Program gives pre-service teachers valuable experience working with diverse communities


Western Sydney University's School of Education is joining with leading community agencies such as the Australian Red Cross to give pre-service teachers the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience working on a wide range of community projects.

The School recently brought together representatives from various agencies and community-based services across Sydney as part of a workshop to discuss its innovative 'Community Leadership' program.

Dr Criss Jones Diaz, Senior Lecturer in Diversity Studies and Languages Education at the University, says the program sees pre-service teachers work with organisations to develop a project or a resource that helps promote equity and diversity.

Along with the Red Cross, other agencies and family support services include pre-schools, long-day care centres, community language schools, and local council groups.

Examples of projects include the development of a promotional video and a specialised program tailored to support children's interaction between a special purpose and public schools.

"Many of the pre-service teachers are multilingual and can use their cultural and linguistic skills to develop projects that are particularly relevant to our diverse communities," says Dr Jones Diaz.

"It's a reciprocal partnership, that gives our students an authentic learning experience, where they can develop the leadership skills that are particularly relevant for working with people from a wide variety of social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

"Agencies also have the benefit of extra resources that help support their valuable work in the community.

"Understanding difference and diversity is crucial to effective teaching in contemporary Australia."

Dr Jones Diaz says the School is keen to hear from other agencies and community-based organisations that may wish to participate in the program.

For further information contact Doctor Criss Jones Diaz on (02) 9772 6431 or


5 July 2016

Tanya Patterson - Media Officer