We haven’t paid much attention to this, since there have been much smellier fish to fry. Still, it is worth some attention.
In April, Alan Tudge launched a Review into Initial Teacher Education, and in June a Discussion Paper was released, with an invitation for submissions. Today (midnight?) is the cut-off for submissions.*
We wrote on Tudge’s launching of the Review and, prior to that, on Tudge’s speech on general educational issues. We gave both a “meh” review. In particular in regard to ITE, we couldn’t get that excited, since reforming ITE can have no great effect while teachers are released into the current moribund, admin-bloated, directionless, culture-free educational system. Training a Jack Brabham and then throwing him into a Morris Minor is not gonna win you a lot of races.
Still, there are things worth saying, and so it is probably worth saying them for the Review. We’ll submit something.
The Discussion Paper for the Review seems well-written, although it is largely concerned with formal detail of little interest to us (and perhaps of questionable importance). Responses to the discussion paper are then intended to be guided by questions appearing at the end of each section. Again, most of these questions do not concern us, but a few seem suitable for the anchoring of criticisms. The following are the questions to which we intend to reply, followed by an indication of how we might reply:
What can be done to attract more high-achievers and career changers to the profession?
(Um, make the job not suck? Have a coherent curriculum, which assumes and encourages a culture of learning, and get rid of the endemic Little Hitlerism.)
What features of the current ITE system may prevent high-quality mid- to late-career professionals transitioning to teaching?
(Everything. It is all pointless. For everyone. One learns to teach by teaching, and the rest is trivial.)
What are the main reasons ITE students leave an ITE course before completion?
(Perhaps a distaste for insanity.)
Are the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers fit for purpose in identifying the key skills and knowledge pre-service teachers need to be ready for the classroom?
(The Professional Standards are not fit for wrapping yesterday’s garbage.)
How can ITE providers best support teachers in their ongoing professional learning?
(By staying as far away as possible.)
Do the current HALT (Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers) arrangements support the education ecosystem, particularly in relation to ensuring quality mentoring and supervision of ITE students?
(Of course not. “Highly accomplished” doesn’t mean highly accomplished, it means playing the game and playing it safe. Genuinely highly accomplished teachers take risks and make errors and put noses out of joint; these teachers, who are the true leaders, will seldom if ever be recognised by any such system.)
Does ACER’s Literacy and Numeracy Test Suck Balls?**
*) Notably there is no ACARAesque sheep-herding survey, and submissions can simply be written as text, or uploaded as a Word/PDF file.
**) The Discussion paper mentions ACER’s test, but somehow failed to question its worth. We’ve corrected their oversight.