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Practices and Partnerships: Examining teacher learning and professional development in initial teacher education programmes

My research is concerned with initial teacher education in England. In my PhD, I considered how the choice of learning environment impacts on the learning and development of trainee teachers. The intensive yearlong immersion in three different training sites illuminated the cultures of the differing providers and resulted in the generation of rich, original data giving focused insight into what it looks and feels like to learn to teach in the increasingly marketized environment of teacher training in England.

The subsequent conceptual theorising led to the formation of a framework addressing conflict, transition and agency. This conceptual framework has the capacity for analysis that transcends the specifics of individual programmes, both in the UK and internationally. Situated within this increasingly complex landscape of initial teacher education provision, this project addresses the need to ensure that there are mechanisms for focused support for trainees and for teacher educators working with newcomers to the profession.


The project aim is to ensure that the findings and ramifications of my doctoral research are shared with a range of audiences, both within and outside academia. Work with UK teacher educators will be supplemented by the undertaking of a research visit to a key international institution for teacher education, further facilitating discussion and collaboration.

The production of peer-reviewed articles exploring the findings and the methodology of my research will be supplemented by the writing of a book proposal addressing the concept of identity in teacher education.

In this COVID world, plans are evolving and changing as all in teacher education embrace the challenge of a move to online learning.

Beneficiaries and impact

Engagement with trainees, teacher educators, school leaders and school mentors is at the heart of this project. The production and trialling of resources for use in the training environment and in schools will broaden the impact of my research and make a direct link between my own career as a teacher and senior leader and my development as a researcher. I intend to exploit opportunities to engage in networking, attending relevant conferences and meetings and presenting my research to different audiences where possible.

The project will involve work with CITED (Centre for Innovation in Teacher Education and Development), a joint partnership between King’s College London and Teachers College, Columbia University as we work together to provide opportunities for collaboration and development for teacher educators internationally.

The number of teachers leaving the profession in England within five years of qualifying is growing. The use of the conflict, transition and agency framework could impact directly on retention by evaluating and supporting learning in both teacher training environments and in the continued professional development of early career teachers. It has the capacity to foreground emotional and transitional struggles, promoting a collaborative approach to the externalisation of inner conflicts, enabling greater awareness of the problems and support needed. 

Project status: Starting

Principal Investigator


Funding Body: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)


Period: October 2020 - October 2021

Contact us

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