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Lisa Zilberpriver 
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The University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education (MGSE) has launched a new course that offers students the chance to gain a world-class clinical teaching degree while working part time.

The program will see candidates working at schools over three years in paid internships, all the while taking academic subjects. Completing students will graduate with a Master of Teaching (Secondary) Internship.

“This new course will open the door for many aspiring teachers who want to join the profession using our unique clinical approach, but can’t afford to stop working while they study,” said the University’s Dean of Education, Professor Field Rickards.

The MGSE is not alone in using the internship model to address the difficulty of balancing the desire to study with the need to earn an income.

“We have implemented industry-engaged courses like this one across the University of Melbourne as part of our strategy to be responsive both to the needs of students and the needs of the sectors in which they will ultimately seek employment,” said University Acting Vice Chancellor Margaret Sheil.

“It has proven to be a very successful approach in Medicine and other faculties, and I am confident the same will be true in this case.”

Applicants will need to complete a rigorous selection process that includes assessments of their literacy and numeracy ability, their aptitude for teaching, and a careful matching process that connects them with schools that have vacancies, typically in hard-to-staff subject areas such as maths, science, and languages.

“This program will help address the nation’s lack of clinically-trained teachers, particularly in those regions and subjects where we know there are shortages of teachers,” Professor Rickards said.

Principal of Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School Dr Heather Schnagl has welcomed the new course.

“This program provides a pathway for highly experienced professionals and leaders in other careers to bring their expertise to teaching without having to take significant time out of the workforce, which is often not possible.

“They will bring amazing skills, expertise and experience to their teaching in schools,” she said.

“It also provides a way for those who have been teaching in the tertiary sector to bring their skills to schools and gain their teaching qualification (as currently they are not eligible for registration).”

Mother of two young children Nina Wei said the Master in Teaching (Secondary) by Internship would have been the perfect solution to the challenges her family faced when she left her job in an Australian mining company to fulfil her dream of becoming a teacher.

“With university tuition, my husband’s university loan, a mortgage and two children in full time childcare, studying for two years full time was a lot to ask, financially,” she said.

“If this opportunity had been available I would have been able to finish my degree earlier.

Candidates accepted into the first cohort of the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Internship will commence their studies in November 2014 and continue through to the start of the new school year in 2015, where they will then start teaching under the mentorship of experienced school staff and with extensive support from the University over the next three years.

“A clinical teaching degree is one that develops in teachers the knowledge to understand the needs of each individual learner and then utilise a wide range of strategies that are informed by research to then apply evidence-based interventions,” Professor Rickards explained.

“MGSE’s focus on clinical teaching is a key factor in our success in national and world rankings.”

More about the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Internship: www.education.unimelb....