An Online Community to Support Future Makers in Educational Reform
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Australian education is undergoing national reform at many levels. The school sector, where preserviceteachers will be employed, are adjusting to the demands of the National Curriculum and improving teacher quality through the National Professional Standards for Teachers. In addition, the university sector, where pre-service teachers are prepared, is undergoing its own education reform through the introduction of a demand-driven system and ensuring quality for tertiary education interns through the Higher Education Standards Framework. In moving to prepare preservice teachers for the school system; universities are grappling with the double-barreled approach to teacher quality; quality within the university course and quality within the student teachers being prepared. Through a collaborative partnership including university lecturers, Department of Education central administration staff, school principals, school coordinators, practicum supervisors, mentor teachers and pre-service teachers; the stakeholders have formed an online community of learners engaging in reflective practice who are committed to improving teacher quality. This online community not only links the key stakeholders within the project, it facilitates the nexus between theory and practice often missing in our pre-service teacher placements. This paper reports preliminary data about an initiative to ensure final year pre-service teachers are aspiring to meet the graduate professional standards through the use of an innovative online community.
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