Important information for Teacher Education students

Kia ora

Congratulations for considering undertaking an exciting career in teaching. A teaching qualification will enable you to play an important role in the lives of children, their whānau and communities. We want you to be well informed about our programme and its expectations, and therefore it is important that you read this information carefully.

Many of you will have already talked with people in the teaching profession and may have some understanding of the teacher education programmes at the University of Canterbury. Teaching is a very rewarding career and we aim to graduate skilful, reflective, enthusiastic and knowledgeable educators who will be well prepared for lifelong learning and maintain a commitment to the teaching profession. Entering a profession and gaining a reputable qualification means that you, as a graduate, must meet specific competencies set by the Teaching Council of New Zealand.

During the teacher education programme we will have high expectations of you and will do our best to guide and support you through courses and professional practice placements. This is our responsibility to you as a student. This also means that you, as a student, will have responsibilities which will require a firm commitment to your learning by devoting a significant amount of the week to study and preparation. It also requires a commitment to professionalism in all areas of your study and practice. This section includes some key information to help prepare for your chosen programme.


This is a professional qualification, and in order to meet the requirements of the qualification, you must be able to demonstrate your ability to meet the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession. Professional behaviour is therefore an expectation across all contexts, including your course work and work in centres or schools. Professional conduct, including professional communication and behaviour and the Code of Professional Responsibility when working in centres and schools is an on-going, important component of your programme of study across all areas. We strongly suggest you read and familiarise yourself with the Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession before you begin your studies. The Code can be found at 


Many of our teacher education programmes are delivered both full time or part time on campus (students who attend classes at the Christchurch campus each week); and by distance (study at a distance but also attend a number of On-site Intensive blocks in Christchurch or the appropriate regional campus). Sometimes prospective students have the perception that an initial teacher education study programme will have a light workload and be easy to fit into a busy life schedule. It is important to understand that teacher education programmes are a combination of academic and professional studies that require a high level of commitment and should be considered in the same way as full or part time employment. This will involve consistent weekly workload where students need to engage in study, lectures/online learning experiences and discussions, and assignment work every week.

Full time students should allow a minimum of 36 hours per week of study and assignment time during each semester of study, prior to each placement. On-campus students need to be prepared to have full days of lectures and workshops, with the expectation that you have prepared in advance for many of these. Distance students will also need to ensure they can complete this number of hours each week, and complete course work/participate in online course discussions each day over the week, some of which are held at set times during normal university study hours.

During professional practice placements students will need to attend their placement for a minimum of eight hours each day (i.e. 8am-4pm) and also work on preparation outside of these times. Although a part time study option will obviously reduce the workload over the whole course, it is important to be aware that it is a full time and heavy load during the periods when you undertake your professional practice placements. If you need to continue working and/or have other commitments to family (and/or community), then we strongly suggest you undertake part time study. It is possible to change to a part-time study programme in the middle of the year if you find the workload too intense.

On-site Intensive programme (OSI)

Distance students are required to attend a number of On-Site Intensive programmes in Christchurch or the appropriate regional campus. Key dates and OSI information can be found on our Course Groups and Timetables webpage.

During the start of year OSIs, students will be involved in a mihi whakatau, work with staff who will be taking your Semester 1 courses, and have an induction to the qualification and teaching profession.  Distance students will also receive guidance to help you study successfully online at a distance.  For some programmes, students may also have an overnight stay at a local marae, be involved in group teaching at a local school and complete a Treaty of Waitangi workshop. Please check your OSI timetable for programme specific information.

Subsequent OSIs are dedicated to your upcoming courses, and will include practical workshops, lectures, and meetings with staff. Attendance at all aspects of all OSI’s is compulsory. The dates and timetables for OSIs will be available on our website. Please be aware that you will need to meet your travel, accommodation, and related living costs for all OSIs.

Professional Practice Placements

You will complete a number of professional practice placements over the duration of your qualification. You may need to make arrangements with family and/or work ahead of time to enable you to attend your placement for eight hours per day, and complete associated planning and preparation in the evenings and weekends.  The requirements are the same for both full and part time students.

In order for us to provide you with a range of placements during your study, you should expect that there will be some travel required in order for you to attend your placement. While we endeavour to place you in a school or centre within the Christchurch City Boundaries (or in close proximity to your home town for distance students) for at least one of your practicum blocks, we cannot guarantee this.  As such you may be required to travel out of Christchurch for one or more practicum blocks. 

This may be travelling from one side of town to another or to an outlying suburb of the city you are based in.

Any costs relating to attendance at placements, including the cost of travel, are the responsibility of the student. See here for more information on the costs associated with your professional practice placements.

Information on the dates of your placements is available in the relevant key dates section of the Course Groups and Timetables webpage.


Teacher education programmes start earlier in the year than other university programmes and require attendance from Day 1. It is important that you know the start date of your programme, which will be listed in offer letters and also available on our website.

Attendance at all OSI and orientation sessions are compulsory. This may include an overnight stay at a marae, attendance at Treaty of Waitangi workshops, and all associated sessions within the OSI timetable for your programme.

On-campus students are expected to attend all scheduled lectures and workshops each week during semester time, and need to notify the applicable staff if they are absent.

Distance students are expected to attend online meetings and classes when they are scheduled, plus participate in online discussion forums on a weekly basis if required. Lack of participation will impact your course result and may also impact your ability to complete your professional practice placements if we believe you are not prepared well enough to complete the placement.


Our main form of communication once you have submitted your application is by email. We only use your personal email until you have a UC IT account set up as part of your enrolment. We have found that for some people our emails are marked as spam so don’t come through to your inbox so keep an eye on your spam folder to make sure you receive our communications.

Once you are fully enrolled, we require that you use your University of Canterbury student email for all correspondence with university staff. Please check this daily throughout the year. 

We look forward to working with you throughout your journey as you work towards your goal of entering the teaching profession.