The role of the teacher is considered by various jurisdiction, and politicians, in three ways - the technician, the craft worker or the professional. We believe strongly that the teacher should be a professional and that the PGCE model is the best way to achieve this.
The teacher as technician: If the teacher is though of as an "executive technician" then they are told exactly what to do by others, without needed to understand why they are doing this. This makes sense if we can be certain that certain forms of practice are more effective than others; without question and regardless context. This is exemplified when schemes of work are provided for teachers to follow (e.g. the national curriculum 1998). Whilst teachers do rely on technical knowledge to plan lessons to teach they need to modify this according to context and to situation. Furthermore, teaching is challenging because it is difficult to predict what will happen next. Teachers need to be able to respond to these challenges. Drawing on a range of understanding and theoretical perspectives: They do need technical know-how; but they must be more technicians.
The teacher as craft worker: This is the position that the Secretary of State for education in England took when he said;
"Teaching is a craft and it is best learnt as an apprentice observing a master craftsman or woman. Watching others, and being rigorously observed yourself as you develop, is the best route to acquiring mastery in the classroom (Gove, 2010)"
This concept to becoming a "master teacher" contains three ideas: expert subject knowledge; Personal authority in the classroom and the ability to make judgements suitable to current circumstances. All of these ideas are very important but they are not sufficient. The craftworker model assumes teachers make decisions, 'on the spot' and with reference to the model teacher and to 'common sense' and to experience. The limited experience of the craft work or apprenticeship model is that the trainee has a limited pool of wisdom on which to draw either from the single teacher or the single school. This is not to deny that some common sense or intuitive judgments may turn out in the end to be well-founded. However, intuition should not be allowed to overshadow the value of more considered responses, where a teacher’s understanding of a particular situation is grounded in other aspects of knowledge, like technical know-how and theory.
The teacher as professional: Whilst substantial experience of teaching in realistic conditions is essential in the development of future teachers this should not be over emphasised at the expense of other kinds of teaching knowledge. The teacher who is able to engage with theory and the findings of educational research shares with the craft worker teacher a capacity for self direction but by contrast the professional teacher is able to judge right action in various school and classroom contexts from a more reliable basis for judgment than intuition or common sense. They are able to draw on a range of conceptual frameworks and theoretical perspectives which they can use to be critically reflective before acting.