A major summit in Darwin discussing a new direction for teacher education in the Territory has achieved impressive results this week.
Students, teachers, principals, community members and education coordinators, led by CDU’s School of Education and the Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET), have identified ways to better prepare current and future teachers to deal with the complexities of the modern classroom.
CDU staff in coming weeks will use identified ‘graduate exit attributes’ from the summit to guide their work in redeveloping degree content that aligns with government requirements, benchmarks and quality assurance standards.
CDU’s Associate Professor Tina Doe said, ‘There is now increasing recognition that classroom work needs to marry rhetoric and practice. Through these new courses, we aim to make our teacher community more resilient and better equipped when they enter the classroom.’
Professor Richard Smith, Executive Dean Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education at Central Queensland University (CQU), addressed delegates on Monday.
Professor Smith emphasised the need to be bold and take leadership in preparing the next generation of teachers. This included implementing teaching programs with a social agenda in order to meet the needs of the 21st century.
‘Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is longer relevant, unless you know how to perform it,’ said Professor Smith.
‘In times of rapid change, sometimes our most important skills and knowledge become our greatest ‘baggage’. We need to look at our role not as preparing ‘teachers’ but rather ‘learning managers’, who can design strategies to achieve learning outcomes in students,’ Professor Smith said.
Suzanne Parry, Director Teacher Registration Board NT, yesterday addressed delegates on the role and direction of the Board in the Territory.
‘The first two or three years of a teacher’s career should be seen as their time at university. This will ensure graduates are fully prepared for the classroom once they leave university,’ she said.
Some of the key graduate exit attributes identified by the delegates to build classroom skills included critical thinking, a futures perspective, indigenous knowledge, written and oral communications, team work and IT skills. Many of these attributes were identified in response to employers increasing emphasis in the selection process on non-academic skills.
The development of a suite of new Territory-tailored teacher education courses aim to make study convenient, relevant and more effective, with program custom-built to suit the needs to the Territory.