100 days in-school experience for trainee teachers: Calls for Government to toughen standards
The government must mandate more rigorous training protocols for new teachers with a minimum of 100 days of practical experience in schools, proposes the Australian Government Primary Principals’ Association (AGPPA).
AGPPA President Gabrielle Leigh said that the unpredictable and widely variable quality of teacher training courses offered by different Australian universities has meant that many trainee educators entering the workforce are not fully equipped to succeed as teachers.
“Principals in Australian Government Primary Schools are encountering newly qualified teachers who have not mastered basic literacy and numeracy concepts, together with some who have hardly seen the inside of a classroom. Inconsistencies between teacher training institutions, course content and outcomes are generating teachers with widely varied competencies, including some who are simply not ready to teach. In order to train and produce high quality future teachers, we need the government to outline a clear vision for world-class pre-service education in Australia.”
AGPPA asserts that the government needs to include stricter entry criteria into pre-service teacher education courses with a focus on literacy and numeracy skills, mandatory practical classroom experience in the first months of every course and the creation of unified course content that aligns with AITSL teacher standards and the Australian Curriculum.
“Admission to teacher education programs must be more rigorous; practitioners supervising trainee educators must be highly qualified; and professional standards in the initial and developing stages of training and education must be explicit. AGPPA strongly urges that there is a requirement for all teaching course applicants to pass an entrance test that indicates suitable literacy and numeracy competency. Successful applicants should also be expected to undertake a minimum of 100 days of practical experience in schools, teaching students. It is essential that potential teacher graduates have training in the real-world-application of teaching, with exposure to a wide range of school experiences. To enhance the experience, schools should have a designated and funded liaison leading teacher who works closely with the pre-service students and the teacher training institution.”
AGPPA, representing over 5000 government primary schools across all States and Territories of Australia, believes that more demanding and uniform teacher training processes will ensure that pre-service education is high quality, comprehensive and relevant to 21st century teaching and learning practices. Principals across Australia may be forced into not supporting placement of teacher trainees in schools, unless the current concerns around teacher training courses and practicum time are addressed as a matter of urgency – both by universities and by education systems. Current and future students must have the highest quality teachers in every classroom.
“A consistent, Australia-wide training approach, mandated by the government, is crucial to ensure would-be teachers will succeed in the complex environment of our 21st century schools,” said AGPPA President Gabrielle Leigh.