Supporting future teachers

Exploring Doveton College's approach to improving teacher education, in partnership with Deakin University

At Doveton College in Dandenong, a partnership with Melbourne's Deakin University is improving teacher education and better preparing future teachers for the classroom.

The Teaching Academy of Professional Practice (TAPP) partnership is giving pre-service teachers opportunities to access supportive placements offering strong professional experience and development.

This is one of 10 TAPP partnerships across the state, involving 160 schools, increasing engagement and consultation between schools and universities.

These partnerships create opportunities for experienced teachers and pre-service teachers, while giving schools the chance to influence the content and delivery of teacher education courses.

Doveton College's approach to TAPPs

The Doveton College and Deakin University partnership has provided positive experiences for pre-service teachers, mentor teachers and the wider school community.

An induction to the school and the placement experience is overseen by Doveton College Principal, Debra Gibson, and the school's Preservice Teacher Program Coordinator, Sean Hewitt. 

The school works in consultation with Deakin University Site Director Helen Weston, who visits regularly for planning, engagement and to provide feedback.

'What we do in this TAPP has been largely thanks to Helen's presence, effort and interest,' Sean said. 

The program offers pre-service teachers:

  • reflection sessions against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST), known as 'assessment circles'
  • access to the latest research and academic expertise
  • school-based research opportunities, aligned to school priorities
  • ongoing feedback, reflection and identification of areas of further development to ensure pre-service teachers achieve their practice goals
  • support from a mentor teacher
  • the opportunity to build links between theory learnt at university and practice during placement.

Among the opportunities on offer for pre-service teachers is the chance to work with allied health support staff and psychologists through the National Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS) initiative. 

Deakin selects high-performing pre-service teachers for the NETDS program to prepare them to work in disadvantaged and diverse settings.

Sean said working with skilled and knowledgeable practitioners helped pre-service teachers to broaden their understanding of quality teaching practices, and better understand how to support students impacted by adversity, while also building up their own resilience as teachers.

Mentoring pre-service teachers

For Doveton College, high-quality mentoring is a key component of the TAPP partnership.

At the school, mentors participate in learning sessions with pre-service teachers, sharing information and advice on issues including:

  • supporting reflective practice and identity development, using evidence-based reflection processes
  • opportunities to receive constructive feedback
  • tracking how pre-service teachers are meeting the APST
  • identifying gaps in pre-service teacher experience and providing opportunities to fill these gaps
  • pre-service teacher involvement in Professional Learning Communities
  • contributing to moderating student work in reading, writing and numeracy
  • designing and undertaking Action Research and adopting a cycle of inquiry
  • measuring the impact of pre-service teachers on student learning.

The mentoring sessions and professional development provide feedback to pre-service teachers about their development and progress, ensuring they are moving towards meeting the APST.

Find out more

For more information, refer to the TAPPs web page.

For further enquires, contact Denise Hilliger, Senior Policy and Project Officer, Quality Teacher Branch, Performance Division, by email: denise.hilliger@education.vic.gov.au