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Three steps to improve the quality of teaching and learning

16 November 2012

A submission by ACER CEO, Professor Geoff Masters, to the Senate Inquiry on Teaching and Learning on maximising our investment in Australian schools in October, suggests measures to restrict and raise the quality of student intakes to teacher education.

‘If Australia aspires to be among the world’s highest-performing nations in school education, it will need to learn from world’s best practice in the selection of its teachers. This will mean developing clarity about the attributes sought in future teachers and testing for those as part of initial teacher education selection processes,’ Professor Masters observes in his submission.

‘Another key to raising the status of teaching as a profession is to control more tightly the numbers of students being admitted to teacher education courses.

‘The admission of large numbers of students into teacher education courses not only leads to a situation where many graduates are unable to find employment (the case currently in some Australian states), but also can lower the quality of teacher preparation itself.’

Alongside measures to restrict and raise the quality of student intakes to teacher education, Professor Masters’ submission identifies two further steps that governments can take to enhance the quality of teaching and learning: set and confirm the achievement of minimum standards for registration; and recognise and reward the development of specialist knowledge and skills.

‘The introduction of national assessments of teacher competence…would be an important step in ensuring that every beginning teacher meets minimally acceptable standards of essential skills before being registered to teach,’ Professor Masters observes in his submission.

‘A third general strategy for improving the quality of teaching and learning in Australian schools is to recognise and reward the development of high-level pedagogical knowledge and skill. This strategy depends on clarity about the nature of highly effective teaching, continual professional development in the implementation of evidence-based practices, and processes for recognising and rewarding expert teaching.’ ■

Read the full report:
Professor Geoff Masters’ Enhancing the Quality of Teaching and Learning in Australian Schools submission to the Senate Inquiry on Teaching and Learning on maximising our investment in Australian schools at <research.acer.edu.au/tll_misc/16>

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