What works at the chalk-face: depends who you ask

A parly committee did not report because of the election but the word on what it heard is still upsetting experts

Where this comes from: While everybody waited for the widely-expected election of the Shorten Government then (and now) education minister Dan Tehan gave the House of Reps education committee something to do – inquire into the community standing of classroom teachers.

Which the committee duly did, only to be beaten by the issuing of writs for the election. Their report circulated, just not formally (CMM April 8). But now the committee of the new parliament has published a guide to its predecessor’s work, suggesting the government consider issues raised in hearings.

What’s involved: For teacher education this included; * ATARs as a guide to teachers’ ability * reducing masters to one year with a second on-salary year placement * including education research methods in UG degrees * the need or otherwise for maths and English to be pre-reqs for teacher training.

Teacher ed experts aren’t impressed:  The Media Centre for Education Research Australia quotes experts who do not rate the report at all.

Michelle Simmons (Western Sydney U): “This report falls short in its understanding of the complexity of attracting, retaining and developing a quality teaching workforce. Australia should take care not to focus on ‘fixing’ parts of the profession in the hope that this will then permeate the whole. The students in our schools deserve better.”

Anna Sullivan (Uni SA): “Research clearly shows that there are complex reasons for the changes in the status of the teaching profession. Yet research also indicates that poorly conceived ‘solutions’ to this perception are likely to lead to unintended negative consequences. We don’t need this.”

Barry Down (Murdoch U): The report missed a golden opportunity to develop a coherent understanding of the changing nature of teachers’ work and the kinds of policy settings, resources, actions and accountability required to enhance the status of the profession”.


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