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Editorial: Why you should publish in JoTTER - an editorial addressed to current PGCE students

For some years now we have invited authors of the strongest PGCE assignments to submit their work for consideration by the on-line peer-reviewed faculty Journal of Trainee Teacher Educational Research: the JoTTER.

Each year some of our graduating PGCE trainees have been keen to do this, whilst others have decided not to take up this opportunity. It would only be possible to speculate (as we have not done any research to find out) why some of those invited are keen to take up the invitation, but not others.

What is clear is that there are a number of good reasons to consider submitting to JoTTER.

For one thing, you can help future cohorts by providing an example of a good assignment. Of course, each study is unique and is shaped in part by your training age, subject specialism and/or interests, and in particular your professional context on placement. So it would probably not be sensible for someone to simply copy (replicate) your study on their own placement. However, having a good range of different studies - focusing on a wide range of topics and issues, undertaken in a range of partnership institutions, can be valuable to future PGCE students.

Your work can also act as something that potential future students can consider. With so many routes into teaching, those thinking of moving into the profession will wonder whether they are suited for the PGCE route, and the Cambridge partnership courses. The JoTTER articles show just what this type of course offers that so many routes into teaching do not: a fully professional preparation including engagement with classroom based research that equips the new teacher to be ready to face and solve problems in his or her professional work.

The JoTTER is also resource for the partnership and beyond. As an open access journal, teachers in partnership schools can see the work that has been done and consider how it can inform their own professional work. Of course, your work is not only accessible within the partnership but to teachers and others around the world: and we know that JoTTER has been accessed by readers in many countries.

Moreover, many studies in JoTTER are listed in the second edition of Classroom-based Research and Evidence-based Practice, and articles from JoTTER appear in searches in Google Scholar and other engines.

From a more self-focused perspective, publication in JoTTER is a useful addition to your c.v. or resumé. It will probably not win you the Nobel prize for literature - BUT it will look good if you apply for a leadership role in school, or for a small research/development grant, or for admission to further post-graduate study. It is sensible to consider such things if planning a professional career as the examples we can offer of 'extra' things that we have done beyond all that is expected of teachers as a matter of course may be important when we look for promotion or for a move to a new position. So submission to JoTTER can be seen as a potentially self-serving act - however, most Cambridge PGCE students will feel that is the least important consideration: and that seeking to publish their work is a way of contributing to the partnership, the profession, and to the development of educational knowledge more generally.

Keith S Taber

Cambridge, 2015