Thursday, 25 Oct 2012
25 October 2012: A key to achieving the Prime Minister’s goal of placing Australia in the top five school systems in the world will be to redouble efforts to ensure that every child has an excellent teacher, according to ACER Chief Executive, Professor Geoff Masters.
Speaking ahead of World Teachers’ Day, which is being celebrated in Australia on Friday 26 October, Professor Masters said that increased achievement levels in Australian schools depended on all teachers doing what the best already do.
“An outstanding teacher is one of the most precious gifts a child can be given,” Professor Masters said. “Teachers make a huge difference to children’s lives and futures. The best teachers are inspirational and build a love of learning.”
Professor Masters said that one of the most important educational challenges facing governments was to enhance the status of teaching as a profession.
“A characteristic of most high-performing countries is that teachers are held in very high regard within the community. Governments have found ways to attract the best and brightest into teaching, and admission to university teacher education programs is highly competitive. These countries restrict places in their teacher education courses and graduating teachers are highly qualified. For example, teachers in Finland typically have a master’s degree.
“Teaching can be highly rewarding, but is also increasingly complex,” Professor Masters said. “Teachers must keep abreast of rapidly changing technologies and provide support for a wide range of personal and social issues that students now face. Professional work of this kind requires highly skilled, caring individuals.”
Professor Masters identified several steps that governments can take to enhance the status of teaching.
First, make entry to teacher education courses more competitive by reducing the total numbers of teachers being trained and setting higher hurdles for course admission.
Second, confirm through rigorous assessments that teacher graduates meet minimum national standards of literacy and numeracy, as well as standards for the teaching of these skills, prior to registration.
Third, develop research-based descriptions of highly effective teaching practices, provide professional learning to develop these practices, and recognise and reward teachers who consistently implement best practice.
ACER Corporate Communications Manager
Phone: (03) 9277 5582
Mobile: 0419 340 058