The course is built upon principles of inclusion and equality of opportunity in teaching and learning for all students whatever their potential and achievements. Trainees are encouraged to foster their own and their students’ creativity through an enthusiastic commitment to adventurousness, exploration and systematic hard work within and beyond the classroom. Trainees are also encouraged to develop an attitude of critical enquiry and see themselves as teachers who research their classrooms so that they make informed choices in all that they do. The course therefore provides a stimulating introduction to current theory and practice in the teaching of English.
The Faculty-based work is closely linked to a programme of classroom experience in local comprehensive schools, both state maintained schools and academies. In their school-based work, trainees are mentored by experienced subject teachers. Both in the Faculty and in schools, trainees are encouraged to explore a wide range of creative and systematic approaches to teaching and learning. The course covers all aspects of the National Curriculum for English including speaking and listening, reading and writing; drama; language study; literature from different historical periods, cultures and traditions; non-literary texts; media and moving image texts; the use of information and communication technology. In addition, trainees learn about teaching English within 14-19 courses, including GCSE and A level English Language, English Literature and Creative Writing. The course also addresses areas of enrichment such as extra-curricular activities, museum and gallery education and learning in out-of-school contexts such as the nearby botanic garden and other sites of local historical interest.
Trainees learn a variety of teaching methods including whole class teaching, structured group work and individual or pair work. There is a strong emphasis on active learning through discussion, presentations, peer-tutoring, research, independent study and writing. Throughout the course, trainees study different methods of assessment and how they support classroom learning, lesson planning and teaching. In seminars and workshops, the integral relationship between educational theory and teaching methodology is explored. Trainees reflect critically on their experiences as learners and teachers in regular meetings with their subject mentors in schools and develop a rationale for their classroom practice.
There is an emphasis on encouraging trainees’ own creativity in producing poetry, short stories, plays and videos. Twice a year, the group meets to share and perform creative pieces that trainees have either written or made themselves or produced with their students in school.