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Inside Teaching : April 2011
inside teaching | April 2011 PROFESSION 18 and professional learning opportunities provided by outstanding DoE staff. Specialist training is provided on developing safe and caring learning environments, literacy, numeracy, e-learning, and other curriculum areas, teaching approaches and positive behaviour support. The professional learning component of the program has been very highly valued by PiTE pre-service teachers. The emphasis on relationship building and mutual learning also helps them establish a trusted network that, as Rosie Le Cornu explains in ‘Building resilience in pre-service teachers,’ can help sustain early career teachers through the beginning years. From the outset, PiTE pre- service teachers are encouraged to actively investigate student learning in their teaching practice, developing skills of inquiry and reflection with a team of colleagues. The aim, in the words of Anita Verrati, Mary Levine and Steven Turner, is to move them from their ‘initial concerns about self and basic teaching competencies to more sophisticated concerns about their students’ learning.’ University accreditation and recognition, and mentor teachers The practicum, historically speaking, has involved individual pre-service teachers being assigned to teachers working in isolation, which has led to assumptions about what the practicum consists of. Such assumptions are being challenged by the year- long, partnership and school- embedded approach. The University of Tasmania accredits PiTE students’ increased practical placement time in schools through a school- based reflective practice unit supported by mentor teachers in collaboration with university staff. In addition to taking substantial responsibility for the practicum component of the second year of the Master of Teaching course, mentor teachers also substantially contribute to the professional studies component of the Master of Teaching course through school-based learning opportunities. In recognition of that significant contribution, the university provides them, as associate staff members, with privileges such as staff access to the university library. Mentor teachers provide PiTE pre-service teachers with specific guidance and feedback, and help them develop in specialist teaching areas. Mentor teachers, who have responsibility for four to five pre-service teachers each, have the equivalent of one day a week in time release to assist them in their role. That time release also enables them to undertake professional learning PRINCIPALS HAVE A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN MOVING PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS FROM A ‘STUDENT’ TO A ‘TEACHER’ ORIENTATION, AND IN INFLUENCING THEIR VALUES AND BELIEFS.