Almost 2 weeks into my PGCE and we have covered a huge amount of material at what feels like sprinting pace. I was worried 3 weeks in college wouldn’t be enough to cover all the background to learning theories, behaviour management techniques and all, the rest and I was right. The lectures are a fast-paced romp through the subject matter (often totally ignoring the ideas espoused in them for the sake of speedy chalk and talk).
Each lecture concludes with a list of 40000000 essential texts to read. The thing is, while some seem really interesting so do another 5 or 6 hundred books which I think would benefit me but aren’t actually on any of the lists and the days still have 24 hours.
Some things on politics of learning theories: I have been really interested in the lectures and references to learning theories as well as what i have seen in schools. Some teachers seem to take the whole thing with a pinch of salt whilst others are evangelical adherents. I need to read more (obviously!) But i am sceptical of the evidence base to these and can’t help wondering if they might be picked up with enthusiasm and then held onto tightly less because they actually describe learning well and more because they chime with preferred political attitudes to education. For example: the mindsets theory seems to me (health warning: more reading required) a good match for the ‘work hard and success will follow’ view of life, whereas that of Vygotsky leans more in the direction of an almost relativistic approach (potential learning determined by those around the learner) and acknowledging the need to support learners in those tasks they may be able to do in time. I expect there are some good academic papers out there on this which i should read. Back to the library then!
On laughter: it seems like this learning to learn ’em lark is going to be a full and tough year, so I’m very pleased that my subject group seem to be supportive, knowledgeable and quick to laugh. Thursday subject pathway sessions are going to be full but fun I think!