Grove, J. (2011) British Academics Reject Training, Times Higher Education Supplement, November 3
‘Standardized teacher training for all new academics has been emphatically rejected by British academics after it was proposed by the Higher Education Academy. The teaching and learning organization launched a consultation on its career-development proposal, the UK Professional Standards Framework, last November. It said at the time that it “strongly recommended” that all new academic staff “be required” to complete an HEA-accredited teaching program, such as the postgraduate certificate in higher education.
It also said that all postgraduates who teach should undertake training, that existing staff should be “offered opportunities” to do a PGCHE or the equivalent, and that classroom observation should become part of any teaching qualification.
But the HEA’s report on the consultation, published this week, reveals that more than 70 percent of respondents oppose compulsory discipline-based teaching qualifications. Mandatory teaching observations and mentor ideas are also rejected, with the sector stressing that such practices should be left to individual institutions.
The revised professional standards framework makes no mention of obligatory teacher training.’
This was the result of a consultation process where the idea was floated then totally rejected by the profession. The argument for rejection was that this was a threat to university autonomy – universities do their own training.
First, kudos to the Brits for at least having a national discussion about this issue. However, the weakness of the universities’ position is that training is still voluntary and not mandatory, and there are no accepted standards for training. There was no constructive response from the universities about how training could be improved, and more importantly, systematized so that all new instructors were properly trained in teaching. It should not be beyond the wit of supposedly bright people to develop a national standard that still leaves autonomy for the institutions in how they deliver training to those standards.
Without adequate training we are not going to see the return on investment in technology. I’m getting to the point of thinking that we should stop investing in technology for teaching in higher education because the system is just not prepared to make the changes needed to justify the investment. It’s like giving a Porsche to a 7 year old .