Preparing Middle Years Teachers to meet the needs of young adolescents in new times: the story of an innovation in teacher education
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education
In 2001 a small team of teacher educators at Edith Cowan University (ECU) proceeded to design a new Graduate Diploma of Education in the Middle Years of Schooling. The vision of this diploma is to prepare employable graduates with the knowledge, skills and values required to teach in classrooms at the frontier of middle schooling reform. The first of its kind in Australia, it aims to address community concerns for the needs of young adolescents through the training of beginning teachers specific to that age group. As an innovative program it has a strong social justice philosophy, and uses constructivist approaches within a community of practice to provide an effective learning environment and achieve high quality student outcomes. Three years after introducing the diploma, the team received the 2004 ECU Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. ln this paper, using our own teacher education curriculum framework, we share some of our successes and current challenges in developing this course. We briefly present our vision of middle years teachers as agents for transformation across local domains and in global contexts, and in telling our story, we include the voices of our students by highlighting their commendations and recommendations in how well we 'practised what we preached'.