Preservice Professional Experiences
The term ‘Professional Experience’ refers to preservice teachers’ practical work in the field as part of the University program. It is the core of all preservice teacher education courses. Productive professional learning for preservice teachers occurs when the University is able to work collaboratively with placement environments and their staff to ensure quality practical learning components for preservice teachers in all the school's programs.
Professional experience is designed to both integrate with and augment University coursework as well as provide preservice teachers with opportunities to develop their professional skills and understandings in teaching environments. It is undoubtedly a most significant aspect of teacher education because it provides the major opportunity for preservice teachers to draw together the more theoretical aspects of their learning with those aspects that are more explicitly orientated towards the professional practice of the teacher. The broad purpose of the professional experience components of the school programs is to provide opportunities for preservice teachers to:
- broaden their experience, understanding and appreciation of the realities of schooling and of the nature, needs and capacities of young people
- progressively develop effective teaching and management skills
- enhance their capacity to construct, implement and evaluate programs of appropriate learning experiences
- develop an understanding and an appreciation of the role of teachers within both the school and its community
- develop a reflective understanding of the ways in which as preservice teachers they are constituting their own sense of professional teacher identity.
This is achieved through the preservice teacher reflectively engaging with experiences within:
- observation visits to schools and work with other educational institutions
- in-school single-day and block teaching experiences
- additional programs arranged for individual preservice teachers recommended for supplementary assistance or for specialised teaching experience.
Professional Experience placements also provide opportunities for experienced professionals in the field to assess preservice teachers' suitability, performance and effectiveness as beginning teachers, and potential future members of the teaching profession.