Teacher trainees begin to hit the schools 


More than 100 student teachers from Charles Darwin University will begin their training in Darwin schools over the next three weeks.

The first batch of graduate diploma students will hit the schools from March 26, followed by an even bigger influx of undergraduate students after Easter.

Public and private schools in Darwin and Alice Springs have been preparing for their arrival since the new Bachelor of Teaching and Learning degree was announced late last year.

The new degree, which replaces the old Bachelor of Education, places the emphasis in teacher training firmly on classroom practice, with students spending one day a week in schools over each semester. There will be bigger blocks of teaching practice at the same schools at the end of each semester.

As the course progresses students will spend increasing blocks of time in their designated schools.

The new focus aims to have prospective teachers ‘classroom-ready’ by the end of their course, with a much better idea of how they will perform as teachers while they are undergoing both theory and practice.

The in-class training scheme has been developed in partnership with the Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) which will take the bulk of trainee teachers into government schools in Darwin and Alice Springs.

Several private schools have also agreed to be part of the scheme.

In each school the trainee teachers will be assigned a Professional Learning Leader, or learning mentor – usually the school’s deputy principal or a senior teacher – who will supervise the reporting on their progress in the classroom.

‘Students will spend a whole day in the same classroom every week, getting to know the teacher and the children, so they can very quickly learn what it is like to teach in a real situation,’ says CDU Professional Learning Leader, Associate Professor Tina Doe.

‘They will learn the subtleties of relationships in schools and pick up all those subliminal messages about life in the teaching profession,’ she said. ‘We can teach them the science of education on the university campus, but they will learn the art of teaching by being in the classroom.’

Their training would also focus on ensuring a high level of skill in the teaching of literacy and numeracy.

The new Bachelor of Teaching and Learning and the Graduate Diploma are among CDU’s most popular courses this year, with students being able to take the course externally, no matter where they live in Australia.

External students are also expected to undertake classroom teaching on a weekly basis, and must make initial contact with schools in their area to seek a classroom placement.