I am scared to graduate ..and have considered studying something else due to the type of behaviour I have witnessed on my placement [in classrooms]. I don't feel equipped enough to handle difficult behaviour (Student feedback from pilot study)
The main aim of the Monash Education Academy is to enhance the quality of education offered by the university, through an emphasis on innovative and inclusive practice directed by student-centred learning, and engaging with industry (Focus Education Agenda, 2018-2020 [FEA, 2018]). One way to achieve this is by listening to stakeholder feedback and within reason make required changes to suit perceived learning and teaching needs in unit offerings. This project addresses challenges outlined by students and educators involved in EDF5016 Inclusive Teaching offered as a core unit in the Master of Teaching course. The first challenge to be addressed was located in the 2018 Student Evaluation of Teaching Unit (SETU, EDF5016), where preservice teachers have shown concern when working with students displaying challenging behaviours, similar to the opening comment. This concern is outlined in current literature, which indicates preservice teachers are stressed, and lack confidence and knowledge when presented with managing challenging behaviour in classrooms
(Stroud, 2017). Challenging student behaviour in classrooms is a major factor contributing to low retention and the attrition of graduate teachers from the field, it is well documented that nearly half of recently graduated teachers leave the profession during the first five years of service, and 30% do not enter the teaching profession at all (Buchanan, Prescott, Schuck, Aubusson, & Louviere, 2013). There is an urgent need to support preservice teachers and “produce innovative solutions to the problem” (FEA, 2018, p.10). The second stakeholder group targeted are educators teaching into the unit, who have indicated that they do not necessarily have the experience or expertise in inclusive education environments and do not feel fully prepared to teach preservice teachers specifically when discussing students in classrooms displaying challenging and disruptive behaviours. There is an urgent need to be innovative and ameliorate these learning and teaching challenges. The questions to be examined in this project include: Are there better opportunities to enhance pedagogical practices when drawing on the skills of an experienced co-teacher to upskill students and tutors understanding of working in school classrooms with students displaying challenging behaviour? What are the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating a co-teacher as a tutor into the unit when addressing preservice teachers and tutors needs in relation to students displaying challenging and disruptive behaviour school classrooms?