Meeting the professional needs of educators

Published: Wednesday 20th April 2016

The passion of ACU postgraduate Education students wanting to become better educators is inspiring and energising for lecturers, according to Dr Louise Mercer, the national course coordinator for the Masters of Education.

“ACU postgraduate students are passionate about their careers and their interests and our lecturers are energised by their passion and thirst for additional learning in areas of professional learning need,” Dr Mercer said.

Dr Mercer said ACU’s National School of Education collaborates regularly with practising teachers and educational systems in order to ensure that our courses and units meet the current and future professional learning needs of teachers and educational leaders.

She said the National School of Education offers a number of postgraduate courses including the Graduate Certificate in Education and the Master of Education.

Within both courses, postgraduate students can develop advanced knowledge and skills across a range of specialisations including Career Development, the curriculum areas of Mathematics and Literacy, and within specific domains such as Special Education, Student Wellbeing, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Within the Graduate Certificate in Education, postgraduate students can also pursue their interests in Gifted Education while in the Master of Education there are additional specialisations in Early Childhood Education, Autism Studies and allied School Psychology.

Dr Mercer said teachers come to their postgraduate studies with considerable knowledge and significant practical experience.

“In our courses, they have opportunities to further develop their theoretical knowledge, make stronger links between theory and practice, and engage in focused critical reflection on practice,” she said.

“Our postgraduate students also have opportunities to investigate, analyse, plan and implement solutions to specific present problems in schools. In the case of Master’s courses, postgraduate students also plan and execute substantial research-based projects.

Our postgraduate students are typically teachers currently working in schools in urban, regional and remote Australia as well as other countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, and Canada or teachers seeking to strengthen their knowledge and skills before returning to teaching after a period of leave.

Our postgraduate students also enter our courses as cohorts of teachers from particular systems (for example, Catholic Education Melbourne) who wish to pursue additional professional learning in a specific area of interest (for example, developing interventions for school-aged children experiencing literacy learning difficulties).

The School of Education is currently reviewing all specialisations in terms of relevance to the field and developing several new specialisations – for example, safeguarding children, literacy, and the integrated teaching of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Dr Mercer said the staff involved in developing the specialisations in collaboration with teachers and leaders from educational systems look forward to rolling out the suites of units in ways that best meet the needs of the students and their employers whether that be in intensive on campus studies, blended learning opportunities, or in a fully online mode.

“We need to continue collaborating with our partners in the field to make sure our postgraduate courses are supporting teachers and educational leaders to make a significant positive difference to the lives of children and young people currently enrolled in schools,” Dr Mercer said.