fbpx
Ofsted Logo
JOIN NOW

Vicki Cann

ITT Subject Lead, Primary Maths

“Where reason gives us least assistance, emotion comes to our rescue and guides us. The astronomer may tell us something about the moon, but so too does the poet. The astronomer’s moon is everybody’s moon; the poet’s is very much his own and not everyone can share it.”
(C.R.Milne)

Subject specificity is the cornerstone of eQ training and refers to the distinct characteristics and requirements of each subject area. We recognise that teaching different subjects involves more than just content delivery; it involves understanding the subject’s distinct aims and understanding the way that they search for meaning.

Each subject is… a product and an account of an ongoing truth quest, whether through empirical testing in science, argumentation in philosophy/history, logic in mathematics or beauty in the arts.” (Counsell, 2018)

Ruth Ashbee (2021) develops the analogy of disciplines as quests and examines the different categories of quests that subjects can be grouped within:

 

Given that each of the subjects have a different way of producing knowledge it is important that our trainees understand this so that when they are teaching the subjects they know what it is to be a historian…scientist… artist etc. This knowledge is broken down into two different components: substantive and disciplinary.

Trainees need a good understanding of the substantive knowledge – or content specific information or facts – for each subject. For example, in biology, substantive knowledge would involve understanding concepts like cell structure or DNA. In the context of history, it involves a comprehensive understanding of events, historical dates, and prominent figures.

Trainees need a good understanding of the substantive knowledge – or content specific information or facts – for each subject.
For example, in biology, substantive knowledge would involve understanding concepts like cell structure or DNA.
 

In the context of history, it involves a comprehensive understanding of events, historical dates, and prominent figures.

Understanding each subject as a discipline means that the trainees know the methods, practices and ways of thinking that are specific to a particular subject.

For example, in the field of mathematics, disciplinary knowledge involves understanding mathematical reasoning, proof techniques and problem-solving strategies. In history, disciplinary knowledge involves understanding of past events, societies and cultures through the critical examination and interpretation of primary and secondary sources.

Our expert led Foundation training days help the trainees to deepen their understanding of each discipline through a subject specific discussion about how each subject creates meaning and how to plan effectively for each subject. We ask key questions about each subject in order to reach a greater understanding of each of the disciplines. This is supported by observations of expert colleagues back in their own school where they are able to identify the substantive and disciplinary knowledge being taught in their own school context.

We are aware that, for our primary trainees, there is a lot for them to learn as they are teachers of all curriculum subjects. It is for this reason that we have written the Foundation Subject Knowledge Guide. For each subject there is an overview of the components of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge as well as information on the disciplinary literacy of each subject and how each subject can be adapted to meet the needs of all learners.

The guide discusses some of the common misconceptions and threshold concepts within each subject. It considers the place of the EYFS in laying the foundations for each subject.

By gaining subject-specific knowledge and skills, our trainees are better prepared to meet the needs of their children in your schools and teach effective and engaging lessons.

 

References / links:

What our teachers say about us...

I have most enjoyed the deep-dives in each of the subjects. You've got all the of the expertise of the Subject Leads, and tutors - you can go and ask them questions. It is a culture and an environment where you have all the expertise and experience at your fingertips that you could need.

Sian - Primary Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What our teachers say about us...

As part of the teacher training programme, so many doors and windows of knowledge are opening. Last term's focus was on assessment, which has been transformative for me. I am now able to look at what my children know, what they need to know and then adapt my practice based on the knowledge they've demonstrated. It's made me a better teacher, because I can adapt my practice to suit everybody.

Dan - Primary Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What our teachers say about us...

Coming to e-Qualitas and going to the training days has given me the confidence to take lead in the classroom and when working with my support staff.

Cherelle - Primary Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What our teachers say about us...

This has been a great, supportive programme because I get the freedom to come up with plans and then see them in action with my students. I couldn't ask for a better experience.

Kellie - Secondary English Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What our teachers say about us...

I'm really lucky at my school that I have a fantastic mentor and really supportive science staff, so I am getting on-the-job advice all the time. Talking to other trainees about what has worked is very useful, because they are at the same level of experience as me and their advice is great too.

Alison - Secondary Biology Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What schools say about us...

Working in partnership with e-Qualitas has allowed us to put into place a system to support new members of staff in school. It's about focusing on developing individual teachers and supporting them through the teacher training programme.

Mr Tony McCabe - Head Teacher - St Joseph's RC School

What our teachers say about us...

The in-person training sessions have been great and have fostered a brilliant sense of community among trainees, who are from different parts of the country. We've had a lovely mix of practical and theory - enabling us to put into practice everything we've been discussing.

Shikiera - Primary Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What our teachers say about us...

My subject knowledge has definitely improved from working with the Subject Leads; building my understanding of substantive disciplinary knowledge. I feel I am able to talk to the Subject Leads after each training session to discuss each training session in more detail. My subject lead has been so helpful with my learning sequences.

Masooma - Primary Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What our teachers say about us...

The workload on the training programme is demanding, though it is manageable.The training and communication that you receive from e-Qualitas makes the workload both acceptable and convenient. Thumbs up, I am looking forward!

Bugra - Secondary Maths Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What our teachers say about us...

My teaching skills have improved so much during the training year. My tutor and my mentor worked really hard with me, and I am really thankful for the efforts they made to make me the teacher I am today. My Subject Lead taught me so much, for example how to scaffold a lesson - making sure the whole class is engaged with tasks.

Amara - Secondary Maths Teacher - e-Qualified ✓

What schools say about us...

One of the most important things we do is appoint the right members of staff, with the right mindset and ability to form relationships with young people. The brilliant concept of the Teaching Apprenticeship Programme is that you can identify talent in members of staff currently within school.

Mr Tony McCabe - Head Teacher - St Joseph's RC School