A successful partnership programme between EIT and local schools, which has seen a steady stream of Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) candidate teachers gain practical teaching experience while studying, is still thriving after ten years.
EIT’s Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) is practice-based – with candidate teachers across all three years working alongside experienced teachers in partnership local primary and intermediate schools for two days a week as part of the programme.
For another two days per week, candidate teachers are on-campus at EIT developing professional knowledge associated with subjects such as language and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, art, technology, health and physical education. The practice-based programme is one of only a few around the country and was the first to be delivered at a polytechnic.
The Programme-Coordinator of EIT’s Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) Degree, Associate Professor Emily Nelson, says it has been an outstanding success.
“One of the neat things that puts it all into perspective is that you can walk into the foyer of our partnership schools and see the photos of our candidate teachers up there alongside all the other teachers.”
“They are accepted as part of the school right from the start and the principals who employ them say they interview really well. “
“There are ongoing conversations between EIT and the schools. We are committed to visiting the schools and the mentor teachers from the partnership schools come to EIT regularly to discuss the programme.
Emily says there are currently twenty-one schools involved from Napier through to Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay with schools enthusiastic to join the network when vacancies arise. Liaison with partnership schools is ably led by Kirsty Jones, EIT’s School-Based Learning and Practicum Coordinator, who visits schools regularly and cultivates relationships with potential partnership schools through the practicum placement process.
“Kirsty keeps up-to-date on educational and school matters in Hawke’s Bay and elsewhere, which helps keep her connected with the sector.”
The President of the Hawke’s Bay Primary Principals Association, Mark Johnson, who is also the Principal of Greenmeadows School, says that one of the reasons the programme has thrived for ten years is that there are very clear lines of communications about what is working well.
“In the event something is not working, then we can quickly address it. I also think the input that principals had into the design of the programme in its early days, and that ongoing communication between the schools and EIT, has meant it’s really formed that partnership.“
“Partnership is not just an idly-used word, it’s something that’s really evident in the whole relationship.”
Mark says that an important component is how schools receive the candidate teachers.
“We run an induction programme and have a designated person who meets and cares for the candidate teachers. The more times you do it, the more efficient you become at letting them know what that school environment’s like, and how they fit in.”
He says the calibre of candidate teachers coming to schools has been high and he puts that down to a thorough selection process.
“The principals are involved in that process, and I think it is a credit to the design of the programme that we have such good candidate teachers coming through. It is fantastic to see so many EIT teaching graduates found on the staff of primary and intermediate schools throughout Hawke’s Bay.”
Lynda Allen, who is acting Associate Principal at Frimley School in Hastings and has been one of the original mentor teachers, says it has been exciting to be involved in a visionary programme.
“The two-way partnership has worked very well because we are able to give feedback to EIT, but the candidate teachers also bring fresh ideas and new eyes into our school, there is a lot of give and take and ideas shared back and forth.”
Lynda says the calibre of candidate teachers coming into her school has been good and keeps expectations high.
“We’ve had an absolutely amazing mix of ages, backgrounds, maturity levels from school leavers to candidates who are in their 40s. I think that’s what brings the beautiful wealth of knowledge and experience to the programme.”
“The calibre is outstanding, and all the candidate teachers want to be there,” says Lynda.