Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents 18 TEACHER APRIL 2011
AustraLearn, which creates special custom
programs in all fields of study for US and
Canadian universities and regularly places
teaching interns in Australian and New
'Our goal is to listen to the needs of the
US universities' teaching departments and
international education offices so we can
create customised internship programs that
integrate with their curricula,' says Barbara
West, manager of internship programs. 'We
handle all arrangements for the internship
placements, from housing to cultu ral educa-
tion opportunities to monitoring of student
AustraLearn's role is to bring together
key stakeholders -- North American
students, university academic depart-
ments and overseas partner schools -- for
cross-cultural learning opportunities,
West explains. In the past two years, Aus-
traLearn has matched teaching interns in
Sydney schools including Randwick Public
School and Rozelle Public School, as well
as Rose Park Primary School in Adelaide.
The teaching internships are mutually
beneficial, West says. Students are exposed
to another country's culture and school
system so they can learn different instruc-
tional methods, curriculum approaches
and behavioural management techniques.
Schools also get an extra set of helping
hands, as well as the excitement of a new
person in the classroom with different cul-
tural perspectives to share with students.
'The hope going forward is that strong
partnerships will evolve between the US
teaching programs and local Australian
schools,' West says, 'so we can foster more
intercultural literacy in teacher education.'
Pros and cons to international
Understandably, Australian schools want
to encourage their workforce of the futu re
by making Australian students a priority
when it comes to practicum placements.
This, coupled with the per diems universi-
ties pay local schools to take student teach-
ers, makes it a challenging environment to
KELSEY SMITH, NOW IN HER FINAL YEAR AT UNIVERSITY AND
ANTICIPATING HER PRACTICUM IN THE NORTHERN SPRING, WAS
REQUIRED TO KEEP A JOURNAL DURING HER AUSTRALIAN INTERNSHIP.
IN IT, SHE DESCRIBES THE POWER OF A MULTICULTURAL EXCHANGE.
HERE ARE SOME EXTRACTS.
Week 2 Got the opportunity to go to a New South Wales Teachers
Federation meeting for new teachers . I learned about planning and how new
teachers get certified and receive accreditation. I also learned that homework
is not mandatory at Rozelle. Students get it on Monday and most turn it
in on Friday, but there is no penalty for not doing it. It's more relaxed and
less crammed with homework and standards that must be achieved than in
American public schools.
Week 9 Thursday was the Multicultural Expo and it was such a
great day. I was very nervous because all of the parents would be there and
all of the information the children had learned about America was taught
by me. We had everyone bring in food and we ended up with so much! The
parents came into the classroom around 9:30am and the students sang the
'Fifty Nifty United States' song along with telling them some information
they had learned thus far about the different states and traditions we have.
The students all put a lot of work into Thursday and it turned out great!
Week 10 It's my last week at Rozelle Public School! I truly cannot
believe that 10 weeks have already flown by. I have had the most amazing
time at Rozelle and in Australia. I can definitely say that this has been
one of the most amazing life experiences I have had thus far. My supervisor
has helped me tremendously with everything I have wanted to do, given me
supportive feedback, and let me teach lots of lessons . There are never enough
opportunities to practis e teaching and this has only added more and more to
my skill level.
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