Internships in initial teacher education

BOSTES recently convened a meeting to bring key stakeholders together regarding the internship dimension of initial teacher education.

All parties agreed in principle that a clear document building on the recently agreed practicum provisions would provide greater clarity and certainty of understandings.

The ‘time’ made available by the presence of interns must be closely defined to ensure that the needs of interns are met and that teachers can be assured of both support and acknowledgement of their contribution.

The NSW Council of Deans of Education have distributed a discussion paper which defines internships as:

“Internships refer to an in-school placement of a Preservice Teacher who is undergoing full-time (or PT equivalent) further study in teacher education at a university, has completed content and methodology course which meet the NSW Department of Education and Communities minimum requirements for teaching, has demonstrated successful teaching practices in developmental field experiences leading to the internship, and is approved to teach a class without the presence of a supervising teacher”.

IEU members who accept students from the Universities of Newcastle and Sydney would be familiar with the notion of interns. The role of the teacher mentor is the vital ingredient and must be recognised. The graduated reduction of payment in tandem with time release for the teacher mentor appears to be well accepted in schools. The IEU will keep members abreast of development in this discussion.