Innovation and Transformation of Initial Teacher Education: Employer and Graduate Perspectives
Teacher education courses at Australian universities tend to qualify graduates to teach in age-related contexts of early childhood/primary/secondary. For some considerable time these longstanding structural school divisions have been by-passed in terms of teacher employment. Shortages of teachers, in certain subject disciplines, for example languages, science (in particular physics and chemistry) and mathematics teachers, have resulted in schools employing staff to teach in subjects or grades for which they are not qualified. More recently, the development of various school models and structures has created demand for teachers with generic skills able to teach across a wide age range. The intent of this chapter is to present perspectives from graduate teachers with a F-12 qualification ('F' refers to Foundation that signifies the first year of school), and their school supervisors, on the benefits of employing a teacher qualified to teach across the primary and secondary sectors. The findings from this study indicate that a F-12 qualified teacher has flexibility in terms of employment opportunities and has broader curriculum understanding and pedagogical experiences that enhance teacher performance, something seen as a major benefit to both employers and graduates. This chapter argues that innovation in course design will not come from teacher registration institutes or the school sectors. For pragmatic reasons, the leadership that universities can provide in modifying the long-standing models of teacher education programs is of significance.
KeywordsTeacher Education Teacher Preparation Qualified Teacher Primary Teacher Secondary Teacher
The authors wish to acknowledge that the collection of data for this research project was supported by Strategic Initiates Funding, La Trobe University.
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