Sustaining middle level teacher education in Australia

Shanks, Brenda and Dowden, Tony (2010) Sustaining middle level teacher education in Australia. In: Australian Association for Research in Education Conference (AARE 2010): Making a Difference, 29 Nov-2 Dec 2010, Melbourne, Australia.

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Recent Australian research has focused attention on middle level education (Barratt, 1998; Luke, Elkins et al., 2003) and, in particular, the need for specialised middle level teacher education (Chadbourne, 2002; Mitchell, Kapitzke et al., 2003; Pendergast, Whitehead, de Jong, Newhouse-Maiden & Bahr, 2007). Over the last decade, programmes of specialised middle level teacher education have been established in response to the steady growth of middle schools in Australia (de Jong & Chadbourne, 2007). The rationale underpinning these programmes is that middle level teachers require specific preparation in order to meet the diverse and specific needs of young adolescents (10-15 years old or Grades 5-9).

This paper draws from a recent doctoral study investigating the provision of middle level teacher education in New Zealand. Teacher educators with responsibility for coordinating programmes of middle level teacher education in three Australian institutions were interviewed about their programmes. While there are contextual differences across the settings, the programmes each espouse and model principles and practices that promote a constructivist, student-centred and developmentally appropriate pedagogy responsive to young adolescent students.

We identify and discuss a number of factors threatening the viability of programmes. These factors are inter-related and ultimately stem from the two-tiered system of primary and secondary education that is well entrenched in Australia. We suggest solutions and conclude by emphasising the need for a robust model of middle level teacher education inclusive of all stakeholders if educational outcomes for young adolescents in Australia are to be improved.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 23:51
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2013 23:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: middle years of schooling; teacher education; early adolescence; young adolescents
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130199 Education systems not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130106 Secondary Education
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified

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