Making the Grade – Teacher Interns learn the secrets of success

Paul Willis

CHC Teacher Internship Coordinator Paul Willis

Watching student teachers become professionals is one of the joys of Paul Willis’s job.

And he should know – he was a teacher in Christian, independent and state schools for over 20 years before working with student teachers at QUT and, since 2013, at CHC. Paul is the Coordinator of 4th Year Students in all of the Bachelor of Education courses at CHC, and also leads the Internship program for Primary and Secondary Education students. This program allows the students to undertake a six-week intensive practical placement in a school as the final unit in their degree.

It is in addition to, and differs from, the four compulsory PEP (Practical Experience Program) placements required for teacher registration. Internship students do not require full-time supervision, and in many cases are given sole responsibility for teaching classes whilst their mentor assists students requiring individual attention.

With a focus on the quality, rather than quantity, of students, the program is yielding significant results with most of this year’s graduating students already securing offers of full-time employment for 2016 (at time of writing). Many of the employment opportunities arise from the internship school, with the schools taking the opportunity to see the students in action for an extended period to assess their skills and cultural fit.

The students also use the internship strategically: either to place themselves in a school they would ultimately like to work at, and therefore be seen by a network of potential employers, or perhaps sample an alternative setting (eg. regional or remote) to test their skills and capability under different conditions.

Paul sees the development of student teachers as a partnership between the student, the training institution (CHC) and the host school. In contrast to the larger universities’ programs, Paul visits each school personally at least once or twice during the internship period, to ensure that the relationship remains strong and that the student, the teacher and the school, are gaining the most from the engagement.

He maintains strong personal connections with site coordinators (often a Deputy Principal) and the mentor teachers, ensuring that the program continues to adapt to the individual requirements, culture and circumstances of each school.

“Talking to the mentors and to the interns, I experience an incredible sense of purpose and anticipation,” says Paul. “They are all so ready to begin teaching. I haven’t heard one negative comment from a mentor or intern. It is such an incredible privilege to be part of such rich and reflective conversations.”

The internship model assisted graduate teacher Shannon Alexander to prepare for life as a teacher. She recently commenced as a Year 6 teacher at Brisbane Christian College, having completed her internship unit at the school in late 2015. Shannon valued the opportunity to be mentored and to experience the regular patterns of school life. She also benefited greatly from the interactions with her fellow teachers within her year group cohort, and across the primary school.

Shannon was given the responsibility by her mentor to teach as a sole teacher – an invaluable experience and a chance to test her skills and preparation. She also learnt more about school administration, collating resources and the day-to-day experience of life as a teacher.

Graduate teacher Shannon Alexander

Graduate teacher Shannon Alexander


Rekindling the Light – President’s 2015 Graduation Address

In his classic volume entitled “The Loss of the University” Wendell Berry laments: Underlying the idea of a university – the bringing together – the combining into one, of all the disciplines – is the idea that good work and good citizenship are the inevitable by products of a good education and a good – that is well developed – human being. This is the original intent of a university. To see truth and learning interwoven and interconnected with the formation of a good person.

Before you today are nearly 144 graduands – one of CHC’s highest number of conferrals – who have not just completed a degree but have been formed and woven because of their CHC experience. CHC exists to specialize in courses that are people shaping and people making. Our degrees incarnate people making principles and are taught by an exceptional staff who embody faith-learning imperatives. Before you today are CHC graduates who embody a holistic and unified rather than compartmentalized education and are valued by all at CHC as so much more than factory batches of products in a fragmented information production line.

I recently observed a debate between two secular university scholars on television, both trading facts and information in a frenzied flurry of claim and counterclaim. Information was evident, wisdom, however, was not and the entire exercise devolved into a verbal sledging match. We are daily confronted with oceans of information where facts are ubiquitous, driven by Google searches and 140 character tidbits of truth and trivia. Edna St Vincent Millay articulated the central problem of this information saturated generation:IMG_3025_DARREN

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour

Rains from the sky a meteoric shower

Of facts… they lie unquestioned, uncombined.

Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill is daily spun,

But there exists no loom to weave it into fabric

Where is the loom to weave it into fabric? In an age of fragmentation and threadbare thinking, only a grand narrative that is unified and coherent can suitably weave the disconnected bits into an integrated whole. This is why, at CHC, our core business for nearly three decades has been to weave into fabric a Christian worldview that unites faith with learning and belief with behavior.  For it is only on that loom that life’s big questions find the credible answers that a frayed public square so desperately needs.

We live in a world of dark thinking… by that I do not mean necessarily the prevalence of evil or sinister thinking. Rather dark thinking occurs when there is an absence of light or where light is simply refused entry into the iron cages of contemporary public discourse. Truly Enlightened scholars are rare in this age of reaction-based opinions and populist info sound bites. What is so desperately needed in this dark hour are minds that have been illuminated.

EM Forster in that Literary Classic Howard’s End juxtaposes these two views of higher learning by stating: Your universities? Oh, yes, you have learned men who collect . . . facts, and facts, and empires of facts. But which of them will rekindle the light within?

The rekindling of that light within can only come from a coherent and comprehensive illumination – allowing a capacity to shine for every graduate! To reflect light and life in all of its variegated dimensions – physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, spiritually. The light of truth always emancipates and expands understanding. CS Lewis described such light by stating “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen… not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.

There is a well-known and much loved Sunday school song which declares a timeless truth: “This little light of mine… I’m going to let it shine… So graduands let your light shine. Radiate His truth. Let your brilliance be known and seen by all. We trust that your journey through your years at CHC has rekindled a light within and has been one of illumination and enlightenment that has drawn you closer to the one who is Light and a lamp to your every step. We pray that the light within has been illuminated and that your way ahead as transformed people has been enlightened through your CHC experience. Allow that light to continue to lead and guide and inspire you as you seek to fulfil all that God has purposed for you in your generation.

New York Times best-selling author Marianne Williamson – encapsulates this call to radiate for every graduand when she writes: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us… You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same…

Graduands, you leave us today, always and from this day forward as a CHC graduate, tomorrow, next week, next year and for the rest of your lives. Well done on this outstanding achievement! As you now prepare for this new chapter; know that you go with the cheer squad of CHC staff, students and community cheering you on to shine His glory and make a difference. Consider what your education at CHC has done to you?? In you? Through you? In regards to your call? Your purpose? Reflect how the illumination of His story and enlightenment of learning in regards to His creation will shape your work and your destiny. We all look forward to the hopeful promise that each of you, in some way, will be a shining catalyst for God and for good in your world and will be transformative agents of change in your generation. God bless you our 2015 cohort of world changers – Let your light shine!!! Be Brilliant!! And may His Grace, truth and love guide your steps as you Light up the darkness.

Professor Darren  Iselin

President, CHC

CHC Research News – December 2015

Richard Leo (School of Education & Humanities) recently travelled to Belgrade, Serbia in Eastern Europe to present Wrestling for Control of the ‘selfie’ at an international education conference.  Using education to project Charles Taylor’s ‘social imaginary’, Richard discussed the theory and practice of cross-curricular priorities in the Australian Curriculum and was well received by attendees. The conference saw a number of presentations from researchers and academics from across Europe and Central Asia and provided an opportunity to share ideas with others working in the field of education. Following the completion of the conference, he was also able to visit a number of sites relevant to his teaching of history in CHC’s School of Education and Humanities, ranging from Sarajevo in Bosnia to Auschwitz in Poland.

Dr Sam Hey (School of Ministries) presented a paper Social Change and the Australian Megachurches at the British Sociological Association – Sociology of Religion Conference in London in July, 2015. His paper was based on his PhD dissertation and subsequent book on megachurches, which considered the ways in which sociological and historical insights can help to more fully understand the development of megachurches and their place in society.

Mrs Karenne Hills (School of Social Sciences) presented her paper, Spirituality and people with a disability in the context of human sexuality, at the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability in Atlanta, USA in May, 2015. Karenne has a growing research profile in the area of disability, and is a PhD candidate at Griffith University.

Mrs Wendy Collins (School of Business) has published more than 20 articles in professional journals over the past three years. With content drawn from her current research and previous experience as a Chartered Accountant, her articles provide practical financial, management and leadership content, particularly for school principals and business managers.

Aspire 4 Magazine – Issue 4 Available Now!





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Aspire Magazine – Issue 4 available Now!

The next edition of Aspire, CHC’s community magazine, is available now by clicking here. This edition features a report on exciting new courses, the success of our teaching interns and a student’s story of transformation.



Introducing Australia’s first Christian MBA




The new MBA (Master of Business Administration) at CHC is designed to give you the skills and knowledge to create and manage effective organisations in complex and dynamic environments.

It is the only MBA in Australia developed with the Christian leader in mind and will enhance your performance as a business owner, or as an executive in private companies, not-for-profits, churches, and charities.

Advanced units in Finance, Marketing, Human Resources and Strategy will allow you to create or transition your business to a missional business model. Missional businesses make a positive contribution to individuals and communities by providing sustainable, meaningful, paid employment and wisely stewarding the resources of the planet.

Develop your potential whilst engaging your passion for the Kingdom of God.

The course is delivered in part-time, external mode, allowing you maximum flexibility to manage your busy schedule.

Benefit from lecturers with real world experience in government, private enterprise, entrepreneurship and the not-for-profit sector. Network with your fellow students as peers with the same energy and drive to make a difference in the world.

Register your interest today – click the button below to contact us. We will be in touch with more information and guide you through the application process.


Aspire 3 Magazine – Issue 3 Available Now!

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Aspire Magazine – Issue 3 available Now!

The next edition of Aspire, CHC’s community magazine is available now by clicking here. This edition features a report on recent events such as the Witherspoon Fellowship and Missional Business Conference, and a wrap-up of Open Day and Uni Games.

You can subscribe to Aspire in the iTunes Store – just search for “CHC magazine”.

CHC Researcher To Present At International Conference

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CHC is proud to announce that Mrs Karenne Hills from the School of Social Sciences will present a paper at the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability 2015 conference in Atlanta, USA on May 26-30, 2015. Karenne has a growing research profile in the area of disability and has presented at a number of national and international conferences on the subject of spirituality, sexuality and disability in the past two years.

The international conference to be held in Atlanta is one of the few worldwide which focuses on the topic of disability theology and brings together experts in the field to disseminate emerging knowledge regarding this neglected research area. Her paper which is entitled Spirituality and people with a disability in the context of human sexuality explores historical religious and societal attitudes to sexuality and provides an alternative biblical perspective which encompasses a fresh look at the God inspired purpose of sexuality as a valued ingredient of the human experience, including people with disabilities.

CHC congratulates Karenne for her valuable contribution to the disability research field and wishes her a safe trip and every blessing as she engages in this important event.