Meeting pre-service teachers where they are: supporting them as literacy educators
Some media reports (Devine, 2005; Donnelly, 2005) have asserted that pre-service teachers often graduate without an understanding of how to teach children to read and write. In the current climate of professional milestones, national benchmarks and teaching standards for early career teachers, it is crucial that pre-service teacher education programs adequately prepare graduates for entry into the profession. This paper explores how we have tailored a final year literacy elective subject to meet the needs of our pre-service teachers and to support them in their final practicum and subsequent entry into the profession. In particular we report on the processes we engage with to encourage pre-service teachers to identify their own professional learning goals within literacy education and how we incorporate these within the context of the subject workshops. Throughout the session we challenge the traditional mode of a university subject as we create opportunities for pre-service teachers to network with the wider education community through attendance at local professional learning sessions and through contact with key literacy personnel across the school systems. We argue that our pre-service teachers overwhelmingly perceive this subject as a valuable way to stimulate and encourage professional learning and dialogue as they focus on their role as literacy educators
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