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Transcript National Stakeholder Forum: Teachers Touch Tomorrow Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) AITSL hosted its third stakeholder forum May 2011, in Melbourne. Around one hundred participants representing teachers and school leaders across Australia met to discuss the development and implementation of standards for the teaching profession. Several AITSL board members and Professor Geoff Masters, the keynote speaker at the forum, discuss some of the key issues. Professor Geoff Masters Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) Standards, national standards if there to be of any value at all in my opinion, they must lead to improved outcomes for students in our schools. Allan Blagaich Executive Director, Metropolitan Schools, Department of Education, Western Australia The standards shouldn’t be something that are parked on the table somewhere in the staff room, they’re actually documents that are going to have to inform the way we work and the way we progress our schools. Sue Willis Pro Vice-Chancellor (Social Inclusion), Monash University We got a teacher who had been in the classroom for some thirty five years and he gave a speech to our graduating teachers and he said, “the one lesson I have for you is not teach well everyday, but learn something new everyday”. The end of that ten-minute speech he got a standing ovation, I’ve never seen a standing ovation at a graduation speech, but he got one. Those students went away knowing that learning something every single day as you’re a teacher is the important thing. I think that’s what the standards are about. The standards are about saying, not this is how we’ll judge you, but, this is how we’ll help you get to be a better teacher. And it is about getting better, not about looking better. Allan Shaw Chief Executive, Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia What’s most import for them is that those standards are applicable to them in their classroom day by day working with their children, that’s their core focus and those standards need to work from core focus of kids in classrooms all the way up to a national perspective of teaching across the country. Geoff Masters: In a profession, particularly professions that work with people there tend to be standards of practice and this is necessary because you are dealing with people, there are serious consequences of actions that are being taken so standards are developed in part to protect the patients or the students or the clients in a psychological practice for example. So professional standards of practice are developed as a shared understanding on the part of the profession about what is acceptable practice, what’s desirable practice and what’s going to protect the individuals involved. Allan Shaw: AITSL has a really important role to play in linking the profession and understanding the modes and manner in which the profession thinks and works and communicating that to politicians and doing the reverse; understanding how politicians operate, the policy environment in which they live and explaining that to the profession because that is a really important piece of work so that there is that alignment. Kerry Kavanagh Director, Workforce Development, Department of Education and Children’s Services, South Australia The work we’ve recently seen around the website is just going to be a sensational resource for teachers and I really think that teachers, once they know that it is there, will actually go to that and what they’ll do is actually see how the standards connect with their daily work and I think it also provides them with a huge opportunity for celebrating just what it is that great teachers do. Geoff Masters: We do need to recognise that there are practices that are better than some others, we do have a view as a profession and we do have knowledge; we have a knowledge base as a profession about more and less effective teaching practices, more and effective school leadership practices and these, if you like, are our standards of practice as a profession. We expect highly competent people to be pursuing these standards of practice.
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