The influence of school staffs on primary PGCE trainee teachers' professional learning
This thesis is a multi-case study of the placement professional learning of fifteen primary PGCE trauiees within the school-based part of teacher training. It is concerned with the influence of individual staff, especially mentors and host class teachers, as well as of whole staffs and sub-groups, on adult and pupil oriented aspects of teachers' jobs (though excluding a detailed study of the development of subject knowledge or of specific classroom skills). A participant observer strategy was used within a grounded theory approach to develop agenda for semi-structured interviews with trainees. The main findings are that trauiees leamt through four modes of learning: as observers, participating observers, participants and observing participants. Self-reliance was important for trainees' learning, but relationships with individual staff (especially mentors and host class teachers) were important and constractive influences when such staff adopted a 'learner modeV of intervention. Whole staffs were important influences on trainees' professional development when trainees were accepted as fiill or quasi-staff members, particularly in terms of the interadult dimensions of teachers' jobs. Trainees were expected to 'fit in' with staffs' wa.ys of working, even when their value systems clashed with those of placement teachers. Then, trainees were often constrained by a power imbalance implicit in their status as leamers. Trainees responded by compHance, engagement, strategic compromise or nonconformity, with engagement most likely to gain staff support and enhance trainees' learning. Conclusions are that school-based training underestimates the complexity of workplace learning, and that inequity is possible. Staff cultures influence powerfiilly both trainees' learning and staffs' treatment of them. PGCE trainees tend not to become acculturated, though sometimes at the cost of restricted capacities to leam. Learning about the uiteradult dimensions of teachers' jobs is haphazard, and is largely ignored by official teacher training curricula. Finally, specific reconunendations are made for trainees, placement schools, university teacher trainees and national teacher training policies.