Global shifts in education mean that learning involves more than teaching knowledge and beginning teachers, in turn, need to appreciate the multiple realities and cultural understandings of all those in their care. In this paper the authors report on a unique pre-service teacher education program in rural Victoria, Australia. Students undertake a 12 month program after completing their undergraduate qualification, which enables them to teach all levels in primary and post-primary schools. During this time, lecturers in the program utilise a combination of lectures, tutorials, specialist seminar days, electives, fieldwork and teaching practice, to assist the students to develop a disposition that is both socially just and theoretically informed. Whereas it is impossible to prepare students for each and every situation they will encounter upon graduation, educating teachers to teach in a changing global environment requires approaches that attempt to deal with diversity in all its forms in sensitive, respectful and inclusive ways. Powerful elements of the program are the seminar days conducted throughout the year in which outside speakers – themselves practitioner specialists in their own fields with whom lecturers have developed partnerships over time – work with the students on issues associated with sexualities, Indigenous education, mental health and global education. Utilising outside professionals to provide specialist knowledge allows the students to experience multiple perspectives and to develop a range of viewpoints. Through a process of critically reflective practice developed in the 12-month program, these experiences legitimise, challenge, clarify, confirm and generally ‘make real’ the issues related to diversity that are raised in other parts of the course. These strong partnerships, the teaching team and the overall character and philosophy of the course provide an environment in which the students can develop an ability to work with diversity in their teaching environments, rather than merely tolerate it.
|Keywords:||Inclusive Teaching, Partnerships, Supportive Environments, Sexualities, Indigenous Education, Social Justice, Diversity in Teaching and Learning|
Lecturer, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
Lecturer, Faculty of Education, LaTrobe University, Albury-Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
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