Preparing pre-service teachers for Flexible Learning Programs: A pilot study

Year: 2019

Author: Thomas, Jeffrey, Coleman, Bianca, Herrlander, Birgerson, Ebba

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There are more than 900 Flexible Learning Programs (FLPs) in Australia and over 70,000 young people are engaged with alternative education providers (te Riele, 2014). FLPs provide inclusive educational pathways for young people who have experienced failure and/or exclusion from mainstream schooling with a focus on relational pedagogy and trauma-informed teaching practice. Currently, there is no official training pathway or qualification required of teachers for working in FLP settings. This causes a significant program for both new teachers who wish to work in this area and for employers who have no way of knowing whether a new teacher has the appropriate skills or knowledge to teach in this alternative context. To address this problem, we piloted a program designed to prepare Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students for teaching in an FLP setting in Tasmania. In this presentation, we discuss the aims and design of the program. Drawing on our qualitative evaluation of the program (via semi-structured interviews with the FLP leadership and relevant teaching staff and the two participating ITE students), we explore the outcomes of the program and its success in shaping ITE students’ perceptions of FLPs and alternative education and for developing their theoretical knowledge and practical competencies for teaching in FLP settings.


Te Riele, K. (2014). Putting the jigsaw together: Flexible learning programs in Australia. Final report. Melbourne: The Victoria Institute for Education, Diversity and Lifelong Learning.