Faculty of Education - Theses

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    English in the training of primary teachers
    Nolan, Francis Michael ( 1975)
    in 1968 a three year course of training for primary teachers was introduced in Victorian State teachers' colleges. The course was founded upon the report of an Advisory Committee on the Three Years' Course of Training for Primary Teachers published in March 1967 and commonly termed the 'Pryor Report'. One of the objectives of this course was to develop a well educated cultured person (with) the desire to read widely. with discrimination and appreciation of all that is best in literature . Means of achieving this objective included a compulsory two years' study of English, incorporating the best in traditional and contemporary writing', and children's literature. There is need for some evaluation of the degree to which this objective has been achieved. in this study, twenty-one young teachers who completed the three year course at one provincial teachers' college, and who were teaching in one-teacher rural schools, were visited and invited to discuss the subject of English, particularly English literature. in their college courses. Their current reading habits. and views and attitudes to literature were also discussed. The data collected from these discussions suggest that the objective of the three year course referred to above is not being achieved in the case of this small and possibly unrepresentative sample of graduates of the course. These teachers do not read widely. Their attitudes to literature are disappointing and the effects of these attitudes on the children they teach represent a matter of grave concern. It Is suggested that the compulsory study of 'adult' literature In a course of training for primary teachers is educationally doubtful. On the other hand compulsory study of the immensely rich field of children's literature appears justified on literary, sociological and educational grounds. The need for clear aims and procedures for studies In the language arts and methods of teaching English In the primary school Is also suggested by the lack of confidence shown in these areas by the young teachers. The presentation of the views and attitudes of a group of young, inexperienced teachers in a difficult and sometimes lonely school environment is an attempt to give life to problems in teacher training which statistical data may illuminate. No firm conclusions are possible from data obtained in this study but the study indicates a need for thorough evaluation of the efficacy of courses of training of teachers such as those founded on the 'Pryor Report.'