Professional Development of Beginning Teachers:
Teacher Tutor Development

This project targeted at the professional development of teacher-tutors, aims to enhance the key skills that are required in carrying out this role.
With the introduction of the Teacher Education Partnership Handbook in 1998, an integrated approach to teacher education has been developed. This seeks to provide a holistic experience for student and beginning teachers so that that they may

develop as critical reflective practitioners, improve their teaching and the quality of pupil learning, and may see that their ongoing professional development is part of a lifelong learning process
(DENI, 2010:3)

Teacher Education in Northern Ireland is underpinned by the GTCNI competences which are framed to encourage teachers to focus appropriately on aspects of their practice. The competences also provide a meaningful basis for professional dialogue regarding student and beginning teachers’ professional development.

As the Teacher Education Partnership Handbook notes 'Higher Education Institutions are best placed to raise awareness of links across the three stages of early teacher education (i.e. initial teacher education, induction and early professional development)' (2010:57). St Mary’s University College has used the funding from the Department of Education to allow teacher-tutors to develop their skills and enhance their ability to provide support for both student teachers and the early professional development of beginning teachers.

This project aims to:

  1. Develop the skills of teacher-tutors
  2. Enhance teacher-tutors facility to provide support in the Early Professional Development of Beginning Teachers

Teacher tutors need to have a number of key skills including

  • Being able to analyse classroom practice: recognising achievement and nurturing knowledge and understanding of curriculum and pedagogies.
  • Communication skills: engaging in positive dialogue with student and beginning teachers who may display a range of abilities.
  • Appraisal: evaluating and comparing practice across a range of classroom contexts.
  • Setting clear targets for development: setting realistic goals for development and improvement in key aspects of classroom practice.


This link takes you to a series of short videos. The videos have two teacher tutors talking about key aspects of their role in working with student teachers and beginning teachers with extracts of meetings demonstrating good practice. Hopefully these will be valuable to the teacher tutor in their professional role within their own school.