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Postgraduate teaching course doubles in size

Tuesday 17 March 2015 1:31pm

MTL class image
The students in last year's Master of Teaching and Learning programme.

The recently introduced postgraduate Master of Teaching and Learning (MTchgLn) programme has doubled in size because it meets the demands of graduate students and the education sector, staff say.

Enrolments for the College of Education’s MTchgLn more than doubled from 26 students in 2014 (its pilot year) to 60 this year.

Course coordinator Dr Steven Sexton said the MTchgLn appealed to graduates as it enabled them to teach in their specialist area after a year’s intensive training, and gain a sought-after master’s level qualification.

The relevance of the course has been underscored by the high employment rate of the 16 secondary and 10 primary teachers who completed the 2014 programme: 22 former students from the cohort are already teaching in schools nationwide.

The programme’s balance of both classroom experience and teaching theory was also a drawcard; students spent almost half of their year (112 days) on placement in schools with 114 days dedicated to theoretical and practical studies at the College’s Dunedin campus. Students are not required to submit a dissertation to gain their master’s level qualification. There are three teaching related research components embedded into the programme to prepare the student teachers for what they will be doing as teachers in the classroom

This year’s intake will continue to meet employment demands in the education sector by adding to the expertise already in schools in core subjects, and areas that are generally hard to staff due to specialist knowledge and ability requirements, Dr Sexton said.

Students who have graduate qualifications in Physics, Food Technology, Hard Materials Technology, Maths, and Chinese fall in to the latter category, he said.

“There is a strong chance these students will be snapped up while they are still on the programme, with some receiving multiple offers from schools nationwide.”

The strong programme growth was achieved in tandem with local schools.

“We have 11 secondary partner schools and 10 primary partner schools this year. Unfortunately, we had to decline the offer from five potential partner schools as there were more offers to support student teachers than there were student teachers. [The College of Education] will certainly continue to achieve growth with the programme and work with more schools. The feedback we have had about students is more than encouraging.”

With the introduction of the MTchgLn, the University of Otago College of Education (jointly with Waikato) was the first in Aotearoa New Zealand to implement a postgraduate level qualification at the masters level for initial teacher education leading to teacher registration.