Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 36, Issue 1 February 2008 , pages 5 – 18
This paper reflects on a new pre-service teacher education initiative, Classmates. Classmates is a collaboration between the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and the New South Wales Department of Education and Training (DET), South Western Sydney Region. Classmates aims to prepare pre-service teachers to work in challenging, hard-to-staff schools. These contexts typically have socially disadvantaged populations and annually experience teacher shortages and high teacher turnover, particularly amongst beginning and early career teachers.
Classmates seeks to produce beginning teachers who are highly prepared for, confident and mentally and emotionally equipped to work in such environments. This discussion focuses on some of the positive attributes about the initiative, particularly its practicum structure; its nurturing of pre-service teachers to work in challenging contexts; and its strong focus on networking and development of ongoing support structures.