Every year, Broncos majoring in education have the opportunity to head to Auckland, New Zealand to complete a portion of their student teaching internship requirement. The experience gives pre-service teachers, like Nina Amicarelli, a senior majoring in elementary education, a chance to prepare for their own classroom while expanding their idea of what classrooms can look like.
Auckland is the most populated city in New Zealand and is known as the most diverse and cosmopolitan city in the country. Placed in schools around the metro area, students observe details of organization and management specific to their class and school and gain understanding as to how teachers in New Zealand get to know children, establish routines, and determine individual needs. While there, the future educators attend and take part in professional team meetings and whole staff curriculum development meetings, develop the use of long and short term planning systems that facilitate extended periods of classroom teaching control, and teach the total class program for at least five consecutive days. Students participating in the program also spend eight weeks student teaching in a Michigan school.
Amicarelli has learned a lot about differentiating lessons from the teachers she’s working with. She likes the way the teachers are able to create their own lessons that both align to standards and individualize the curriculum for each student. She also appreciates the emphasis New Zealand teachers put on non-academic skills, like student independence, and strongly recommends the experience to others.
“Being placed in a different culture has given me a new perspective and experiencing a new education system has allowed me to gain a better understanding of how I want my classroom to look and how I want to teach. Seeing how children from a different country learn and value their own independence is truly inspiring.”
The program is available during either the spring or summer II term. For more information about the program, please visit the Teaching Internship in New Zealand webpage.