Perspectives of teachers and community partners on sustaining support for pre-service teachers
McCallum, F 2010, 'Perspectives of teachers and community partners on sustaining support for pre-service teachers, paper presented to ATEA Conference, Townsville, Qld., 4-8 July.
The problem of attracting, recruiting and retaining teachers to rural areas cannot be solved only by teacher education or by employer authority strategies: wider partners need to become involved. This paper discusses strategies that were adopted to foster teacher and community participation and partnership in an innovative program developed at the University of South Australia (McCallum & Carter 2009; Carter & McCallum 2009) through a four-way collaboration between pre-service teachers, university teacher education, education systems and the local communities in three rural localities. Data taken from focus groups and surveys with the local stakeholders were analysed to investigate socially sustainable ways of attracting and supporting pre-service teachers to rural areas. Further examination was undertaken of the strategies used by the various community groups during professional placement that enabled pre-service teachers to experience a 'lived' experience that has resulted in recruitment and retention to rural areas post-graduation. This paper argues that socially sustainable partnership practices must be built into the ongoing work of teacher education program staff, in developing a sense of ownership locally in schools and their wider communities if we are to address the shortfall of high quality teachers in regional Australia.