ITAP And The Art of Upskilling Tomorrow's Teachers

Teesside uni

How do we ensure that the next generation of teachers are going to go into their careers with clarity and confidence on how literacy should be taught?

How do we make sure they engage and inspire young readers, and that they know how to measure success?

Put bluntly, the answer lies in literacy and vocabulary experts becoming a conscious element of the higher education student timetable.

As a former English teacher, and with the hindsight and perspective to know what would have aided me as a young trainee teacher, I couldn’t be more thrilled to share with you about our latest collaboration, with Teesside University.

Such is the University’s desire to upskill and their future teaching cohorts, that they were all too pleased to get Lexonik on board to deliver a week’s worth of powerful training, as part of the Department for Education’s ITAP initiative.

For those not aware, ITAP (Intensive Training and Practice) is a focused element of the teacher training curriculum, helping students to link theory and practice.

Students are given the chance to learn from subject specialists, experienced teachers, and those with specialist insight which will help them embed best practice from the minute they’re into their new working environment.

For Lexonik, being able to deliver to such an audience is something we value greatly.

We get the chance to share our wisdom around literacy, and, in so doing, deliver more confidence and esteem to those who’ll be responsible for supporting the reading journey of tomorrow’s pupils.

Our Teesside University delivery took place last month, and was constructed as follows:

Day one – Providing students with explicit instruction on how we learn to read and how to embed vocabulary instruction in everyday teaching.

Day two - Students observed vocabulary and reading instruction in their placement schools.

Day three – Lexonik experts reviewed student practice, and introduced Lexonik Vocabulary, the educator app which embeds explicit vocabulary instruction in any classroom. The schedule also included observation of a 'teaching moment' from each student and feedback for implementation.

Day four - Students practised embedding vocabulary instruction in their teaching.

Day five – Feedback and evaluation.

That final element – feedback – is vital to us as part of this activity, and I’m so pleased with how impactful the students found it to be, and how engaged the University team themselves have become about the collaboration and the hugely successful delivery.

Vanessa Cockin is the University’s Senior Lecturer in Education. She said: “We are all just so delighted with how the ITAP training went, and the feedback we’ve been hearing from students is just incredible.

“It gave our students an invaluable opportunity to strengthen their encoding and decoding skills, which in turn helps them develop fluency in their teaching for many years to come.”

Andrea Brown, also a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University, said: “Bringing in an expert from the outside makes so much sense when it can elevate the learning experience of our students in this way.

“All of the students have been feeding back how excited they felt by the process, how much more confident they were in advance of going back into their placement environment, and that they had a better understanding of explicit vocabulary and reading instruction.

“I would absolutely recommend that any university looks to ITAP and Lexonik to support the teacher training journey of their students.

“We want our graduates to go into the profession as well equipped as possible, and for us, we’re convinced that even this one isolated week has been a game-changer for many of our trainees.”

I have no doubt at all that this is just the beginning of the Teesside University and Lexonik collaboration, and I’m excited to see how we can continue to make an impact and ensure that student teachers today, are part of the ongoing mission to ensure nobody is limited because they can’t read.

Please keep an eye out for details of this collaboration.

In the meantime, should you have any direct queries about us working with your higher education institution, please contact me direct on [email protected]

Sarah Ledger