A resource package Framework for producing quality graduates to work in rural, regional and remote Australia: a global perspective.
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The aim of this paper/presentation is to advocate the resource package for producing quality graduates to work in rural, regional and remote Australia (TERRR Network), using a global perspective. This paper argues that the resource package achieves more than the objectives of the original project; ‘Developing Strategies at the Pre-service Level to Address Critical Teacher Attraction and Retention Issues in Australian Rural, Regional and Remote Schools’. Through implementation of the resource package, subsequently all Teacher Education students develop the ability to understand context and build confidence to adapt curriculum accordingly, thus enhancing learning and teaching. This often requires extension from ones ‘comfort zone’ in order to experience and understand ‘context’. It also requires teachers to be flexible and understanding, an essential role of Teacher Educators in the modern world. It is relevant that when viewing rural education on the global stage, the theme of the 3rd ISFIRE conference that this paper shares the author’s story reflection as an international school leader in a geographic remote Middle Eastern location. The author reflects on his position as the Head of Key Stage One and Head of Foundation Stage (3-7 years) and member of the Senior Management Team (3-18 years - 1200 students) at the Dukhan English School between years 2007-2009. Dukhan is an oil and gas town in Qatar and the school caters for Qatar Petroleum employees who are entitled to receive a free education for as many as four children. Many of the children were the first member of their family to receive an education within recognised world-wide standards; National Curriculum of England & Wales, International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE) and Advanced Level (A-Level). In some instances the children were the first member of their family to attend school and be educated. The author was directly responsible for managing over 410 students, as well as 20 teachers (five strands) and 20 teaching assistants. Furthermore, as a consequence of world commodity markets, Dukhan English School grew rapidly with Foundation Stage and Key Stage One doubling in size during the author’s role as Head. The school was respectful of all cultures, but was non-religious and non-denominational. Local Islamic religious traditions and Qatar Petroleum days were observed with the school week running from Sunday to Thursday. The academic year mirrored the British system of three terms beginning in September. The challenge of Head Teacher extended the author’s cultural, religious and regional/rural/remote contextual experience boundary from that of metropolitan Australia. The author illustrates how such a Framework would have assisted in preparing him for this experience by examining the Seven Focus Areas of the National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST), chosen as a Framework for pre-service teachers to develop knowledge, understandings and skills for working in remote contexts. It is concluded that the resource package therefore, also prepares students to be “responsible and effective global citizens who engage in an internationalised world and exhibit cross-cultural competence” (Monash Graduate Attributes Policy, Academic Board, 2008), an attribute that is similarly advocated across universities. Hence, this argument adds strength to the significance of this resource package for preparing all Teacher Education programs, nationally and internationally.
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