Primary Teacher Education
Teaching at a primary level allows you to discover the potential of each child, encourage their learning (perhaps beginning a lifelong appreciation of it), and provide important relationships and experiences that will make a real difference to their lives.
For those people who are energetic, committed, creative, have good literacy and numeracy skills, and enjoy working with kids, teaching is a positive and varied career to consider.
UC offers multiple pathways to a career in primary teaching (with differing entry criteria):
- if you do not already have a degree, see the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary)
- for those who have already graduated with a recognised degree, two graduate one-year pathways to primary teaching are available:
- the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) or
- the Master of Teaching and Learning specialising in primary teaching.
Please see the appropriate qualification page for specific information on entry requirements and the application process.
As places are limited we strongly recommend that you apply for programme entry as early as possible. Applications close four weeks prior to the commencement of the programme in early February, or when places are filled (whichever comes first).
For the most up-to-date list of courses for each UC qualification specialising in Primary Teacher Education, see the qualification course schedules:
- Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary)
- Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)
- Master of Teaching and Learning with an endorsement in Primary
There are four basic components of primary qualifications at UC.
- Education courses address areas such as the aims and purposes of education, child development, teaching and learning, classroom management, assessment, the Aotearoa New Zealand education system, and socio-political and cultural contexts.
- Professional Studies courses introduce students to the observation, communication, interaction, management, planning, diagnostic, and practical teaching skills required of teachers in Aotearoa schools.
- Professional Practice is the time spent working in a classroom. It provides a supportive context in which students can trial and refine their planning, teaching, and management skills. Professional Practice initiates students into the complexities of the teacher's role within the classroom, the school, and the wider community. There are two blocks of Professional Practice in schools each year of the BTchLn. Part-time students have one block each year and usually take six years to complete the degree. During their Professional Practice, students will spend approximately eight hours a day working alongside an experienced teacher.
- Curriculum Studies includes all curriculum subjects that a primary teacher is expected to teach. These include English, mātauraka Māori, mathematics, science, technology education, social studies, art, music, drama and dance, health, and physical education.
For the most up-to-date list of courses for each qualification, go to the University Regulations website.
Distance study option
The Primary distance study option is available to Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary) students throughout the country. Students must be able to attend up to two on-site intensives, one of which is a two week on-site intensive at the beginning of the programme. This will be held in Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Courses integrate web-based material, audiovisual resources, video conferences and email. Students also attend professional practice placements in early childhood education centres for up to ten weeks per year. See the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) for more information on this distance learning option.
The Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) and the Master of Teaching and Learning with an endorsement in Primary cater for students who hold a university degree and offer a one-year pathway into primary teaching:
- the Graduate Diploma can be studied full-time for 1 year or part-time over 3 years, and is offered by distance
- the Master's will equip participants with research-based knowledge and inquiry skills, the ability to support diverse student learning and the expertise essential to Aotearoa New Zealand schools in the 21st century.
Students are required to attend professional practice placements in primary, intermediate, middle, and area schools throughout their studies, as arranged by the College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora.
The contacts and experiences from teaching placements can often provide a good springboard into the working world.
UC Primary Teacher Education graduates have gained teaching and management positions in primary, intermediate, middle, and area schools across Aotearoa New Zealand. Internationally recognised, the BTchLn(Primary) can open up teaching opportunities abroad too.
Transferable skills apply to roles outside of teaching eg, educational publishing, policy, advocacy, consultancy, community development, social work, and the police.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Primary Teacher Education.
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University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
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