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Immersion programs in Australia: Exploring four models for developing ‘classroom- ready’ teachers
chapterposted on 27.07.2018, 00:00 by S Tindall-Ford, S Ledger, J Williams, Angelina Ambrosetti
‘Classroom-ready’ graduate teachers require a sound understanding of the complex context that constitutes the ‘classroom’ in which they are expected to teach. The preservice teachers’ experiences within schools provide critical insights into these complexities and provide ongoing professional development towards their classroom readiness. It is in the school setting where theory learnt at university can inform and support preservice teachers to make sense of their observations of students’ learning, teachers’ teaching and their own teaching practice. We contend that within a traditional professional experience, the opportunities to link educational theory to teaching practice are usually incidental rather than purposeful, with preservice teachers often having limited opportunity to observe and experience the multifaceted nature of being a teacher. At both the state and national levels, governments are advocating for the improvement of preservice teachers’ school experiences and for universities to ensure the graduation of ‘classroom-ready’ teachers. This chapter examines how initial teacher education providers are enhancing preservice teachers’ teaching and learning experiences through innovative in-school immersion programs with the goal of producing more professionally prepared, ‘classroom-ready’ graduates. The chapter showcases four different models of school immersion programs from across Australia, outlining the purpose, structure and intended outcomes of each. A critique of these models highlighting tensions and vulnerabilities to implementation of immersion programs results in recommendations for initial teacher education providers who are seeking to support the immersion of preservice teachers as they transition into the teaching profession.