Chris Morrisey

Chris Morrisey

University of Canberra

Erin Stacey

Erin Stacey

University of Canberra

Kerrie Heath

Kerrie Heath

University of Canberra

Pre Service Teachers – Online professional experience placements

 

Tell us about your program and discipline

COVID-19 in Australia saw a disruption to many professional placements across a range of disciplines in Australia and across the globe. If Universities were unable to adapt, this would have a flow on effect for graduates entering the workforce. University of Canberra (UC) will aim to graduate all mid and final year graduating students through the pandemic period using an innovative approach to pre service teacher (PST) placements, allowing students to participate and experience the online education environment first hand. This experience will enable our students to be better equipped to work in all classroom settings and provide our school communities with fresh ideas and experience to their classrooms over these unprecedented times. Read more information in this recent article.

How did your WIL program respond during the COVID-19 emergency?

Professional placements within the Teaching Education degrees have been in place for over 50 years in the ACT, with approximately 2000 placements undertaken in the 2019 academic year. The Education faculty works in partnership with the Careers UC team to prepare students for placement, as well as ensuring effective reflection and debriefing is embedded into the curricula.

As result of COVID-19 and the disruption to Australian schools, UC proposed a blended approach to the final year placements, traditionally undertaken in face to face classroom environments, where PSTs were able to experience a unique and never before experienced placement opportunity. PSTs, under this arrangement, are matched with mentors who have confidence and capability in online learning, and have the ability to undertake their placement using a combination of remote based teaching and onsite work (depending on the individual schools arrangement). Pre-service teachers undertake planning, delivery and assessment in the same manner as they would when teaching a face to face class, however also have the opportunity to get to know the students, parents and carers in a remote based environment to individualise their teaching in order to meet various student needs.

A mid placement survey was conducted, showing a 60% response rate and a 70-80% agreement to questions surrounding students being actively involved in students learning, receiving appropriate support and mentorship, along with feeling comfortable and safe whilst on placement.

More specifically:

  • Students were more actively engaged in lesson planning and locating and creating online teaching resources than in actual teaching lessons online
  • Students were receiving quality mentoring and that they felt very comfortable and safe in the mode
  • Students rated their own pedagogical experience in the online placement mode very highly

What are the plans for the WIL activity in the future?

The use of online placements for pre service teachers will be valuable for the future of education degrees across Australia. Allowing students to undertake experiences with schools that they may not have had the chance to earlier in their degree. Following the completion of the 2020 placements, UC will evaluate and provide the outcomes to the regulator (TQI), to propose the future use of online teaching placements as a formal part of the degree.