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Learning on the spot: site based teacher education in Australia
European Conference on Educational Research (2013)
  • Elizabeth Kleinhenz, ACER
In recent years, some Australian schools and universities have been moving away from traditional modes of teacher education in which pre-service teachers typically undertake their practicums in ‘blocks’ of about four weeks a couple of times a year, to newer models in which they become attached to a school, spending at least two days a week there, undertaking extra-curricular duties and participating in a variety of activities so that they become more like a teacher who actually works in that school than a visitor. In some site-based models, neighbouring schools have joined in clusters or partnerships together with the university responsible for the teacher education course. These partnerships typically include schools of different types, e.g. primary and secondary. The pre-service teachers (PSTs) usually have opportunities to work in different partnership schools, e.g. on collaborative projects involving literacy and numeracy across year levels. Between 2009 and 2013, ACER was involved in the formative evaluation of several of these programs. This paper describes the conduct and findings of these evaluation projects. In light of the findings, it addresses three main questions: (1) to what extent, and in what ways, do site based models of teacher education provide more and better opportunities for pre-service teachers to link theory with practice than traditional models, and to become reflective practitioners, thereby improving the PST’s effectiveness? (2) In what ways do closer partnerships between schools and university providers of site-based teacher education lead to better understandings and more effective collaboration between them that lead to improvement in both the theoretical and practical elements of the course of study? and (3) In what ways do site-based models of teacher education help to develop more effective mentoring and build professional community in schools where the pre-service teachers are based, thereby adding to general school capacity? Overall, the paper argues the case for the site-based model, claiming that it produces graduates who are well prepared to begin teaching and who have been given better opportunities to develop their understandings of schools, students and teaching than graduates of traditional programs.
  • Performance pay,
  • Professional development,
  • Teacher quality,
  • Standards,
  • Leadership,
  • Assessment,
  • Teacher performance
Publication Date
Citation Information
Elizabeth Kleinhenz. "Learning on the spot: site based teacher education in Australia" European Conference on Educational Research (2013)
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