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Professional experience - Common roles and responsibilities

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Document 2 - Professional experience - Common roles and responsibilities

Introduction

This description of common roles and responsibilities has been collaboratively developed by representatives of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES), school systems, classroom teachers and teacher educators.

It uses terminology that is consistent with that included in Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures that were endorsed by the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) in April 2011.

The development of common roles and responsibilities was designed to minimise duplication of workload across initial teacher education providers (providers), establish greater commonality in the language used in professional experience handbooks and assist in achieving greater consistency in the assessment of teacher education students by supervising teachers in NSW schools.

Providers and schools are able to add additional dimensions to the roles and responsibilities of staff involved in supporting the professional experience program.

Glossary

The following terms are used in this document:

Term

Covering related term(s)

Student school student
Teacher Education Student pre-service teacher, student teacher, practicum student
Professional Experience Coordination school-based professional experience coordinator,in-school coordinator, practicum coordinator
Supervising Teacher cooperating teacher, field-based teacher educator,associate teacher, mentor teacher, master teacher
Tertiary Supervisor tertiary mentor, university advisor, professional experience supervisor
Professional Experience Office tertiary professional experience coordinator, Director of Professional Experience

Provider-based roles and responsibilities

1. The teacher education student

Responsibilities of the teacher education student include:

  • being familiar with and complying with all requirements of the professional experience program including documentation, contact with relevant staff and teaching load
  • being fully prepared for the professional experience placement in terms of prior  
  • contact with theschool or supervising teacher and developing an initial appreciation of the school context
  • complying with school policies and procedures relating to staff and conforming to the school's professional expectations of staff
  • presenting an ethical, responsible and professional attitude in all contact with school staff, students,parents and carers
  • respecting the personal effort and constructive professional advice provided by the school, supervising teacher and tertiary supervisor
  • fulfilling all other requirements of their teacher education program including any related in-school requirements of program units.

2. The tertiary supervisor

Responsibilities of the tertiary supervisor include:

  • being the provider's representative for liaison with principals, professional experience coordinators, supervising teachers and teacher education students prior to, during and after professional experience placement
  • being an advocate for quality teaching practice that is based on current theory and research and a supporter of current and possible educational partnerships and collaborative activities between providers and schools
  • providing quality educational and professional leadership in helping to foster good relationships between providers and school staff
  • contributing to teacher education student's professional learning during the professional experience placement by modelling quality teaching and learning practice including a knowledge of: the subject content to be taught and how students learn; effective planning, programming and student assessment; and effective interpersonal and communication skills
  • collaborating with supervising teacher(s) and other school-based staff to ensure effective and coordinated support, guidance and developmental opportunities are provided to teacher education students
  • undertaking the prescribed number of contacts with the school depending on the structure of the professional experience program. These contacts may include:

- a liaison visit generally involving speaking to the teacher education student and supervising teacher(s) about expectations and progress but usually not observing the teacher education student in the classroom; and/or

- a mentoring visit aiming to more fully facilitate the learning of the teacher education student during the placement which may involve an observation of teaching and completion of an observation report; and/or

- a group visit, when more than one teacher education student is in a school, where the tertiary supervisor may choose to work more frequently with teacher education students as a group (and possibly with supervising teachers as a group) making the focus more on facilitation of peer learning rather than individual classroom observation.

  • enhancing the professional learning of teacher education students through informal discussion and written feedback following classroom observations
  • discussing the teacher education student’s development and possible grading (if applicable) with the supervising teacher and school-based professional experience coordinator, prior to preparation of the final report by the supervising teacher.

3. Professional experience office

Responsibilities of the professional experience office include:

  • being the first point of contact between schools and the provider concerning professional experience with all administrative, financial and professional matters
  • facilitating and overseeing placement of teacher education students in schools and other relevant settings, by liaising with principals/heads of school, teacher education students, professional experience coordinators, tertiary supervisors and other staff as required
  • providing professional advice and guidance to all involved in professional experience on quality teaching practice, effective assessment of teaching practice and professional judgement
  • ensuring the provider’s documentation relating to the professional experience program is up to date, consistent with relevant policies and made available to those involved in supporting the program
  • monitoring correct application of procedures and ensuring due process in the event of concerns about the progress of teacher education students and advising principals/heads of school, professional experience coordinators and tertiary supervisors if the Student in Need of Additional Support procedures are required
  • assisting the Dean/Head of Education to make decisions about the application of additional intervention and support for teacher education students on professional experience and the withdrawal of teacher education students from schools where conflict, unprofessionalism or significant concerns have occurred
  • ensuring correct completion, submission, processing and recording of relevant documentation for a professional experience placement
  • collecting and collating data about placements to inform projections of future placement requirements.

4. The Dean/Head of Education

The Dean or Head of Education has executive responsibility for matters of educational quality and equity related to the professional experience placement, including:

  • being an advocate for effective partnerships between the provider and schools and for fostering current and future collaborative educational partnerships and activities
  • ensuring there is appropriate support for the professional experience within initial teacher education programs and that relevant provider staff have sufficient experience and skills to fulfil their role
  • being responsible for decisions relating to intervention action including withdrawal of teacher education students from schools, dealing with claims of grievance or harassment and in resolving other disputes
  • exchanging data with schools/schooling systems and BOSTES about placements to inform projections of future placement requirements.

School-based roles and responsibilities

1. The principal/head of the school

When teacher education students are allocated to a school they come under the administrative control of the principal/head of the school and under the direction of those members of school staff to whom the principal/head of school delegates particular responsibilities. In collaboration with provider staff, the principal/head of school has executive responsibility for matters of educational quality and equity related to the professional experience placement, including:

  • being an advocate for effective partnerships between the provider and the school and fostering current and future collaborative educational partnerships and activities
  • coordinating professional experience placements at their school or identifying a school-based professional experience coordinator who is an experienced member of staff and who may be at, or working towards, one of the higher levels of accreditation to take responsibility for coordinating placements at the school
  • arranging appropriate support for the professional learning of each teacher education student during their professional experience placement and confirming that supervising teachers have sufficient teaching experience and interpersonal skills to fulfil their role
  • providing quality educational and professional leadership in helping to foster good relationships between providers and school staff
  • informing school staff that teacher education students are not to be given sole responsibility for supervising activities involving risk to students (eg playground duty) and supervising teachers and other school staff continue to have duty of care responsibilities.  For similar reasons, teacher education students should not be asked to relieve for teachers who are absent
  • being responsible for decisions relating to claims of grievance or harassment, for resolution of disputes and for decisions about withdrawal of the teacher education students from the professional experience placement.

2. Professional experience coordination

School-based professional experience coordination may be undertaken by the principal/head of the school or delegated to one or more experienced members of staff including teachers working towards one of the higher levels of accreditation.

Responsibilities for professional experience coordination prior to, during and after a period of school experience include:

  • providing a liaison point between provider staff, teacher education students and school staff to help ensure effective communication and information flow
  • overseeing supervision of all teacher education students allocated to the school
  • being an advocate for the strong involvement of the school in facilitating and supporting professional experience programs, encouraging appropriate members of staff to participate as supervising teachers
  • liaising with the professional experience office of the provider regarding access to appropriateclasses/teaching areas/grades/stages and the linking of teacher education students to particular supervising teachers following discussions with the principal/head of school
  • welcoming teacher education students into the school, informing them of key school policies and procedures, and providing them with opportunities for some extension of their experiences beyond the classes/grades to which they are allocated by being involved in the full scope of the school’s programs and activities
  • arranging, in consultation with the supervising teacher(s), a teaching timetable 
  • during the initial pre-placement visit, including: for secondary placements, appropriate selection of classes to be assigned to the teacher education student; determining a program of observation lessons as applicable; and ensuring that the teacher education student (under supervision) assists in playground and sports supervision and other school activities which form part of the responsibilities of teachers in the life of the school
  • communicating in a timely manner with either or both the tertiary supervisor and the professional experience office if concerns emerge as to the competence and/or professional approach of the teacher education student and ensuring that the Student in Need of Additional Support procedures are followed
  • alerting the professional experience office should a teacher education student be absent without explanation from the school, or where unusual circumstances or difficulties arise. All instances of absence should be noted on the attendance sheet, at the conclusion of the professional experience
  • ensuring the professional experience report is forwarded to the professional experience office at the conclusion of professional experience placement.

3. The supervising teacher

Responsibilities of the supervising teacher include:

  • modelling quality teaching and learning practice, including a knowledge of: the subject content to be taught and how students learn; effective planning, programming and student assessment; and effective interpersonal and communication skills
  • developing a comprehensive understanding of the provider’s specific professional experience requirements from the professional experience handbook in order to guide the planning of learning opportunities appropriate to the developmental level of the teacher education student(s)
  • being aware of the relevant professional experience report and the Graduate Teacher Standards that are to be the focus of the particular professional experience placement
  • liaising with the tertiary supervisor concerning expected learning outcomes of the specific professional experience placement as well as effective ways of supporting and facilitating the teacher education student’s professional learning and professional relationships within the school
  • developing a comprehensive professional learning program appropriate to the level and duration of the placement informed by the guidelines in the professional experience handbook, including:
    • acquainting the teacher education student with roles of teachers in schools and within the community
    • selecting a range of suitable teaching experiences and then guiding and supporting the teacher education student’s teaching in all phases of their professional experience.  For secondary placements this requires selection and allocation of suitable classes for the teacher education student
    • managing the pacing of the teacher education student’s engagement in learning experiences, as described in the professional experience handbook, including building from primarily observation in the first few days to assuming increasing responsibility for groups and classes across longer time periods
    • verifying that the teacher education student has completed suitable preparation and documentation required for all lessons to be delivered, and that these are discussed and reviewed with the teacher education student before the lesson is presented
    • providing both informal advice and more structured written feedback on lessons taught by the teacher education student that provides formative and constructive advice to guide the teacher education student’s ongoing professional learning
    • contacting the tertiary supervisor and/or the professional experience office if the teacher education student is experiencing difficulties or is in need of additional support.  Ideally this should occur as early as possible so Student in Need of Additional Support procedures can be implemented
    • consulting with the tertiary supervisor and school-based professional experience coordinator concerning the teacher education student’s progress, final report and grade if applicable
    • understanding that the teacher education student does not assume duty of care of students and that, consequently, overall supervision responsibility is always exercised by the supervising teacher
    • completing all necessary documentation from the provider including the professional experience report and mid-experience report (if required) in consultation with the supervising teacher and tertiary supervisor.  The report is then to be discussed with the teacher education student who also is required to sign the document before it is forwarded to the professional experience office.
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