Teaching across borders

Lucy with friends in snow in Canada

Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity to make new friends, explore different cultures and add to your CV, all in the name of study! If you’re studying to become a teacher, there are even more reasons you should explore the opportunity.

If you want to satisfy your wanderlust while studying to become a teacher, there are plenty of programs for you to explore. From our popular university-wide study abroad and exchange program, to completing practical teaching placements in regional, rural and remote schools as well as in schools in Singapore, Thailand and China, you can enjoy the trip of a lifetime while getting experience teaching students from different languages, cultures and backgrounds.

One of our newest study abroad opportunities is the Teaching Across Borders Program. We chatted with Lucy, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Education with a major in Primary Teaching, to find out how her experience of the Teaching Across Borders Program in Alberta, Canada challenged, changed and ultimately inspired her to become the teacher she dreams of being.

“My experience on exchange was full of many learning opportunities that I will remember for the rest of my life and which will influence who I become as a teacher."


Swapping the classroom for the museum, the Canadian woods and beyond

When we think of the standard learning environment, we often think about a classroom. By putting herself forward for the Teaching Across Borders Program, Lucy found herself in a range of learning environments on the other side of the world, both indoors and outdoors.

“During the second week of the university exchange, we had the opportunity to go on a practicum placement with the Calgary Campus Open Minds (CCOM) program. CCOM is comprised of a series of classrooms in 14 alternate learning environments including the Calgary Zoo, Glenbow Museum, TELUS Spark Science Centre, City Hall, and Jubilee Auditorium.

“Each morning, the students had scheduled learning where they went into one of the exhibits with of the Museum staff. The activities related to a topic their class teacher had chosen to relate back to their classroom learning.

“Museum school was an amazing experience, seeing different teaching practices in action have given me many ideas that can be taken into my own teaching practices. I loved that the students were given some time to choose for themselves but also had a specific task that had to be achieved in that time.

“I also liked that the students were given time to reflect on the things they were learning, and that what they were learning in the museum would be taken back and integrated into their classroom learning as well. It made the experience of being at the museum more meaningful because it didn’t end when they left the site.

Teaching students to find joy in learning

“Our final days with the University of Calgary were spent at the BioGeoSciece Institute (BGSI) in Kananaskis. The learning focus for these students was on how plants survive winter. The students were there for three days and a large part of their activities were outside.

“For one of the activities, the students were taken out into the woods and taught about the plants they were seeing and the properties they had that helped them survive the Canadian winter. They were then given scavenger hunts to look for certain characteristics in the plants and for signs of animal life.

“At points when the students were outside, they often didn’t realise they were learning. They were using observation and critical thinking skills without realising it and forming questions that lead to learning opportunities when they were back in the classroom.

“I think this is a great way for students to learn; not only did it get them outside, but they were interested in what they were doing. It is something that I will try to incorporate into my own teaching in the future.

“It really taught me how beneficial it can be to encourage students in their scientific curiosity when they are young and how much more interesting the process can become when they aren’t thinking about the science as a series of linear tasks, but rather as a way to find answers to their questions, and questions to their answers.”

New environment, new perspectives

Learning away from your home country, you’re bound to encounter new ways of thinking, making it an awesome way to gain new perspectives and skills.

“I learned a lot from this experience, not just in the practicum experiences but in being immersed in a new environment and experiencing different learning styles. Sitting in on a week of lectures at the university and discovering how similar Canada and Australia are, but still seeing distinct differences in the way some things are done, was fascinating.

“My experiences with the learning environments at the CCOM and BGSI sites reminded me about the parts of learning I loved most as a child and inspired me to incorporate those learning styles and teaching methods into my future teaching. It was an experience I’ll never forget and the things I have learned will have a positive influence on the teacher I will become.”

To find out more about the exciting opportunities in teaching and education, explore a teaching degree at Murdoch

Posted on:

14 Mar 2019

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