Reconsidering Teachers’ Roles (II). Signe Sutherland & David Pitcher: New Learning Team: Time for Creativity and Collaboration in Teacher Education

Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning VIII International Seminar: Teacher Training: Reconsidering Teachers’ Roles, held in Barcelona, Spain, on October 6-7, 2011. More notes on this event: eLChair11.

Signe Sutherland, Deputy Principal Curriculum and Business Development, North Hertfordshire College, UK
David Pitcher, Assistant Principal, Academy of Creative and Cultural Industries, North Hertfordshire College, UK
New Learning Team: Time for Creativity and Collaboration in Teacher Education

Entrepreneurship for further education (E4FE) is an initiative to transform colleges in favour of employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship. An entrepreneurial college focuses on the future of students, once they leave the college. Development of businesses is encouraged, and mentored by tutors.

There are many challenges of moving from an industrial model to a new model, based on facilitating (not teaching as usual; on a new experiential curriculum model; based on teamwork and collaboration; wide use of blended-learning; calendar, induction, tutorial and online personal learning spaces; new job roles.

Teaching is heavily based on mentors and coaches who are not trained teachers but young people from the industry.

There are plenty of learning opportunities: external calendar activities, cross college calendar activities, academic calendar activities, student-led activities, etc.

Rather than qualification, timetables, schedules, etc. there is a new calendar that includes college wide planning, design calendar, design timetable and plenty of room for personalization. Students decide what they want to do and when and where, and then teachers have to map this back to qualification requirements. Students do actually led their own timetables.

There also is an open channel for feedback with employers, so that students’ lacks can be filled up in coming editions of the training courses.

[personal note: that was a very difficult to blog session, with plenty of information but few “headlines”].


Sigi Jakob: isn’t this a too much market-focused education? Sutherland: indeed it is, as that is the aim of the programme, and so, it is completely valid in this context. Of course, in other kind of educational programmes, this “bias” should be considered.

Q: Is this model applicable to school seniors? Pitcher: E4FE has already partnered with schools and tried to collaborate with them. It is possible to connect with schools and their curricula, especially where students can choose, at a certain degree, their own curriculum.

Ismael Peña-López: is that model (on average) more expensive than a traditional teaching model? Sutherland: we believe that a rough approximation is that this model is 15% less expensive than a conventional one.

Emma Kiselyova: where does this cost reduction come from exactly? Sutherland: many teachers came from the industry and they would collaborate only part time, which means that “unproductive” times of full-time staff were avoided. That was one of the reasons amongst many others.

More information


UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning VIII International Seminar: Teacher Training: Reconsidering Teachers' Roles (2011)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2011) “Reconsidering Teachers’ Roles (II). Signe Sutherland & David Pitcher: New Learning Team: Time for Creativity and Collaboration in Teacher Education” In ICTlogy, #97, October 2011. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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