Learning to Plan, Planning to Learn: The Developing Expertise of Beginning Teachers

Aug. 01, 2011

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 17, No. 4, August 2011, 399–416.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article focuses on what beginning teachers learned about planning; the nature of that planning; and the development of their awareness as to what planning could and could not achieve.

The following research question guided this study:
in each of the three years what do the beginning teachers claim they are learning in relation to planning and how do these claims change, if at all, over the course of the three years?

Method and Participants
This study is based on the analysis of 10 post-lesson interviews with 17 beginning teachers in England across three years (the PGCE year and the first two years in teaching)
Of the 17 teachers in the sample five were English teachers, four mathematics teachers and eight science teachers.


The findings demonstrate that learning how to plan clearly emerges as the most prominent feature in the PGCE year.
It remains a strong feature in the newly qualified teacher (NQT) year.

Furthermore, ongoing learning about planning can be a powerful vehicle for ongoing learning about teaching as a whole.
The authors would strongly argue that it is through planning that teachers are able to learn about teaching and through teaching that they are able to learn about planning.

In the process of becoming more experienced they get to know specific pupils in specific classes and as their store of specific knowledge builds, so they are able to abstract ideas about typical pupils, typical activities and typical behavior.
However, the authors would suggest that teacher educators, in seeing planning primarily as a means of getting student teachers to learn about the complexity of teaching, may neglect to explore with their students the relationship between planning and teaching.

Updated: Feb. 10, 2014