Pre-service teachers (across Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary) from ACU's Strathfield campus are able to travel to Vanuatu as part of their professional experience placements. Students spend two weeks teaching and working at Arep School in the province of Torba; an area with low economic development and limited infrastructure.
The students are able to stretch themselves to develop new skills in a real-life context as they face the challenges of teaching in a vastly different context. They demonstrate the use of learner-centred teaching techniques in the classrooms and use locally available resources to develop innovative and engaging lessons for the students.
The program is sponsored by ACU, Rotary and the Government of Vanuatu.
Bachelor of Education (Primary) student Michelle Bray - a member of the team that travelled to Arep in Vanuatu.
The time in Vanuatu made me think in a focused way about how I could apply what I already knew about pedagogy to this setting that was so culturally and linguistically different to what we had previously experienced. We had to be very creative as we did not have the use of any electricity.
So basically all the resources we used we had to create. Many resources were basic and found around the school grounds – for example we used sticks and rocks for counting. This made it more difficult than past practicums where the use of SmartBoards, iPads and laptops were an integral part of our teaching.
The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to work alongside Ni-Vanuatu teachers to plan lessons and share ideas. These teachers were open to new ideas and keen to pursue further support from ACU. All in all it was an amazing and fun experience.