Imagining A Different Life in School: Educating Student Teachers about 'Looked After' Children and Young People

Oct. 26, 2008

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 14, Nos. 5–6, October–December 2008, 465–479

The research described in this article concerns the acquaintance of student eachers with the educational and wider pastoral experiences of children and young people who are or have been ‘looked after’ and who they may well teach at some point. The research also concerns the familiarization of student teachers with the ‘looked after’ system in the UK.

Two questions stood behind this research:
(1) How effective is it to educate student teachers for specific aspects of pupil diversity using individual encounters and in what particular ways?
(2) To what extent can this be achieved successfully within a curriculum setting by using technology?

The authors discuss an exploratory awareness-raising curriculum project within a Teacher Education Department at a University in the UK. This project utilizes digital multimedia to develop a ‘community of awareness’ of young people and student teachers.

The Participants

A group of 22 students aged between 20 and 58. These students studies a three-year long Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree course, in the subject specialism of Information and Communications Technology, which prepared a group of student teachers for working in secondary schools.

As a result of this work, the student teachers were able to reflect on their pedagogical knowledge and practices related to teaching and wider pupil pastoral care. Further, those involved in the project therefore not only learned how to use technology, but to apply it in meaningful, productive ways, which were potentially transforming in terms of appreciation and knowledge of diversity. Benefits for the participants – the young people involved and the student teachers, as well as implications for both student teachers’ understanding of diversity and limitations of the technology – are discussed.

Updated: Feb. 16, 2009