Baptists link up with Pentecostals to train teachers

Morling College in Sydney and Perth and Christian Heritage College (CHC) in Brisbane are partnering to train teachers, as Australia faces a teacher shortage with baby boomers retiring.

Christian teachers are especially in demand.

The established CHC Initial Teacher Education model – where education students are employed part-time as trainees in a Christian school while completing their studies – has a high rating from education students on ComparED, a government-funded site that compiles student surveys. The partnership with Morling makes the model available across NSW, WA and the ACT.

CHC has a Pentecostal affiliation through the International Network of Churches (formerly Christian Outreach Centre – COC), and Morling is the Baptist theological college for NSW, WA and the ACT.

Bachelor of Education courses will be offered for school leavers and Master of Teaching courses for those with relevant undergraduate degrees and career changers. Both degrees will prepare students for primary and secondary teaching.

“This is an exciting prospect for us, as it is very cost-effective for students who access Commonwealth Assisted Places available through CHC, enabling a degree at minimal cost,” Dr John Collier, Dean of Education at Morling College, tells Eternity.

“It is also attractive to schools, occasioning no costs to them beyond the normal supervision of prac teachers.”

The model avoids some of the difficulties trainee teachers faced in the past.

“Our venture responds to the research, which points out historic pitfalls in teacher training: lack of sufficient time in schools and lack of effective mentoring and supervision,” Collier adds. “Hence, our online lecture delivery will be supplemented by embedding teacher trainees in schools and providing face-to-face enrichment and grounding.”

One special feature of the model will be in providing a Christian perspective. When Eternity interviewed Collier in his previous role as head of St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney, he was concerned for the Christian formation of his staff.

“Secular providers of teacher education do not and, in terms of their charter, cannot equip teacher trainees to think Christianly about their mission and craft as Christian teachers. This is a gap of which I was very aware in my 31 years as a school principal, a gap I know is of concern to many colleagues in school leadership. There is a critical need to find and prepare entrants to the profession who are apt to teach through a Christian prism.”

The Initial Teacher Education model will be available through Morling from the start of 2023.