Desert school welcomes Murdoch’s pre-service teachers

November 29, 2016

Burringurrah School welcomes Murdoch Uni pre-service teachersPacking sunburn cream and some sturdy boots were top priorities for a group of Murdoch University’s pre-service teachers heading out on a recent classroom placement.

Third-year students Megan Bragg, Brittany Kirk and Hannah Napier from Murdoch University’s School of Education were invited to spend two weeks working at Burringurrah Remote Community School (RCS).

With only around 100 people living in this remote Aboriginal community at the foot of Mount Augustus, the education students had the chance to learn first-hand about a very different way of life and schooling.

“There was no shop or petrol station, and so we had to shop in Carnarvon for supplies to last us for the two week stay in Burringurrah,” Megan said.

“There was no wireless internet in the school and so we had to use school computers for internet access, otherwise we had to sit on the veranda at back of the Centrelink building to use the wifi.”

Megan said it was an eye opening experience to see how different education could be in remote areas.

“Brittany and I were placed in the Kindergarten to Year Two class, and every day we would have different students in the classroom,” she said.

“The kids were just beautiful, but were all at completely different levels. It was challenging to cater for each student at an individual level and find ways to reteach concepts while keeping everybody engaged.

“The focus was on numeracy and literacy but we also had a few cooking, science and art lessons, and we would take the kids to cool down in the pool at the end of the day.”

Ending the school day with a swim is essential at Burringurrah Remote Community School

Mrs Lorraine Jacob, Head of Primary Mathematics, School of Education, Murdoch University  communicated  with the mentor teachers in order to clarify the mathematics and literacy teaching focus they intended for their students.  This information was passed onto the pre service teachers and who were able to research and plan for that learning focus.  This assisted with their confidence  and effectiveness in the school.

Megan, Brittany and Hannah recently completed their third year of a Bachelor of Education at Murdoch University, and their two weeks in Burringurrah was part of a compulsory professional experience unit.

Associate Dean of Engagement for Murdoch’s School of Education, Dr Sue Ledger, said that rural placements students with a unique opportunity before their first job as a teacher.

“Our students are placed in schools all around Western Australia to give them a depth of experience in teaching,” she said.

“As well as Burringurrah, our students had opportunities to work in other country schools such as Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra, Broome and Newman.”

“By the time our students graduate, they are completely prepared for the classroom, with a range of experiences under their belt.”

Burringurrah RCS is considering inviting another group of Murdoch students to the school in 2017.

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