This report proposes radical changes to initial teacher education, “standards” against which teachers would be assessed, and performance pay-style “rewards” to be administered by principals.

Unfortunately, its more laudable aim “to raise the status, professionalism and overall quality of the teaching force” is lost in a document that is ill-informed and contradictory.

vision-or-nightmare

Erin Lawrence, Liz Parata and Bruce McDonald

This, however, is not surprising given that the “vision” was put together by a group of nine people who met for four half-days over six months. Two members had a strong business focus, and while two others were principals, there was no meaningful consultation with professionals, let alone parents.

 

And one of its recommendations has already appeared in current claims in industrial bargaining (making all units flexible), indicating that the very short period for people to make submissions on the vision (eight weeks to August 6) was as it seemed” token.

Over the next few months, NZEI will be developing a more robust vision for the teaching profession, NZEI Te Riu Roa Advancing Quality Public Education.

What the government proposes

Initial teacher education

  • Teacher training to become a one-year post-graduate course, followed by two years further post-graduate study to be completed while teaching.
  • “Better alignment” between the number of teachers being trained and the number of “appropriate” placements available.

What the professionals say:

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”Kerry Hawkins” hide_author_image=”standard” author_description=”principal” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

It is completely unrealistic to expect new teachers to complete further postgraduate study while also coming to grips with full-time responsibility. . . It is also unrealistic to expect parents to be comfortable with their kids being in the care of what could reasonably be described as still untrained teachers. Who would put their lives in the hands of partially trained pilots or surgeons?

[/g1_quote]

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”Bruce McDonald” hide_author_image=”standard” author_description=”principal” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

Teacher and school goodwill will be stretched if the alternative teacher training model is established. If it is then schools and teachers should be asked to consider a boycott of having trainee teachers in our schools as the model would definitely put the emphasis on schools to train student teachers how to teach; to act as consultants and advisors for the universities; and be paid a pittance for doing it.

[/g1_quote]

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

Rewards, recognition and progression

  • Increased focus on professional development during classroom release time and term breaks.
  • Performance-pay style rewards, determined by principals, to “incentivise” teachers. Permanent units that recognise career development to be scrapped.
  • New “standards” against which teachers would be assessed.

What the professionals say:

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”Erin Lawrence” hide_author_image=”none” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

Units are used for career paths and leadership roles and using them for ‘rewarding or recognising’ teachers would lead to an environment where teachers were hesitant to share, collaborate and co-operate.

[/g1_quote]

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”Lynne Holder” hide_author_image=”none” author_description=”principal” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

There is no one ‘treatment’ or ‘formula’ which can show a teacher is ‘performing’ better than another. What works one year, does not the next. A teacher in one school will be an ace and totally ineffective in another school. Teaching and learning are that complex something this government is not moved to recognise.

[/g1_quote]

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”Liz Parata” hide_author_image=”none” author_description=”principal” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

It is a fallacy to think that more standards will enable better judgments of capability and performance. Staff are already concerned at the numbers of sets of standards, yet the advisory group is recommending more.

[/g1_quote]

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

Leadership within schools

  • Compulsory training for aspiring and new principals.
  • Secondments for teachers aspiring to become principals, and professional mentoring for all principals.
  • Principals to “reward” excellence and distributed leadership.

What the professionals say:

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”Jeanette Tod” hide_author_image=”standard” author_description=”deputy principal” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

For principals, compulsory training has many implications and the sector needs to be fully engaged in clarifying these.

[/g1_quote]

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

Leadership of the profession

  • Refocusing the New Zealand Teachers Council as a “strong professional body” with a leadership role, but without representation from the sector.

What the OECD says:

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”OECD” hide_author_image=”standard” author_description=”Teachers Matter, 2005″ author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

The success of any reform requires that teachers themselves are actively involved in policy development and implementation. Unless teachers are actively involved in policy formulation … it is unlikely that substantial change will be successfully implemented.

[/g1_quote]

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

Issues of concern to Maori: To be considered at a later date.

The early childhood sector: Omitted from the report.

What the professionals say:

[g1_space]

[/g1_space]

[g1_quote author_name=”Erika Locke” hide_author_image=”none” author_description=”resource teacher of learning and behaviour” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”none” size=”s” style=”solid” template=”01″]

Early childhood teachers and Maori medium teachers must be included in this vision as they are part of the professional community of teachers.

[/g1_quote]