Could volunteering help support recruitment challenges in the NT? CDU says yes
Lecturers from Charles Darwin University (CDU) are trialling a new initiative designed to meet the need of pre-service teachers to gain more practical experience while also acknowledging the need to be creative in solving one of the biggest challenges in the Northern Territory, namely attracting and retaining high quality staff in all areas of education.
The program, currently successful in the primary years space, is coordinated by Dr Gavin Morris. Dr Morris identified a gap in schools needing extra help in the classroom and pre-service teachers wanting to gain classroom experience during their studies, pairing the two with great success.
“The teaching placements for pre-service teachers can be quite formal and stressful, whereas being a volunteer in the classroom can be a more relaxing way for them to work with students,” he explained.
The program started with a partnership between CDU and Parap Primary School in Term Four last year, where four pre-service teachers went into classrooms to support teachers.
Pre-service teachers volunteered to spend time in classrooms providing individual and group support while developing professional relationships and gaining a different perspective on the realities of teaching.
Feedback from participants in the program, from both sides, has been positive, and the program has now grown to have 38 participants from 11 schools around Darwin.
Dr Morris is working with Dr Claire Bartlett and Janine Matheson from the College of Indigenous Futures, Education and Arts to develop more proactive strategies and offer strength-based immersive experience for students, including an opportunity to extend the program to early childhood centres and secondary schools, once the right stakeholders are identified.
“We need to provide teachers with more resources and prepare pre-service teachers for placements and employment in the Northern Territory. The volunteering program is an important part of this,” he said.
For more information about the program contact [email protected]