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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Director, Workforce Development, Department of Education and Children’s Services, South
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.