Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 17
For Toni Duchatelier, a student teacher from
North Carolina in the United States, an
upcoming internship in a Sydney school rep-
resents an incredible professional opportu-
nity to both educate and be educated on the
contrasts of the Australian and US systems.
Duchatelier is part of a group of 24
American students from Queens University
of Charlotte, North Carolina, arriving in
Australia in May for six-week internships in
Sydney primary and secondary classrooms.
The matches for the unpaid internships,
arranged by the international education
organisation AustraLearn, are part of the
prestigious Queens Teaching Fellows Pro -
gram and will provide academic credit and
a focus on exploring a larger world beyond
classrooms in the US.
'I'm extremely excited because I've never
been outside of the country, so this is big
to me,' says Duchatelier, a third-year under-
graduate who aspires to teach history in sec-
ondary schools. 'I want to see how a school
system works in another country so I can
apply this in my classroom. I also want to see
the different cultural aspects and the history
of the land, because I'm always interested in
the back story of the place I'm going.'
Duchatelier plans to bring her personal
spark to her Sydney internship in part
by using theatrical teaching style, which
she believes brings history lessons to life.
'Everyone teaches differently,' she says. 'You
see what you like and put it into your little
book. By the time you get into the class-
room, you have your own ideas of how you
want to teach.'
Internationalisation: the key to
globally aware teachers
Queens has sent individual teaching stu-
dents to Australia before, but the group of
24 arriving in May will be the inaugural
cohort from the program, with each suc-
cessive class of third-year undergraduates
to follow annually, says Jennifer Collins,
assistant professor of education and direc-
tor of the teaching fellows program. Collins
expects to witness many life lessons learned
as her students push outside their comfort
zones to get to know people in another
country, experience different customs, find
their way in unfamiliar locations and chal-
lenge taste buds with new foods.
'I feel these 24 students are very fortu-
nate,' Collins says. 'Teachers need to be
flexible creatu res. Nothing is static in edu-
cation, ever. You've got one curriculum one
day, and the next day the principal comes in,
and the emphasis might change. Flexibility
is a skill that has to be mastered, and this is
a great opportunity to do so.'
Each year, the North Carolina Teach-
ing Fellows Program selects about 500
outstanding high school seniors to receive
four-year scholarships to attend one of the
state's 17 universities, 12 public and five
private. In return, graduates agree to teach
for four years in a North Carolina pub-
lic school. The program typically attracts
applicants from the top seven per cent of
their high school graduating classes and
awards scholarships after a rigorous appli-
cation process. 'From the time they came in
as an undergraduate, they've been working
in schools,' Collins says. 'By the third year
of their undergraduate degree, they're in the
midst of their methods classes. Instead of
observing, they've been involved.'
Internationalisation is a major focus at
Queens, where 90 per cent of students study
or intern abroad with the help of univer-
sity stipends. At the end of their Australian
internships, the Queens teaching students
are given assignments to compare the posi-
tives and negatives of the two educational
systems. 'The US educational system is so
different from anywhere else in the world,'
Collins says. 'I think it will be interesting
for them to see how another system works,
and what are the benefits.'
Jeremy Tucker, one of just a few of the
Australia-bound students who has travelled
outside the US, chose the Queens program
in large part because it included a teaching
experience in Australia.
Tucker has travelled to Europe, Canada
and Hondu ras, and knows firsthand how
seeing other places in the world -- especially
locations of historical significance -- tie
directly back to teaching. 'You can share
that with your students,' he says.
Tucker is hopeful his six weeks in an
Australian school and home-stay arrange-
ment will give him more insight into the cul-
tu re than he would get as a tourist. 'We'll
get to be with the kids more and see how
they learn and what they do,' he says. 'I just
think we'll experience their culture more.'
In-country expertise vital in
Planning for the Queens teaching intern-
ships in Australian got under way about
two years ago when the university contacted
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