Prospective teachers in the middle of their professional lives could have paid, tailored work added to their studies.
The recommendation was included in a government-ordered report aimed at improving teachers’ readiness for entering the classroom.
It would expand the paid teaching programs already offered at some Australian universities.
Education Ministers from Australia’s federal, state, and territory governments have supported the measure.
First, the report:
The report, which was first published on Thursday, offered four overall avenues to refine teacher education in Australia.
This included recommendations to improve practical teaching experience, which was the “area in most need of reform”.
Students in the middle of their careers were targeted for many reforms. They were found to generally be aged 35-44 and undertaking both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
Should paid work be added to degrees?
The report suggested adding paid employment opportunities for students in the middle of their careers.
This was aimed at making courses easier for these students, who were believed to have greater financial and personal responsibilities, such as looking after a family, than others.
A survey used as part of the report found that only 12% of mid-career students did paid industry work during their studies. Most who didn’t have the option of paid work said they would have gained valuable experience from it.
What paid work could it be?
The types of jobs that mid-career students could undertake weren’t specified in the report.
However, it used some current employment programs at Australian universities to highlight the effectiveness of paid programs.
This includes teaching work as part of a Master’s degree at the University of Melbourne, and a La Trobe University program that allows students to be employed after 10 weeks of study.
What else did it say?
The report also called for “core content” – such as classroom management and effective teaching practices – to be mandated into teaching courses.
This would ensure that prospective teachers have a strong understanding of key learning practices, including literacy and numeracy skills, before starting a job.
Education providers have been given two years to add core content programs into their courses.