NEEDED: A STEADY STATE

One of the things wrong with education is the constant chopping and changing of curriculum priorities and methodological preferences. No sooner is something introduced and implemented, often in a piloting manner, than change is on again. Nothing is bedded down before it is added to, subtracted from, replaced or just dumped.

Education is like a frog, hopping from one lilly pad of initiative to the next. There os often little connection between these initiatives. At best, linkage is hazy.

Rather than shallow exploration, education needs to embrace the metaphor of the duck, deep diving into the pool and exploring issues in depth and breadth terms. Educational practices should be more frequently consolidated and less frequently tossed aside in order to grab at some other approach.

We need progress and change. Equally, we need understanding and consolidation.

HENRY’S PRAYER

May God bless all students and may they work their hardest to do their best, committing energy and effort to their studies. May all lecturers and all teachers be available to assist their students in every way they can, and not be so preoccupied with their open study and research regimes, they forget their student cohorts.

This is my prayer for tertiary education, but also for those who at lower levels of teaching and learning regime

TEACHER TRAINING – NEW DEVELOPMENTS REVISIT THE PAST

TEACHER TRAINING – NEW DEVELOPMENTS REVISIT THE PAST

Training our teachers of tomorrow is a matter always uppermost in the planning minds of universities and education departments. Parents everywhere know that good teachers make a difference. Teachers who build student confidence and commitment toward learning, are remembered for decades into the future.

Academic aptitude is important. That is why students selected to train as teachers should be people who have done well in their own secondary years of education. While relatively low tertiary entrance scores were sufficient to allow students into teacher training programs, this is no longer the case. The Federal Government is keen to attract trainees who have finished in the top 20% of Year 12 students as prerequisite for training to teach.

Most recently, it has been determined that preservice teachers should pass literacy and mathematics competency tests that have been developed by the Australian Council of Educational Research. These tests will be mandatory for students who commence training from the beginning of 2017. They are recommended, but optional, for pre-service teachers who have started training programs but have yet to complete their degrees.

Test details are available online at https://teacheredtest.acer.edu.au/

The first tests will be on offer to those who register between 16 May and 6 June this year. It will cost student teachers $185 to sit the tests. Included on the ACER site are sample questions in both Literacy and Maths. I would recommend those interested visit the site and study these sample questions. Results will be widely circulated to universities and departments of education.

Teaching Schools

The model of teacher education has changed over time. Until ten years ago, the focus for teachers on practice was to be visited and advised on teaching methodology by university or training college lecturers. While lecturers still visit, the emphasis is now on quality partnerships between ‘Teaching Schools’ and universities. Teachers on practice work with students, supported by classroom teachers who are their advisers and mentors. In each teaching school, a member of staff is appointed as Professional Learning Leader (PLL). The PLL supports both mentors and students. Pre-service teachers benefit from the chance to learn about programming, planning and the application of teaching methodology in classroom contexts. A tutorial program is part of this approach. Assisting student teachers to understand testing and assessment requirements including test administration and recording results is included in this focus.

Part of that change is directed toward helping new teachers understand and meet graduate standards set by the NT Teachers Registration Board. Results of literacy and maths competence will now be included in registration requirements.

Given that maths, spelling, language, listening, speaking and reading tests were part of training programs in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, this is in some respects a ‘back to the future’ initiative. It will be an important victory change.

FITTING IT ALL IN

It’s interesting to contemplate how much schools have to do, cover and undertake these days. A school day is five hours long. How is it to be done in terms of fitting in more and more and more and … ?

We need to get wise. Stop adding and adding AND ADDING to content. We need to drop things off. If we don’t curriculum content becomes back breaking and mind blowing staff. We finish up lost in a maze of priority suggestions and resources.

The school day is just over five hours long. Schools are not 24/7 operations.

Let’s get wise and learn to say NO to the incessant adding into our responsibility and accountability portfolios. Things need to be manageable for schools, teachers and students.

LITERACY

Literacy needs to be taught, not assumed to somehow evolve into the psyche of our growing up young. Teaching is more than chance and absorption of understanding by osmosis.

If there was less emphasis on naval gazing and more emphasis on the essence of literacy, including more teaching and less pontificating about comparative methodology, childen might be a lot better off.

LIVING THE LIFE

May all young people olf the world be blessed and given the wisdom to discern the right pathways in life’s world. May those of us who are senior do the right thing by the example we set to following generations. This is one of the very important elements of awareness and need that should be part of the motivation and the psyche of all teachers. I include teachers in our schools and staff in our universities.

Teaching is an important part of the role we fill. Of equal importance has to be the example we set. What we do and the way we live validates or discredits the teaching messages we espouse.

My hope and wish is that all educators be remembered with appreciation and respect.

TEACHER TRAINING – NEW DEVELOPMENTS REVISIT THE PAST

While written with the Northern Territory and Australia in mind, I would suggest the thrust of this paper has tenability in other systems.
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TEACHER TRAINING – NEW DEVELOPMENTS REVISIT THE PAST

Training our teachers of tomorrow is a matter always uppermost in the planning minds of universities and education departments. Parents everywhere know that good teachers make a difference. Teachers who build student confidence and commitment toward learning, are remembered for decades into the future.

Academic aptitude is important. That is why students selected to train as teachers should be people who have done well in their own secondary years of education. While relatively low tertiary entrance scores were sufficient to allow students into teacher training programs, this is no longer the case. The Federal Government is keen to attract trainees who have finished in the top 20% of Year 12 students as prerequisite for training to teach.

Most recently, it has been determined that preservice teachers should pass literacy and mathematics competency tests that have been developed by the Australian Council of Educational Research. These tests will be mandatory for students who commence training from the beginning of 2017. They are recommended, but optional, for pre-service teachers who have started training programs but have yet to complete their degrees.

Test details are available online at https://teacheredtest.acer.edu.au/

The first tests will be on offer to those who register between 16 May and 6 June this year. It will cost student teachers $185 to sit the tests. Included on the ACER site are sample questions in both Literacy and Maths. I would recommend those interested visit the site and study these sample questions. Results will be widely circulated to universities and departments of education.

Teaching Schools

The model of teacher education has changed over time. Until ten years ago, the focus for teachers on practice was to be visited and advised on teaching methodology by university or training college lecturers. While lecturers still visit, the emphasis is now on quality partnerships between ‘Teaching Schools’ and universities. Teachers on practice work with students, supported by classroom teachers who are their advisers and mentors. In each teaching school, a member of staff is appointed as Professional Learning Leader (PLL). The PLL supports both mentors and students. Pre-service teachers benefit from the chance to learn about programming, planning and the application of teaching methodology in classroom contexts. A tutorial program is part of this approach. Assisting student teachers to understand testing and assessment requirements including test administration and recording results is included in this focus.

Part of that change is directed toward helping new teachers understand and meet graduate standards set by the NT Teachers Registration Board. Results of literacy and maths competence will now be included in registration requirements.

Given that maths, spelling, language, listening, speaking and reading tests were part of training programs in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, this is in some respects a ‘back to the future’ initiative. It will be an important victory change.