There has been much said in the media recently about lifting the bar on teacher education to make sure that all graduates are well prepared for entering the classroom.

The initial teacher education (ITE) reforms recommended by the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) in 2015 recognised that our graduates needed to be better equipped to enter the classroom as beginner teachers. As teachers and school leaders you are only too well aware that a career in teaching is becoming more complex and challenging. While some graduate teachers report feeling well prepared for day one in the classroom, this is not a universal experience. 

We are fortunate in Australia, we already have a high performing and committed teacher workforce. However, the TEMAG reforms identified opportunities to better prepare and ease the transition for all teaching students. The roadmap for the reforms can be found in the Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers report, which recommended the following reform areas:

 

TEMAG reform areaOutcome
SelectionEnsure entrants to ITE are suited to teaching 
Quality Assurance All initial teacher education programs meet rigorous new standards
Robust AssessmentAll graduates pass a teaching performance assessment (TPA) of their classroom readiness
Primary Specialisation Primary teaching graduates have a specialisation in a learning area of the Australian Curriculum
Professional Experience Better school placements for student teachers
Beginning teacher induction The right support for graduate teachers to stay in the classroom
National research and workforce planning Enhancing Australia's capability to drive strong, evidence-based practices in ITE and to manage its teaching workforce

For the past few years, AITSL has been working closely with state and territory teacher regulatory authorities, teachers, school leaders, employers and initial teacher education providers to roll out these reforms. We will continue to do so until the job is done. 

To those teachers and school leaders who are working with universities and providing classroom practice placements to students, thank you for helping to lift the bar on quality teaching in Australia. We can’t do it without you!

A summary of the TEMAG reform achievements to date, as well as the challenges and opportunities before us, are contained here TEMAG Report Card. It’s a really clear snapshot of how the reforms are progressing and the next steps. But I am writing about this because making sure the profession are a part of these reforms is mission critical.

This is partly the reason why AITSL recently convened a national forum at Parliament House, which saw some of Australia’s education leaders, principals and teachers come together to talk about how we can better prepare teachers for the classroom. While the conversations were tough at times – change is never easy – one thing we agreed on is that these reforms are necessary if we want to develop great teachers who are ready to make an impact on student learning.

I was encouraged to hear about the closer relationships universities are forging with schools to ensure teacher education students are getting adequate and high-quality classroom practice to develop their skills. These are powerful connections that will deliver benefits for everyone – schools, beginning teachers, not to mention the universities, who are committed to the continuous improvement of their courses. 

On the same day as the forum, we met with the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to talk about quality teaching, school leadership and classroom readiness for graduate teachers. It was heartening to hear that he, and the government, are fully supporting the work we’re doing with the profession to develop and support the next generation of teachers.

As I said earlier, there has been much progress in the reforms, but we’ve still got a way to go to improve the quality of Australian initial teacher education, to make sure all graduate teachers are ‘classroom-ready’ and better prepared for the demands of the job.

If you have any questions relating to the reforms, or our work more generally, I’m always keen to hear from you. I can be contacted on ceo@aitsl.edu.au. Going forward, as we talk more about the TEMAG reforms and the work we do, I’ll share on our @aitsl Twitter account common questions or themes I see emerging from emails or conversations I have when I’m out at schools and events.

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    Lisa

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