Sarah Steadman

Thesis title:

The Making of Teachers: A study of trainee teachers’ experiences of learning to teach in different postgraduate routes in England.


My research is concerned with initial teacher education in England. In my PhD, I considered how the choice of learning environment impacts on the learning and development of trainee teachers. Sitting within the socio-cultural domain, the research was theoretically framed by an understanding of ethnography as ‘both a process and a product’ (Britzman 1995:229). The intensive yearlong immersion in three different postgraduate training sites illuminated the cultures of the differing providers, demonstrating differences between routes both in terms of the structure and development of teacher learning and the effectiveness and sustainability of teacher preparation. The research resulted in the generation of rich, original data giving focused insight into what it looks and feels like to learn to teach in the increasingly marketized environment of teacher training in England.

The subsequent conceptual theorising led to the formation of a framework addressing conflict, transition and agency. The conceptual framework offers a mechanism for the development of agentic partnerships between training providers and schools, providing a mechanism for the explicit articulation of a shared understanding about the purpose and process of training teachers that is not bound to individual contexts and is not linked to criterion for assessment. This conceptual framework has the capacity for analysis that transcends the specifics of individual programmes, both in the UK and internationally.

I am now pursuing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at King’s College, building on the work in my PhD. Situated within the increasingly complex landscape of initial teacher education provision, my research addresses the need to ensure that there are mechanisms for focused support for trainees and for teacher educators working with newcomers to the profession.

Social media:

First supervisor:

Viv Ellis


6 – Education, Mind & Society




Viv Ellis, Sarah Steadman & Qiming Mao (2020) ‘Come to a screeching halt’: Can change in teacher education during the COVID-19 pandemic be seen as innovation?, European Journal of Teacher Education, 43:4, 559-572, DOI: 10.1080/02619768.2020.1821186

Viv Ellis, Warwick Mansell & Sarah Steadman (2020): A new political economy of teacher development: England’s Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund, Journal of Education Policy

Viv Ellis, Sarah Steadman & Tom Are Trippestad (2019) Teacher education and the GERM: policy entrepreneurship, disruptive innovation and the rhetorics of reform, Educational Review, 71:1, 101-121, DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2019.1522040

Sarah Steadman (2018) Defining practice: exploring the meaning of practice in the process of learning to teach, TEAN Journal, 10(1), pp. 3-9

Sarah Steadman (2003) ‘The Writers’ Zone’: A Study of the Impact of Targeting Verbal Reasoning on Student Performance and Behaviour, English in Education, 37:2, 38-47, DOI: 10.1111/j.1754-8845.2003.tb00598.x