The first major project funded by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) is to be conducted by a research team based at the University of New England.
The team will gather information from teachers across the nation that will help to ensure that the new Professional Standards for Teachers, to be introduced nation-wide during 2011, reflect the views and aspirations of teachers themselves.
The four team members – Professor John Pegg, Dr Greg McPhan, Dr Bruce Mowbray and Mr Trevor Lynch – are from the UNE-based National Centre of Science, ICT and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR National Centre).
Professor Pegg (pictured here), who is the Director of the SiMERR National Centre, explained that the National Professional Standards for Teachers describe – under four levels of professional expertise – what teachers should know and be able to do. “The four levels – ‘Graduate’, ‘Proficient’, ‘Highly Accomplished’ and ‘Lead Teacher’ – represent a national framework for the development of teachers from undergraduate preparation through to leadership roles in the profession,” he said. “The Standards list the knowledge, skills and attributes required of teachers at each of the four career stages.”
The validation process to be carried out by the SiMERR team is the next stage in the development of the new Standards, which have now reached draft form. The researchers hope to obtain feedback on the draft Standards from up to 14,000 teachers at about 1,000 schools through online surveys and focus group workshops in each State and Territory before the end of the year. “The design of our validation process enables teachers themselves to have a significant role in determining appropriate standards for the profession,” Professor Pegg said. “We believe that properly articulated standards can inform developments in quality teaching by establishing a platform for teachers’ career paths.”
The team has already begun collecting data, and plans to complete its report by the end of the year.
AITSL, formed at the beginning of 2010, provides national leadership for the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in promoting excellence in the profession of teaching and school leadership.