Making Good Teachers. Politics, policy-making, and practice in teacher education from the nineteenth century to the present.

Old photograph of a large group of training teachers both male and female, from around the beginning of the 20th century

This project (funded by the Society for Educational Studies, 2023-24) is concerned with the making of a ‘good’ teacher from the nineteenth century to the present day.

It explores the changing settings and networks through which the professional preparation of teachers takes place in England, using archival source material, life history and life story work to explore the lives and experiences of staff and students, and the culture and politics of teachers’ work.

Investigating various institutional types, the study addresses the relationship between developments in teacher education and training/ different modes of teacher preparation and broader social forces in a range of historical moments. In so doing it considers the impact of the politics of the time, staff and student experiences and perspectives of different programmes and institutional settings, and the perspective of teacher educators and former student teachers on ‘the making of a good teacher’ and the place of education in what it means to live a good life?

The primary focus is on five institutions whose status as providers of teacher training carried important implications for the rest of the education system in England. The five are: 1) Borough Road College, London. 2) Birmingham University Day Training College/ Department/ Institute of Education and its constituent colleges. 3) Coventry Teaching Training College (1948-1976). 4) London Day Training College/ Institute of Education/ UCL Institute of Education. 5) Stockwell College, London. They represent several types of foundation:  local authority (Coventry), voluntary colleges established by religious bodies (Borough Road, Stockwell), university day training colleges (Birmingham, UCL) and a mix of single sex/ co-educational settings.

Contact details

Professor Jane Martin.