Tassie Christian Schools to Train Their Own Teachers

AC Education Student

Ten Tasmanian Christian schools have joined together to create training program to ensure there is a supply of quality teachers for their schools.

Trainee teachers will enter into a four-year undergraduate or two-year postgraduate degree program and will be working in the schools with students for their entire tertiary education which means HECs debt will be halved as they will be paid part time as teaching assistants.

The Tasmanian Teaching Hub will partner the ten Tasmanian schools that are part of the Christian Education National (CEN) Network with Australia’s largest Protestant-affiliated tertiary provider, Alphacrucis University College (AC), to deliver the degree program.

The Clinical Hub model flips the model of teacher training so clusters of schools can select and clinically train their own teachers in partnership with a tertiary provider. Teacher trainees are immersed in a local school, clinically trained, mentored, and supported throughout their initial teacher education course with AC, which is accredited through the NSW Education Standards Authority.

The initiative reconnects schools with the training of the next generation of teachers to address student teacher quality, high attrition rates in the profession and classroom readiness of graduates. The Clinical Hub model of teacher training is already operating successfully around the nation, and was recently included as a key recommendation in the Great Teachers, Great Schools NSW report.

Alphacrucis liaison for the Tasmanian CEN Teaching Hub, Dr David Hastie, said, “The clinical training approach embedded in the model has proven to be effective across the globe, but this Hub model adapts it for our unique Australia education context. The model provides professional and contextual preparation with a wealth of experience in curriculum development, assessment, small group teaching, parent interaction, problem-solving and conflict resolution.”

A typical Teaching Hub trainee will spend 1-2 days per week paid to work in the classroom with a Mentor Teacher, which means that by the completion of their degree the trainee will already have hundreds of days of school-based experience.

The academic program includes a mixture of local face-to-face intensives, mentor training, and online coursework. A significant point of difference from existing models is that the training follows the rhythms of the school calendar rather than the traditional university calendar. This means that trainee teachers are receiving 40 weeks of training each year rather than the common university calendar of two 13-week semesters.

The degrees awarded are the same degrees awarded at traditional universities with the same standards, rigour and accountability to the governing bodies that set and monitor academic standards in Australia. Full and partial scholarships are available to prospective trainees.

Adrian Bosker, Principal at Launceston Christian School, expressed his excitement around the new opportunities for the Tasmanian schools.

“Numerous consultations with stakeholders over many years, exploring Initial Teacher Education (ITE), have consistently identified the gap in traditional models of delivery.”

“Schools have been longing for classroom ready graduate teachers and the clinical Teaching Hub is well placed to deliver this outcome.  The ‘classroom readiness’ comes from the regular, consistent collaboration and interaction with the rhythms, pedagogical practices and curriculum of schools that are embedded in the design of the model.”

“It is a great step forward to work in partnership with schools to directly benefit the students, parents, schools and the teaching profession more broadly.  This also addresses the initiatives, recently announced by the Federal Government, to address the shortage of a qualified and well-trained workforce to meet to demands of the education sector in the future.”

The Tasmanian CEN Teaching Hub includes school partners Calvin Christian School, Channel Christian School, Circular Head Christian School, Devonport Christian School, Emmanuel Christian School, Launceston Christian School, Leighland Christian School (Burnie), Leighland Christian School (Ulverstone), Newstead Christian School, and Northern Christian School.

This article was first published on Education Today.