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Visit the Conferences & Events page for links to information about known conferences and events.
If you are aware of any that are suitable for inclusion, please notify us, so these can be added.
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‘CIEB conducts research on the world’s most successful education systems’.
‘It offers access to information, analysis, and opinion on the education systems of the top-performing countries through its web portal’.
‘In addition, the Centre issues a monthly newsletter for people interested in keeping up-to-date on the strategies used by the top-performing countries’.
‘The mission of the Centre is to help countries around the world understand the principles, policies, and practices that top-performing countries use to drive their education systems’.
Visit this page for links to information from all Australian universities.
These tell you about Open Days, Campus Tours and any other options offered.
Updated, 7 June
The Gonski Review and its aftermath continue to be a matter of interest for all linked to schooling. As previously indicated, there have been concerns about the government’s intentions when they would not publicly commit to the funding suggested by David Gonski. These included concerns from both sides of the schooling sector, public and private. It was also fostered by shifts in position on the part of several groups.
A result of this has been a move by teacher unions to bring pressure to bear upon the government from a
grass roots level as well as a professional education level. The
igiveagonski campaign, includes the establishment of a website at igiveagonski. For a more extensive coverage, check the following
article, Campaigning to Embrace Review’s Recommendations,
in a recent issue of the Sydney Morning Herald.
A fascinating monograph has just been released by the Centre for Independent Studies entitled Indigenous Education 2012. As part of the overview, the following has been provided - ‘Indigenous Education 2012 examines the real reasons why government education policies are failing in Indigenous schools and underperforming mainstream schools. The report critiques the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on programs that are not only unsuccessful but also take time and attention away from the classroom teaching essential for literacy and numeracy’. Read more at the site or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free PDF copy.
As a follow up to our first item on teacher quality and performance in a recent front page article [deciding to gain only the best candidates possible], we now move on to what initial training should be both desirable and essential.
Following selection of highest quality candidates for teacher training, comes the initial training itself. If there was a magical package that could be guaranteed to be the best option for this then every country in the world would be using it. However, there is no such thing. Even what is being done in high-achieving countries today can vary greatly from what was done not too far in the past. There are, however, some common threads that must be considered when looking at what should be included.
The first point is to clarify that what is done here must only be seen as the first step of a structured, career-long path of development and improvement. This is a common feature of systems found in all high achieving countries. Good teachers do not go through initial training, then only have either haphazard or limited ongoing development, whether staying in the classroom or aspiring to leadership positions. All evidence suggests those who become quality teachers maintain professional development, continually learn, value and benefit from constructive support provided through a number of means, becoming better teachers as a result of this. Many subsequent programs will be discussed in greater detail in a future entry to this series.
The second point is that control of teacher training varies among countries showing high attainment. Singapore, for example, operates through ‘only one teacher training institution in Singapore - the National Institute of Education [NIE]’ [Singapore - Teacher & Principal Quality [CIEB], p.]. In South Korea ‘teacher education takes place at several types of institutions’ [South Korea Teacher & Principal Quality [CIEB], p.3] but through an audit system, ‘the evaluation of teacher education courses has much greater consequences on the courses and the institutions that provide them’ [Catching up : learning from the best school systems in East Asia, Grattan Institute, p. 61]. This is especially so with primary teacher training, though somewhat less with secondary teacher training.
As well, ‘Entrance examinations into the teaching profession provide another implementation mechanism to reform and develop teacher education institutions. Korea has a three-stage examination process that teacher education graduates must pass before they can teach in schools. The first examination has a pass-fail outcome, with only a predetermined number of students passing to the second and third examinations. The final two stages are assessed to provide a final score for graduates. The teaching demonstration provides a practical example to complement the written responses in the second examination’ [Catching up : learning from the best school systems in East Asia, Grattan Institute, pp. 66-7].
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tamil school girls sex mobi wapIn Finland, ‘teaching qualifications are prescribed by law, and vary for different kinds of teachers’ [Teacher Education in Finland, p.3] but all require a university degree with almost all having a Masters degree covering education and subject training. In Canada, ‘teacher training programs are housed in Canadian universities, although separate standards for teacher qualification exist across the provinces’ [Canadian Teacher and Principal Quality [CIEB], p.3]. In Shanghai, teachers do not necessarily have degrees, depending on the level taught, but those who do go through a university ‘must take four examinations in the areas of pedagogy, psychology, teaching methods, and teaching ability. Candidates must demonstrate teaching abilities such as classroom management as part of this examination’ [Shanghai Teacher and Principal Quality [CIEB], p.3]. New Zealand has a system which is similar in many respects to that presently used in Australia.
The major point to come from this is that time preparing to be a teacher has become longer with many of these countries now requiring a minimum of five years, with several leading to a Masters qualification, e.g. Finland. It is interesting to see this occurring with the MTeach [UWA] degree and Graduate-entry programs [MTeach, University of Sydney] having replaced a DipEd or similar as an option in Australia, but it is still optional. What this does is allow students ‘ to undertake professional preparation for a career as a teacher if you have completed a bachelor’s degree’. It includes periods of quality practical training in classrooms [see below], designed to help implement effective learning processes prior to the commencement of their professional role. There are differing views about the value of this from students as can be seen in two recent articles - Those Who Teach Must Simply Do and Teaching Becomes a Master Class.
The method used in Germany of having a period with restricted lesson numbers, mentoring support and further study is one possible option that might be considered before full-time teaching is undertaken. Singapore goes further, with ‘internship and attachment programs offered to prospective student teachers to raise interest in the profession and allow applicants to see if the classroom is a good fit for them. Importantly, it also allows schools and NIE to see if potential initial teacher education students have the required attributes to eventually become an effective teacher. [Catching up : learning from the best school systems in East Asia, Grattan Institute, p. 56]. There are merits to this in that it can assist in reducing the considerable attrition rate which exists in several countries, including Australia.
All countries mentioned, plus others considered to have quality programs of teacher education, include such practical training in classrooms as a component before acceptance into the teaching profession, though these can range from 3-4 weeks [Japan] to as much as one to two years [Netherlands, Germany]. These are completed during or after academic training.
ritmos yamaha In considering the best options from a range of countries for possible use in Australia, one must seriously contemplate a five year period combining an undergraduate degree [related to either wider curriculum content for some levels or specific subject areas for others], followed by a mandatory postgraduate qualification, in the form of a Master of Teaching noted above.
Importantly, in the second of these, there must be a significant practicum component, preferably in a variety of school settings, not just at one local school. In addition, there must be mentoring and feedback from both school mentors and academic staff, designed to fine tune these essential skills. There should also be observation days where students can watch quality practitioners with follow-up sessions to see what worked and its potential implementation in a range of situations. We must also consider the possibility of an earlier experience such as that used in Singapore, as there is no point students continuing to study for something they find is not what they understood it to be, nor what they wanted it to be and to which they have no long term commitment, as has happened in the past.
Such feedback, discussion and mentoring then leads on to the next stage of teaching, where they must become an integral part of an ongoing professional development process that continues to enhance not only a teacher’s ability and their students’ achievement but also their standing as a professional.
In items over the next few months, we will look at further change aspects which it is believed should be considered part of a coherent approach to improving the present standing of teaching and learning in Australia.
The National Curriculum continues developing with the first of the senior curriculum drafts being put out for consultation. ‘ACARA has now completed consultation on the draft senior secondary Australian Curriculum for English, Mathematics, Science and History. ACARA has welcomed and encouraged your feedback on these draft curriculum materials. In order to provide feedback, you were asked to register onto the Australian Curriculum consultation website to complete the online questionnaire. You can download a printable version of the draft senior secondary Australian Curriculum, or download and print a copy of the questionnaire for your reference. More information can be found on The Australian Curriculum Consultation site and through the media release entitled First National Curriculum for Year 11 and 12 Students by The Hon Peter Garrett MP. If you have any interest in this area, this is the time to be involved, so be sure to visit and take part. You can also access a range of documents including Fact Sheets about different areas and levels from their Resources page.
Other areas are also being developed with ‘the draft Shape of the Australian Curriculum : Civics and Citizenship available for public consultation from Monday 4 June to Friday 10 August 2012. The draft Shape Paper proposes directions for the development of the national Civics and Citizenship curriculum for Years 3-12. Following analysis of consultation feedback the draft document will be revised and then published as the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship. Teachers, parents and other stakeholders in the Civics and Citizenship field, and members of the broader community are all encouraged to comment on the draft Shape Paper through the online questionnaire. Click here to view a PDF version of the Draft Shape of the Australian Curriculum : Civics and Citizenship. Click here to provide feedback through ACARA’s online questionnaire. Further information can be found on this page.
Finally, there are a number of other items you may find interesting :
- Backmeup, a new program to combat bullying has now been created. It involves the creation of short videos showing how you can support people who are being bullied. For all the relevant details be sure to visit the site.
- Add Six P’s to the Three R’s for The Ideal Teacher is an unusual title for an opinion piece by Tim Hawkes in The Australian. It looks at what he sees will be some of the additional requirements of future teachers.
- A new selection of positions are available from AYAD as of the first of the month. If you have an interest in this area, be sure to check the AYAD page on the site for a listing of educational positions available in July.
- The calendar has been updated and future dates continue to be added wherever possible.
- The Conferences pages continue to expand and again underwent a small re-arrangement at the end of the month. If you are aware of any conferences or major events we have missed, please let us know. Thanks to those who have already done so. Your help has been appreciated.
- We are now well into checking the core pages once again, with more than 50% completed.
- Links have been added and other modifications made as indicated.
- The Competitions page has been added to the site and can be accessed from every page through the Resources link in the main menu. We continue to add links as we find them. If you are aware of competitions or challenges suitable for inclusion, please let us know. Your help is appreciated.