A project to mentor Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students placed in disadvantaged schools proposed by the Graduate School of Education at UWA has been announced as the inaugural People's Choice Award recipient of the UWA Alumni Grant Fund.
Selected by UWA Alumni, staff and students who voted online, the project will ensure current UWA teacher education graduates are better equipped for a professional practice experience and future teaching career in disadvantaged schools.
Project Leader, Professor Vaille Dawson believes that one of the greatest challenges facing school education is the disparity in quality of education across Australian Schools. By the end of Year 10, students in disadvantaged schools are, on average, 2.5 years behind their peers in advantaged schools.
“Issues around managing student behaviours and overcoming students’ poor literacy skills and learning disabilities can leave our ITE students floundering and unwilling to seek employment in these schools after graduation,” says Professor Dawson.
“The program aims to provide secondary ITE students majoring in maths, science and English face to face and online mentoring programs before, during and after professional practice placements. Mentors will be retired experienced subject specialists.”
The program will cater for up to 80 Initial Teacher Education students who are undertaking two profession practice placements (June and September) next year. Students will attend four half day weekend workshops which will cover topics including classroom management strategies, learning with English as a second language, recognising and dealing with bullying, cultural competence, youth mental health issues and building personal resilience.
Mentors will be available online to support our ITE students and an online wiki will be developed with resources specifically designed to meet the needs of students in disadvantaged schools.
“The UWA motto is ‘Seek Wisdom’. This motto applies not only to UWA staff and students but to all Western Australians,” says Professor Dawson.
“Improving educational outcomes of students in disadvantaged schools by ensuring that their teachers are well prepared is one mechanism of enabling all young people to reach their full potential.”
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Project Leader and Deputy Dean of the Graduate School of Education, Professor Vaille Dawson
Project Team Member, Dr Jennifer Shand
Presenter and Graduate Diploma in Education Student, Mia Van Kann
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