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J. Burke, A. Goriss-Hunter

University of Ballarat (AUSTRALIA)
This paper describes an initiative that was designed to forge strong connections between Pre-Service Teachers (PSTs) at the University of Ballarat, a regional university in Victoria, Australia and students and teachers at a local regional Secondary College (students aged 12-18). A group of around 150 year nine (13-14 year old) students took part in a day of learning activities at the university that were organised and conducted by second year PSTs as part of their teacher education program.
This initiative aimed to provide the secondary students with a range of learning experiences at the university, thus allowing them to consider University study as a future option while contributing to their school-based learning program. At the same time, the PSTs were able to engage in an authentic teaching experience and to put theory from their teacher education course into practice.

In this paper, some of the reflections from the PSTs, that describe what they learnt from the experience, are discussed. Most of the PSTs valued the opportunity to engage in a scaffolded, authentic teaching experience as preparation for their initial school placements. Overall, the initiative seemed to have contributed to the learning of the PSTs in powerful ways.