism across the longitudinal study.

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