Using mentored learning to support pre-service teachers in child protection

Year: 2003

Author: McCallum, Faye

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The issues and problems associated within a specific context where pre-service teachers were found to be ill prepared to fulfil part of their teaching responsibilities is explored. The issues arose out of a review of Mandatory Notification Training, which aims to prepare mandated notifiers to report incidences of suspected child abuse and neglect to Child Protective Services. The review highlighted factors that inhibited pre-service teachers to fulfil the legal mandate. These focussed on conceptual understanding of content, and connections between learning and personal experiences. It was found that the training was based on assumptions about knowledge, learning, and teaching that differed from the assumptions underlying prevailing practice. This raises the following questions: Are the assumptions of existing training actually consistent with identifying and reporting practices? What content and processes of preparing pre-service teachers to report are necessary to move them towards confident practice? Mentored learning was adopted as a strategy that explored and tested these assumptions. An evaluation of pre-service teachers' knowledge, understanding and confidence to report suspected child abuse and neglect prior to graduation indicated that this approach enabled them to acquire more effective skills and familiarity with the mandated role.