Each year thousands of new entrants into the teaching profession require teacher training so that they can become better teachers and instructional leaders. The Future Leaders Programme (FLP) is a school-based, pre-service teacher internship programme. Student-teachers known as Future Leaders are placed in primary and secondary schools for the duration of their training, while they study towards a teaching qualification through UNISA, a distance learning institution. Interns are provided mentorship, professional development and classroom teaching experiences.
The program seeks to develop a new generation of highly capable educators by immersing pre-service teachers full-time in schools. The program also seeks to provide in-service teachers with experiences to improve their own teaching practice, instructional leadership skills, and mentoring abilities.
- To increase the number of entrants into the teaching profession.
- To improve the retention of in-service teachers.
- To build relationships between student teachers and schools that can ultimately fast-track student teachers into positions within the school where they received training, thus addressing both issues of teacher shortage and teacher attrition.
- To provide teachers with the necessary tools and resources needed to make their teaching practice self-reflective and contextually relevant.
The programme utilizes the teaching capacity already existing in schools to develop new teachers. It employs in-service teachers as mentors of student-teachers who provide them with direct, experiential training in the classroom. The mentor-student teacher relationship also providing mentor teachers with a classroom teaching assistant who offers additional classroom support. The model gives mentors the opportunity to better understand their own practice and develop the necessary skills to become effective instructional leaders.
To provide another layer of personal support to student and mentor teachers, the program employs site managers who coordinate the operational and logistical aspects of the program.
GTI directly supports all of these relationships by providing training and professional development opportunities to student teachers, mentors, and site managers to enable their ongoing personal and professional progress. By activating teacher capacity at all these levels, the program develops a school’s long-term potential to improve its instructional delivery and leadership.