Pre-service Teachers “At Risk”
A Supervising Teacher may identify a pre-service teacher as being “at risk” of failing a placement. This judgement would usually happen if the pre-service teacher was not responding to feedback or demonstrating adequate progress towards meeting the expectations for a particular placement.
An “At Risk” meeting is held in these circumstances. The meeting is attended by the Supervising Teacher, the pre-service teacher, the University Coordinator and the Site Coordinator (where possible). At the meeting, an “At Risk” form is completed and a “Support Plan” is put into place to address the concerns that have been raised.
This short video explains the way an “at risk” meeting is conducted by a University Coordinator.
The main purpose of the form is to formally record that a pre-service teacher is currently “At risk” of failing a placement by recording the reasons for this assessment judgement. Dates for reviewing whether the identified concerns have been met are set and recorded on this form (See Column 3). The pre-service teacher must have a minimum of three placement days to address the issues requiring corrective action.
The outcome of an “at risk” process can be either:
(a) the pre-service teacher addresses the concerns and progresses to successfully complete the placement
(b) the pre-service teacher is withdrawn from the placement on the basis of failing to meet the expected level of performance as outlined in the Guide to Making Judgements in the Information and Guidelines Booklet.
An essential part of an “at risk” meeting is the development of strategies to address the identified concerns and support the pre-service teacher’s progress for the remainder of the placement. These strategies should be outlined on a copy of the Support Plan template.
The completed template should outline suggested strategies for improving the pre-service teacher’s practice within the timeframes outlined on the “At-risk” form. The Support Plan encourages the pre-service teacher to reflect on his/her progress and the corrective actions that have been taken to address the identified issues. The pre-service teacher should complete the final column on the template prior to the scheduled review meeting.
The “at risk” process often involves having difficult conversations with pre-service teachers. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) has produced a professional learning package for supervising teachers that includes strategies for giving feedback and managing difficult conversations that you may find helpful. You can access the learning package through the link provided. The section on feedback is in the second module in the package called “Practice Analysis”.
A Model of an “At Risk” Meeting
The video has been produced to model the process of conducting an “at risk” meeting. While the examples are role plays and do not involve real pre-service teachers or supervising teachers involved in the “at risk” process, they provide some guidelines about the role that site coordinators and supervising teachers play in the process for conducting a clear, fair and productive meeting. As you view the video, you might consider the following reflection questions:
- why is it important to provide clear examples of the concerns leading to the decision to place the pre-service teacher at risk?
- why is the Site Coordinator’s participation a valued feature of an effective “at risk” meeting?
- What would you expect of a University Coordinator if your pre-service teacher was struggling to meet your expectations?