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University finds most PE teacher graduates in employment

University finds most physical education teacher graduates in paid employment

August 24, 2014

A University of Canterbury survey has found nearly all their physical education teacher graduates from the last three years are in paid employment.

Education lecturer and world croquet champion Dr Jenny Clarke says the University of Canterbury physical education graduates from the last years (2011 to 2013) were contacted through social media to find out about their current employment.

``We found 97 percent were in paid employment and 42 percent of the total number contacted reported having teaching jobs in Canterbury and a further 29 percent are teaching elsewhere in New Zealand. Six percent are teaching overseas.

``Most graduates were teaching in physical education but others were teaching maths, English or Te Reo as well. Of those in classroom teaching roles, nearly a third are teaching in subject areas other than physical education.

``A key point is that programme not only trains students to be able to teach physical education up to senior secondary school level, but they also have the opportunity to train to teach health and outdoor education up to senior level, plus they can train to teach another academic subject up to senior level.

``We are the only tertiary institution producing teachers trained in physical education and other subjects. A major point here is the growth of health education in schools. The flexibility of our students with physical education and other subjects is a strength of our programme, but also provides variety for a teacher which is a positive for their careers. Teaching just physical education for a whole career may not sustain the motivation of the teacher,’’ Dr Clarke says.

The Bachelor of Education (physical education) is a four year programme in which students undertake five teaching placements over their studies, experiencing placements in a primary or intermediate school, an area school, and in Christchurch as well as elsewhere in New Zealand.

Some students have also taken the opportunity to undertake the first half of their year four teaching placements in Rarotonga. This enables students to immerse themselves in a less familiar culture while still delivering the New Zealand curriculum.


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