The Successes and Limitations of Retraining Non-specialist Teachers to Teach Mathematics
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Acknowledging that there are simply too few mathematics teachers, the UK government is investing significantly in retraining programmes to equip non-specialist teachers to teach mathematics. With the new more mathematically rigorous GCSE courses, and the expectation that most post-16 students will engage with some mathematics (studying for A and AS levels, a Core Maths qualification or re-taking GCSE) many more teachers of mathematics will be needed. The questions posed, explore whether retraining could provide an effective way for alleviating the problem of the lack of well qualified teachers for mathematics. This thesis reports on the unfolding stories of eight teachers, from the 2013-2014 cohort, retrained by way of the Plymouth University model with me as course tutor. In this four-year longitudinal study, the teachers were followed during their year of retraining and in the succeeding years. A methodological model is proposed, for conducting intrusive and intimate research, with the researcher at the heart of the study; this is largely based on grounded theory with a constant comparative approach linking data with data, and data with literature. Interviews and lesson observations provided the mainstays for data collection, and summary narratives for each teacher were weaved from the multifarious sources of data. The analysis of the data leads to a set of propositions suggested for the implementation of future retraining programmes.