The educational landscape around middle schooling reform is a contemporary focus of the Australian school education agenda. The University of Queensland Middle Years of Schooling pre-service teacher education program develops specialist teachers for this crucial phase of schooling. This program has become a national leader for middle school teacher education. This paper reports on aspects of a longitudinal study that began with the first cohort of students in the program in 2003. To date 234 students have been involved as participants in the study. The findings demonstrate that students: can articulate what is meant by the term middle years and can identify with a need for a philosophy of middle schooling; are aware that they are part of a reform movement which has swept the nation and which has implications for teaching in schools in the twenty first century; are confident the program is producing highly skilled professional teachers willing to take on the challenges of teaching in the middle years; can say how their training has helped them understand and account for the educational experiences of students in a time of transition; and hold quiet, yet firm beliefs about teaching in the middle years. Furthermore, using a measure of lexical density to analyze the verbs used by respondents, it seems that this quiet confidence has grown in the period from 2003 – 2006.
Australian Teacher Education Association National Conference, Twin Waters, Australia 8-11 July 2008
Teacher Educators at Work: What Works and Where is the Evidence? / Aspland, T (ed): pp.253-271