22nd May 2019

On the 9th and 10th of May, a group of academics and students from the School of Teacher Development represented BGU at the 10th annual Teacher Education Advancement Network conference, in Birmingham. The TEAN conference offers an opportunity for colleagues to spend time together to share great practice and ideas. The team thoroughly enjoyed the conference, which showcased research from across the UK, with a focus on initial teacher training. The conference is a brilliant opportunity to meet colleagues from institutions and schools who are involved with the training and support of teacher trainees.


Steve McNichol (Senior Lecturer – Primary) presented his project on behaviour management skills for teacher trainees. The findings of this research often highlight the importance of inspirational teacher educators, particularly those within schools who support trainees to develop behaviour management skills through mentoring and providing developmental feedback in this area.

Clare Lawrence (Senior Lecturer – Secondary) and Steve McNichol (Senior Lecturer – Primary) delivered a ‘round table’ session, guiding participants to re-think the ‘challenge’ of autism in the classroom through considering the perspective of the autistic teacher. What strengths might autism bring to teachers? What challenges might it present? How can we better support autistic teacher trainees to be successful?

Hannah Wells (Senior Lecturer – Primary) and Sue Lambert (Programme Leader for Postgraduate Primary Programmes) together with Rebecca Mitchell, Rebecca Thompson, Amber Connolly and Luke Harlow (PGCE Primary students) presented findings of a current photo-elicitation research project, involving a research team of academics and students, including Emma Clarke, Claire Thomson and Aimee Quickfall. The project aims to create an understanding of trainees’ perceptions of workload and wellbeing whilst training on a PGCE primary course. Strategies to support trainees’ well-being and workload will be implemented in 2019/20, as a result of these findings.

Matt Dunn (Senior Lecturer – Secondary) and Jenny Wynn (Programme Leader for the Secondary PGCE) Presented findings from an exploratory project investigating secondary PGCE students’ perceptions of the relatively new linear A-level specifications in biology, chemistry and physics. Using the theoretical lens of the Threshold Concept Framework (TCF), participants worked on identifying concepts which play a key role in the transformative and integrative journey towards becoming a scientist. Findings suggest that there is scope for the threshold connections identified to have an impact on classroom pedagogy and to ease the troublesome transition from GCSE to A-level study. Work is now underway to pilot and assess the impact of classroom materials in conjunction with secondary teachers and pupils of BGU partner schools.

Becky Geeson, (Programme Leader for Undergraduate Primary Programmes) presented on her doctoral research which aims to investigate the opportunities and challenges faced when teaching assistants become teachers. Becky’s doctoral research focus was inspired by the trainees she works with. Their commitment to becoming trained primary school teachers whilst completing a degree, working within schools and often managing parental responsibilities is inspirational, and also suggests this group of trainees are very resilient – a characteristic seen to be of great importance within the teaching profession.

Aimee Quickfall (Head of Programmes for Primary and Early Years ITE) presented on her study on learning communities. The research seeks to find out what students understand by 'learning community'. Understanding what the learning community is, and how it is perceived by different groups, it will help us at BGU to be inspiring teachers and students, with a shared understanding of our strengths.

If you’re considering a future in education then BGU is the place for you with over 150 years’ experience in teacher training. You can find more information on how to begin your new adventure on our website or by talking to our Enquiries Team.