Generally, only people who have completed a pre-service training program can be employed as a teacher in Australian schools.
Initial teacher education is typically conducted at universities through four years study of a four year undergraduate teaching degree. A teaching qualification can also be obtained through post-graduate study following completion of a first degree.
Study for teacher education will usually include a combination of teaching practice and subject matter knowledge. Students can train in early childhood education, primary or secondary years as well as a range of specialisations such as specific subjects or special education.
Pre-service teachers have the opportunity to gain professional experience during the practicum component (professional practice) of their course, where they teach in schools under the supervision of a mentor teacher.
Pre-service teacher education courses must now meet standards developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). Two of these standards relate to Indigenous perspectives in curriculum and the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
In addition to entry qualifications such as a sufficiently high Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) score, entrants to teacher education require high levels of literacy and numeracy skills.
Structured support is also often provided to graduate teachers as part of school induction processes, which are designed to smooth the transition into full-time teaching.
The MATSITI Project Team are working closely with the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE) and other partners to conduct research aimed at improving the retention and graduation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers.