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Making the decision to become a teacher can be a life-changing moment for many people. For some, they will have known for a long time that this was the career they wished to follow. For others, it may be a rather more dramatic change of direction. What may not be apparent at that early stage, is the challenge of choosing a route into teaching from the plethora of courses and qualifications available or differences in opinion that surround how we develop student teachers.

These differences are demonstrated in the way that the development of teachers is described. For some ‘teacher training’ best describes what the provider feels they are doing, while for others the term ‘teacher education’ better represents their view of what they are striving for. This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it reveals fundamental differences of opinion, underpinned by different perspectives on what is expected of teachers and indeed of what teaching is. For ease, the term ‘Initial Teacher Education (ITE)’ will be used throughout this course but this course will provide an introduction to these differences, both at a theoretical and practical level.

Many of the ideas in the course have been developed through our experience of running a PGCE course at The Open University. This course no longer runs, but the ideas discussed in this course remain current and will help you to understand the different routes into teaching.

This OpenLearn course is part of a collection of Open University short courses for teachers and student teachers.

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