Whether you’re a career changer, thinking about starting a BEd or you’re planning on taking the PGCE route you’ll find lots of advice here. Charlie Taylor will answer new topics containing "Dear Charlie" in the subject.
I start a D&T PGCE at Northumbria Uni this Sept.
I have come from a very much design based background, getting a degree in Architecture (assessment almost purely design project based) to working at an architects practice where I effectively had drawings to produce all day. Part of this has been my lack of skill and confidence in written work, which has got me pretty anxious when I've been reading the forums today!
I've been teaching design workshops for about 3 years now and have gotten very confident in it, through good feedback from students and teachers alike. All of this pointed me to a career in teaching (despite me being well on track to become an Architect), and I had to make the decision to either study for my Architecture Professional Diploma, or the PGCE. I'd been accepted onto both, and due to my unhappiness at work (morale decline, 2 paycuts), I chose the PGCE and beginning to think I may not be upto scratch for it.
Im worried now that I've chosen it for the wrong reasons. I do love the teaching i do, but I'm reading passages on here which are seriously making me second guess my decision! Or is this just a case of me seeing the worst as noone reports the good stuff!
I have dyslexia problems which I've been up front and honest about, but trying to find out, is a PGCE gained via specific course exams (I dont mean the QTS ones), and a dissertation of any kind? Roughly what kind of assignments am I to expect? and how frequently? If its several per week then I'm probs out of my depth.
You will have to pass every course requirement in order to gain PGCE and QTS. They include, among other things, your placements, assignments, skills tests, subject audits, any other directed tasks. There is no dissertation, and no exams, though subject audits take the form of a paper test, with a pass mark between 60 to 70%. Your assignment is an acdemic essay, from 1000 words to 4000 words, with appendices and bibliography - similar to what you did for your degree, except that you will need to include your reflection of school experience - some assignments require you to undertake specific research or task in school. You may have around 5-6 assigments to complete over the year. Some are specific to your subject, others on professional issues like differentiation, assessment, class management, equal opportuinities, learning styles, health and safety etc.
Declare your dyslexia at earliest opportunity, so that suitable support can be put in place by your uni.
your input there is much appreciated, I've just been for a long walk and talkwith her who knows best! (mum) and its allowed me to reflect properly on all the reasons why I want to teach. Ihave reaffirmedto myself that thepath decision is right. The investment of time of the PGCE (not to mention its funded as well as my previous job!) is well worth the outcome of me possibly finding out that I love teaching and want nothing more, or otherwise.
I'm a great beliver in informed answers and decisions, and given the architecture a good long chance, but life behind a computer screen is not for me! Looking at my strengths, its people skills, being madly enthusiastic on many things, and making it contagious. Kind of like a salesman almost! haha, although I have strong morals which is why I know I cant do a job fueled purely by money/profits (architecture totally is).. All in all, I know I'm at least on the right track to a career that suits me now!
Im pleased that there isnt a dissertation or exams, I have already been for assessments with student support about the dyslexia and now looking to get the money together for the £300 formal assessment.
If you dont mind me asking, what PGCE did you do and when? Many thanks!
Primary, some years ago.
I know of no current PGCE course that requires you to sit a formal examination. Not always the case, I had to do an exam on my PGCE back in 1981!
The academic component of PGCE is assessed by a number of written assignments. The exact number, and the timing of these, varies tremendously between institutions; anything from 3 to 8 is possible. Again it differs between institutions as to the academic level at which these are assessed, but it is increasingly common for the assessment to be at masters degree level (a PGCE could earn you between one third and a half of the credit points required for a full masters degree). As Alec says, the assignments are rarely purely theoritical, they are likely to be closely linked to your practice as a teacher, and could involve the production of lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment strategies and more, with some kind of theoretical/critical commentary.
Some institutions clearly separate the PGCE from the QTS; in my own for example it is possible to earn the complete award of PGCE and QTS, or either award independently. It is the QTS, however, that earns you the 'licence to teach'. In some institutions it is 'all or nothing' - it does depend how the award is structured.
All of this really should have ben explaned to you at interview, but if you contact your course provider they should be happy to tell you how your particular course is assessed.
We had 3 assignments (3000-5000 words each) and a 10000 word dissertation.
It more than likely did get covered at interview, but that was such a 4 n half hour blur! i emerged from it wondering what even happened. Must have done something right though!
Well the PGCE i'm on is a SCITT, I wonder if this will mean more focus on practical and less on theory? or maybe more because of it! Time to get in touch with the course leader I think.
On SCITT, as the name implies, you will spent more time in school, but academic components are also treated seriously. You will probably go into uni or another HE provider occasionally, but usually less than those doing uni-based PGCE. But as your academic award is accreditated by a uni, the same marking criteria are used and you are expected to sumit a similar standard of work as uni students. It usually works fine as most people who hit difficulties on PGCE do so when they are in school, while you will get more time to hone your skills in classrooms. But make sure you get hold of text books and other literature required for your assignments in good time and set aside time for your academic work, as yours is less hands-on and you'll have less access to your tutors.
The other key thing is that you will need to be collecting "evidence" of what you have been doing. Do ask how they help you collect evidence for the standards (you will find them on the TDA website). As you will be doing DT I would suggest that you will probably want to take lots of photos of students work, so make sure you have a good enough camera and know hot to use it etc. (also get the schools permission, and don't include students).
Wait until you start about collecting evidence for QTS. Each uni/course provider has its own recommended method of doing it, and the way it should be presented in your portfolio. Some produce pro-forma templates.
I've been running some workshops for the past few years, and always taken pictures ofstudents outcomes. This went very well for me in my interview, as I also included the 'lesson plan' so the objectives were clear, and it was easy to see that they were met.
Also, a question on PGCE's.. is it a straight pass or fail or do you have a grade/class at the end? I know QTS is a status you either have or dont. I think it must be me just worrying about the written work element of it, and how it may impact said 'grade/class'.
Some PGCEs are pass/fail, but increasing number of them are graded, such as distinction/superior pass/pass etc. With many more courses awarding M level credits, classification is becoming more commonplace. You are graded not just on academic performance (e.g. marks in your assignments), but also on how well you do on placement.
PGCE is the academic part of your qualification, and is graded purely on the basis of the assignments you are required to submit in fulifilment of the academic regulations. Teaching per se is not part of the PGCE assessment, though things such as lesson plans, schemes of work, and your reflections on them could be, if these form part of an assignment. Grading practice varies between institutions, but a 'Distinction', 'Merit', 'Pass', 'Fail' range of grades at 'M' level is increasingly common.
QTS is not publicly graded. Technically you don't actually 'pass' or 'fail' QTS. You are either recommended to GTC for the award of QTS or you are not.
However, your performance against the QTS standards is internally graded by your institution against Ofsted criteria; Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory or Inadequate (and the latter of these means that you will not be recommended for the award). Ofsted require us to do this for their inspection purposes. Whilst nowhere on a certificate or other public record will these grades be recorded, the reference your training provider gives for your first teaching post is likely to give a pretty good indication of your qualities as a teacher.
Alec2005Some PGCEs are pass/fail, but increasing number of them are graded, such as distinction/superior pass/pass etc. With many more courses awarding M level credits, classification is becoming more commonplace. You are graded not just on academic performance (e.g. marks in your assignments), but also on how well you do on placement.
I've just been reading about the masters credits, and it seems that only courses title 'Post Grad Cert of Education' have those credits, and the 'other' PGCE (Professional Grad Cert of Education) doesn't.
I start tomorrow and trying to get my head around all of these abbreviations! theres 100's, there could be an exam alone on knowing as many as you can!
Thank you all very much for the responses. I am really looking forward to starting!
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