Pre-service early childhood teachers often cite practical experience in early childhood settings as the most important aspect of their university degree. However, increasing competition among universities for placements has created the need to reconceptualise the critical relationship between higher education and educational settings. Recognising the ongoing need for sustainable partnerships to deliver high quality practical experience (Department of Education & Training, 2015, p. 7), Flinders University has sought to re-imagine teaching practicum as 'Professional Experience'; workplace learning integrated throughout our degree courses. Flinders University's Professional Experience implements an inquiry-based WIL philosophy that positions the pre-service teacher as a knowledge creator, a participant, and a contributor within the field of early childhood education. Moving from the traditional practicum model to an inquiry-based WIL approach has required negotiating changes with participants across the field; university policy makers, schools and early childhood services, and educational administrators. The focus on active collaborations and reciprocal relationships, rather than 'top-down' university requirements, has created partnerships that result in sustained interest from early childhood settings and more placement offers for pre-service teachers. The agency of pre-service teachers and enthusiasm of WIL sites in these partnerships is contributing to meaningful, needs-based, knowledge generation for the 21st century.
|Publication status||Published - 30 Sep 2016|
|Event||ACEN 2016 National Conference - |
Duration: 28 Sep 2016 → 30 Sep 2016
|Conference||ACEN 2016 National Conference|
|Period||28/09/16 → 30/09/16|