Teacher education students are being called on to join a national, virtual round table to share what inspired them to become teachers and what they think may have deterred their peers from going in the same direction.
The aim of Future Teachers Talk is to identify challenges and explore new ways to encourage secondary school students to become teachers.
‘In Germany, about 84% of young teachers choose their career by the end of secondary school. In contrast, the OECD reports, more than half of Australian teachers do not consider teaching as a career until after they leave school. Why is that?’ ACDE President, Professor Tania Aspland, asks.
‘We think those likely to have some interesting, fresh views are now studying teaching at university and, as such, are often close in age and experience to current secondary school students,’ she says.
In an Australian first, Future Teachers Talking aims to effectively form a large online focus group in which teacher education students can have their say – in text, audio and video – on a digital ideas platform called Crowdicity. A short video on the project can be found here.
Questions posted by researchers will promote online discussions and prompt students into collectively deciding on ways to improve public perceptions of teaching. This could, in turn, help to control a predicted shortage of teachers – beyond STEM and other specialised areas – caused by recent steep declines in teaching student applications.
‘Future Teachers Talk is a partnership between ACDE and Swinburne University education, business, psychology and innovation researchers – so we have a really diverse range of perspectives involved,’ Professor Aspland, says.
‘The project will involve Problem and Solution Jams, to stimulate innovative proposals to tackle important and difficult real-world issues faced by potential and current teachers.
‘The digital community created will also allow hundreds of teacher education students open communication right across Australia, which we hope will also give them a greater sense of inclusion as they journey towards teaching in classrooms,’ Professor Aspland says.
Before 31August 2019, teacher education students are encouraged to sign on direct to the Crowdicity platform at https://futureteacherstalk.crowdicity.com/.
Students can then contribute, however much they like, to discussions that will run in stages until 18 October 2019. Participation will have no positive or negative impact on their university studies. All personal data collected will be kept confidential but de-identified results will be shared widely.