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Problem-based Learning for Initial Teacher Education

Date(s) Friday 27 February 2009
Venue The General Teaching Council for Scotland Headquarters
Clerwood House
Clermiston Road
EH12 6UT
Map (Google Maps)
Organised by ESCalate


Dr Alastair McPhee will address delegates on 'The Application of Problem-based learning in Initial Teacher Education'. Dr McPhee is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Glasgow where he is engaged in BEd Music, BEd Primary, PGDE Secondary and BTech Education undergraduate programmes. His research into problem-based learning is well known. Dr McPhee will present his own experiences of how courses using the principles of problem-based learning are constructed at Glasgow, and discuss the many challenges and rewards it offers to both teacher educators and students. Recent research has focussed on whether or not problem-based learning sessions could enhance critical reflection, an important component of reflective practice.


Problem based learning (PBL) is a teaching strategy to promote self-directed learning and critical thinking through analysing authentic scenarios from professional practice. This educational approach has become a distinct methodology (Busy Guide to problem-based learning on the ESCalate Help Directory - ) and has been widely adopted within medical education as the method of teaching. Key to the success of PBL is the recognition that students are active participants in their own learning. In education, the PBL activities would focus learning towards the goal of becoming an effective teacher. Opportunities to engage with challenging problems and case-based scenarios mean that students can integrate theory towards a better understanding of effective classroom practice, how pupils learn and the roles of staff within the school. The problems are designed by staff tutors to reflect realistic experiences within the school environment and to encourage students to synthesise and incorporate relevant information into their learning.

The seminar

After the opening keynote, you will hear from colleagues who have successfully used problem-based learning in their practice. You will be given the opportunity to experience scenarios as if you were a student, and you will be shown examples of scenarios and encouraged to construct your own. Your work during the day will contribute to a new folder on problem-based Learning on the ESCalate Help Directory.

Who is it for?

The seminar is aimed at all colleagues across the UK who are involved in Teacher Education for schools and who have an interest in enhancing their own professional practice by discussing the benefits and challenges of a problem-based learning approach for student teachers.

Please book online for this event by following the links above for members or non-members as appropriate.

Payment must be made before registration can be confirmed - please indicate method of payment in the appropriate box when registering. Payments are accepted via:-

Credit Card:- NB this is not listed as an option as yet on the online signup so please choose "purchase order" from the drop down list and phone 01524 385459 to give details (NB we are unfortunately unable to accept American Express cards)

Purchase Order Number:- please obtain a number from your finance department / administrator and type the Purchase Order Number in the relevant box on the online registration form so your institution can be invoiced

Cheque:- made payable to University of Cumbria, please post to Sue Scowcroft, ESCalate ITE Administrator, CDLT, University of Cumbria, Bowerham Road, Lancaster, LA1 3JD giving the name/s of the people the payment covers

For all enquiries regarding this event please email the ESCalate ITE Administrator :-