There is more to internships than simply immersing yourself in your chosen industry.
Griffith University School of Education and Professional Studies academics Professor Glenn Finger and Dr Paula Jervis-Tracey recently published research in a book titled Teacher Education: Innovation, Intervention and Impact, about the importance of internships in the education industry by designing a conceptual framework that can be adopted by other universities looking to introduce internships.
Each year more than 200 Griffith teaching students take part in an internship, with approximately 90 per cent of students gaining work in schools after graduating.
This particular research is focused on the Education Internship and strengthening the connections between university and professional learning in schools.
Professor Finger said improving the capability of teachers was crucial to lifting student outcomes and public confidence in teachers.
The Education Internship model at Griffith develops those capabilities needed to be ready to enter the workforce after graduating.
“The Griffith Education Internship, which had its genesis more than 21 years ago, has been scaled up over time to become a mandatory, capstone, advanced professional experience course for all students undertaking the Bachelor of Education (Primary) at Griffith,” Professor Finger said.
Danielle Nash, who graduated in June 2016 with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) took part in her internship at Springwood Central State School and is now employed there.
“The internship was phenomenal and was invaluable especially given I now have full time work straight after graduating,” she said.
Dr Jervis-Tracey said education students developed their professional point of difference during an internship.
“It enables them to make the shift from being a ‘prac student’ to a ‘co-teacher’,” she said.
“Initial teacher education sets the foundation for a high-quality teaching workforce and the education internship is crucial to this.”
For Professor Finger and Dr Jervis-Tracey, it is the strong respectful, professional university partnerships with schools and the co-design of the internship that is the key to the success of internships.
“We have superb relationships with school principals, deputy principals, school coordinators, and mentor teachers, all of whom contribute to the ongoing development and success of our pre-service teachers,” concluded Professor Finger.