The review of initial teacher education has been released and the opinions on its content vary from the enthusiastic to the not so.
Professor Viv Ellis Dean of the Faculty of Education at Monash University is qualified in her assessment of the report.
“The report's approach to innovation is contradictory. A system-wide encouragement of innovation is critically important but the panel’s recommendation of greater political control of the sector through proposals for measures tied to funding, will lead to an overwhelming focus on compliance and measures that mitigate risk.
“The report’s references to the ‘United Kingdom’s Core Content Framework are embarrassingly ignorant. There is no UK framework. The UK is made up of four nations and the panel is referring to the highly controversial and deeply ideological framework for England that is fundamentally amateurish.
“Unfortunately, the report falls short when it comes to efforts to improve initial teacher education in schools. School placements – especially longer ones – provide the most powerful practical learning opportunities for student teachers. More attention must be paid to what happens in schools with ITE students. Any serious national effort to improve initial teacher education should address how schools can better influence how new teachers learn to teach.
“This report powerfully underscores a national responsibility to address Australia’s First Nations communities in all ITE contexts including better support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to enter the profession and better preparation for all teachers to teach in culturally responsive and sustaining ways.”
However, she welcomed the recommendation to raise the status of teaching in the community.
“It is pleasing to see the Government accept responsibility to do much more to raise the status of the teaching profession, to improve recruitment and especially retention, and implicitly, to stop using teachers in politically motivated culture wars that put people off joining the profession,” she said.
Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith of Australian Catholic University leads the largest consortium of Higher Education Providers in Australia, with 19 now undertaking the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment.
She says, "The Next Steps review strengthens the turn to research-informed innovation and evidence-informed practice.
"While the field of teacher preparation has changed considerably in the last decade, much remains to be done. Areas to progress include clarifying the function of standards and evidence to show how standards have been met, especially at the point of entering the workforce.
"In the field it is clear that improvement of teacher preparation has progressed unevenly over the past few years. The Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment Collective involves 19 Higher Education Providers to date, with many being involved since 2018 when the GTPA was validated.”
Improved data around teacher training is a recent development that will allow for knowledge to be shared across institutions.
"The Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education has developed digital systems for online cross-institutional moderation and new data visualisation methods to support improvements in ITE programs, using an evidence base.
"A main challenge facing ITE in Australia is that we have not had access to an established database showing the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs and the preparedness of graduates when they finish their preparation.
“The Institute’s research-informed collaborations with our partner universities has directly enhanced the confidence of graduates on their reported sense of preparedness and employer satisfaction with the quality of graduates. It is ensuring that Graduate Teachers have the expertise to use their professional judgement in drawing on research to inform their practice to meet the needs of the diversity students in the nation’s classrooms,” she says.
Senior Professor Sue Bennett, Executive Dean of UOW’s Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities said, “Teachers are critical to ensuring education meets the needs of every child and every young person. We are proud to be educating the next generation of teaching professionals, who will go out into the world, and into the classroom, to change the lives of countless students.
“The University works closely with our colleagues in schools, our partners in the profession, and across the higher education sector, and state and Commonwealth regulatory authorities to achieve excellence in initial teacher education.
“We welcome the release of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review report and we will work with all stakeholders towards effectively implementing its findings.”
UOW provides undergraduate and postgraduate initial teacher education courses to prepare graduates to enter the teaching profession, and is consistently ranked among the best in NSW and Australia for the quality of its teaching programs.