Another teacher education shakeup

“Too much focus on theory” says Education Minister Tudge

Commonwealth minister Alan Tudge has put initial teacher education back on the policy agenda. “Some teachers are still graduating from their courses insufficiently prepared to teach in a classroom either because there has been too much focus on theory at the expense of practice, or because evidence-based teaching methods are not taught,” he said in a speech yesterday.

Mr Tudge signalled a “next evolution of reforms” to build on the work of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group chaired by then Australian Catholic U VC Greg Craven.

“Not all initial teacher education programs are equipping graduates with the content knowledge, evidence-based teaching strategies and skills they need to respond to different student learning needs,” Professor Craven said in an announcing the TEMAG programme (CMM February 13 2015).

And apparently, Minister Tudge thinks not enough has changed, announcing a soon to be launched review to, “investigate where there is still further work to do to ensure that all ITE courses are high-quality and adequately prepare our teachers to be effective from day one.”

Mr Tudge also nominates issues to address;

* “greater input” on teacher education courses from school principals and expert teachers

* “shorter pathways” for people in mid-career to become teachers

* a system for professionals “with deep expertise and relevant experience” to teach, for example engineers and accountants, “to help us address our critical shortage of maths teachers”

And he sets a 2030 target for Australia, “to be again amongst the top group of nations across the three major domains of reading, maths and science.”

As to academics who aren’t on-board. “l will be impatient with education faculties that are not implementing evidence-based practices. It is the kids that miss out!”

Katina Zammit (deputy dean of education) at Western Sydney U responded yesterday, that “what we teach is what we have had approved through this rigorous accreditation process.” (She was quoted by the Media Centre for Education Research, Australia.)