Developing a Signature Pedagogy and Integrated Support Model for First-Year Teacher Education Students Studying at a Regional University

Ingrid Harrington, Robert Whannell, Tim Bartlett-Taylor


The Australian regional university where this pilot study was completed is confronted with a number of demographic factors that challenge the delivery of effective student support and engagement. In 2020, the teacher education student cohort comprised of approximately 5,100 students, with 82.6% 25 years of age or older, 20.3% identified as having a low SES background, 43.7% being first-in-family, and 96.1% studying off-campus. Student demographic characteristics such as these are commonly cited as factors that contribute to increased challenge in completing tertiary study (Grebennikov & Shah, 2012; Li & Carroll, 2020). The attrition rate for commencing students for the period from 2010 to 2018 ranged between 24.6% and 36.2%. While these demographic characteristics are largely objective in character and may not be able to be addressed by university-based intervention, the nature and quality of the learning environment students’ experience is able to provide the best opportunity for them to successfully complete their tertiary study endeavours, despite their personal context and backgrounds. One factor that has been identified as critical to the success of commencing students, particularly those from non-traditional backgrounds, is the nature of their relationships with, and the academic environment established by the academics teaching first-year units (Farr-Wharton, Charles, Keast, Woolcott, & Chamberlain, 2017).

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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