A new Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) competitive grant project aims to improve university pre-service education in four Western Australian universities to ensure graduating teachers are better prepared to work in rural, regional and remote areas.
Curtin’s Humanities Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Sue Trinidad said the project will strengthen the capacity and credibility of universities to prepare rural, regional and remote educators.
“The problem we have at the moment is that current students are being trained in the capital cities and it has been difficult attracting and retaining teachers to rural and remote areas as they have no experience outside the city,” Professor Trinidad said.
“They have never been exposed to what life is like in these regional areas and we know through previous research that many teachers leave their country placements within five years due to false perceptions, isolation and lack of professional development opportunities.
“This project aims to address these problems and will develop more work experience opportunities for the students in order to experience life in the bush before they graduate.”
Work Integrated Learning experience trials will be held in the Wheatbelt and Goldfields regions in partnership with the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission and the Wheatbelt Development Commission.
The research team will produce an exemplar curriculum that will be implemented by the four public universities.
“The project will mean graduating teachers are more informed on the value of teaching in rural, regional and remote areas and their experiences will be grounded with practical and theoretical knowledge,” Professor Trinidad said.
The project is due to be completed by mid 2012.
The ALTC project is a collaborative endeavour between Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia.
The project will be overseen by members from the Rural and Remote Education Advisory Council (RREAC) Society for the Provision of Education for Rural Australia (SPERA); SiMERR-WA;; Department of Education and Training (DET); Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent School of Western Australia (AISWA).