Teachers take on new roles as learning professionals 

Darwin's new learning leaders gather at CDU to prepare their roles in teaching the new breed of student teachers.

Principals, assistant-principals and senior teachers finalised preparations for their roles in the new Bachelor of Teaching and Learning degree in a seminar at Charles Darwin University last week (October 20).

Veterans of the classroom, these senior educationists will mentor student teachers who will spend an increasing amount of time in their schools next year.

Eleven schools in the Darwin and Palmerston region have been signed up to provide this mentoring experience as the student teachers begin the new degree course with its emphasis on practical experience in the classroom.

The senior teachers, who will be called professional learning leaders, had recently spent a week observing in schools on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

The new classroom-focused training is modelled on a similar course offered at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

It is expected that the number of schools offering classroom experience for student teachers will need to increase next year, due to an unprecedented demand from school-leavers and mature-age students to enrol in the new degree course.

Professor David Lynch, the head of teacher training at CDU, said first-preference applications for the new degree were up 42 per cent on last year.

Bigger numbers of students are now expected to enrol in the degree, which will mean broadening the scheme to take in more designated learning schools.

The learning schools are being provided by the Department of Employment, Education and Training under a special partnership arrangement. So far the scheme has been restricted to government schools, but Professor Lynch says private schools may soon be invited to join.