How could initial teacher education programmes in New Zealand accommodate and assist educational change?
Currently the New Zealand school system is undergoing changes as it introduces a new national curriculum. The New Zealand Curriculum is focussed on outcomes and provides the underlying philosophy, guidelines and framework for schools to design and review their curriculum. In addition, teachers need to incorporate several other Ministry initiatives such as Schools Plus, Ka Hikitea – Managing for Success – the Maori Education Strategy from 2008 to 2012 and The Pasifika Education Plan, 2006-2010. For all of these initiatives, teachers need to keep what is best for the student at the forefront of their teaching and decision-making. Initial teacher education programmes need to respond to these initiatives, in terms of overarching philosophy, course structure and practical applications in courses. We have used the teacher education for the future project to help us identify key aspects of our initial teacher education programmes that need attention. This project is very timely in that it informs our programme review processes. We surveyed multiple stakeholders who were teachers, student teachers and teacher educators. Participants were asked to rank the aims of education and their preferred future focus for initial teacher education programmes. The implications for the design and facilitation of our initial teacher education courses are discussed.