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The Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL): a retrospective, intrinsic case study of the process of policy into practice and its impact on teacher participants

Brookes, W. A. (2016) The Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL): a retrospective, intrinsic case study of the process of policy into practice and its impact on teacher participants. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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The research reported here is a retrospective case study of the recent (2010) introduction of the Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL) as a post-graduate level programme of professional development for teachers. It contributes to the debate and research over the past two decades about the impact of post-graduate professional development and appropriate ways of delivering it. The study is located within an extensive body of literature dealing with the importance of the teaching profession with regard to the success of schools and pupils and the impact of professional development on teaching quality and of teaching quality on attainment. A further relevant context is the ongoing tension between the teaching profession and academics on the one hand and government and political actors on the other, in respect of the approaches to professional development and to the control of educational processes. The research questions which inform the study deal with the perspectives of various participants – policy makers, programme directors, coaches and teachers studying for the MTL – on the extent to which the MTL is likely to have an ameliorative effect on teaching and pupil attainment, their experiences of the process of policy development and their experiences as course participants. The study adopts a case study approach which involves elite interviews with those responsible for the development and implementation of the MTL, questionnaires completed by MTL course participants and a comparison group taking a conventional MA and in depth interviews with participants and coaches. The results revealed tensions and difficulties associated with the development of the MTL including uneasy relationships between HE institutions and government agencies, ideas about ‘producer capture’, the relevance of the MBA model and concern over the role of coaches. However, while acknowledging various difficulties and some misconceived expectations they viewed its potential to meet its expressed aims positively, given time. Course participants were positive about their experience of the MTL and felt that it had contributed to many aspects of their professional development. Most saw it as a positive experience despite the variable quality of support from their schools, particularly in the form of the school-based coach the concept of which had been heralded as the bellwether of the MTL. It was striking that the responses of the MTL participants were very similar to those of teachers taking a conventional MA. A finding which would repay further investigation is that while the great majority of course participants felt that the MTL (and the MA) had contributed to their becoming more effective teachers they were much less confident that it had contributed to increased pupil attainment.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Croll, P. and Floyd, A.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:64082
Date on Title Page:2015


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