A qualified teacher in every class

THANKS to everyone who’s added to the coversation recent posts about Retraining Australia. To move the conversation along; I’d like to raise a point, which I am sure can be explained by PR; but not through pedagogy. Public Education advertising on TV and Radio has promoted the fact that there is a qualified teaching in every classroom; a claim refuted often by Unions.

Here’s an extract from a letter from a 2008 letter, to the NSW Teacher’s Federation from DET. It’s amazing how many PDF’s the DET seem to leave online. In it; the clearly state that there is a qualified teacher in every room. Qualified, as in B.Ed perhaps; but certainly not qualified in running netbooks, wifi and IWBs in the classroom in the spirit of the ‘Ruddy Revolution”.

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Chances are the teacher is not ‘qualified’ to use the equipment and the students are more ‘net savvy’ than those teaching them. As parents – we have to demand quality assurance; that after we take on the risk of accepting the netbook; that the teacher will be able to teach with it. Else why bother?

We are not yet seeing any public education (national curriculum or otherwise) definitions / attribute of 21st Century Students are – and therefore cannot ‘teach’ them. There is as many in the thread have said a fundamental failure to deal with retraining and reliance of the professionalism and support of early adopters (which is a misconception – as these teachers are in fact long term supporters).

So what is the definition of a qualified, competent 21st Century teacher – according to the Digital Revolution – is the an ISTE NETs for teachers we are yet to see?

Perhaps; if parents and the public – began seeing crafted messages around the fact that many teachers are ill-equipped, un-prepared and un-qualified to teach in the ‘vein’ of the Digital Revolution – we might begin to see some real focus on investment in people; not just atom powered netbooks.

The changes to staffing in the current transfer system place place even greater pressures equity. There are mixed messages on DET public pages – that give the impression that social media is being embedded into learning; but the reality is vastly different. I find it hard to even do PD in DET school using Web2.0; the list of banned sites almost cripples it. How then can staff in schools do it either?

In the last few comments; there are clearly EPIC levels of change needed in public education to ensure kids don’t have to ‘power down’ at school. If that’s the case – why send kids to school?

In the mean time; I’m still wide open to the idea of starting Virtual PD and High School. Anyone, anyone, anyone?


11 thoughts on “A qualified teacher in every class

  1. Take a step back and consider the sloagn: Lifelong Learning. As an English teacher, I know few who read for pleasure. Even fewer who use technology socially. I still stand shocked as I watch teachers frantically reading a poem or pages of a HSC text as they type questions out, print them and head off to class.
    A qualified person in a 21st century classroom? I guess we have to get 21st century classrooms first…
    Personally I have recently arrived at a school after having an IWB, 20 odd pc’s, plus recording equipment for films to a room with a whiteboard. I have take steps backwards in the type and kind of learning occurring. Learning still occurs, just in a one d fashion, not the 4D that is ‘coming’…

    • A vary valid point, there was much said at Education AU’s symposium that I was lucky to attend – about this problem – it’s almost chicken and the egg – tech classrooms or tech skills – which first. I live your comment about reading; I really only read 2000AD as a kid; and football magazines (shocking I know), and it really has only been the last few years that I’ve started reading ‘books’ – (heyjude falls over laughing). There are a lot of unexpected outcomes form diving into read/write/create/modify media; and without people ‘modelling’ it in schools for people to see; then it’s almost impossible to conceptualise. But as 9th grade get their printing presses; I have to think the Revolutionary Road is a single track; and not the super-highway that in the media; it appears to be.

  2. Yes, I have long pondered the nature of professionalism in Education, often turning to professional associations for experience and contacts that may not have been available in my workplace. My experience, as an English teacher, is somewhat similiar to Troy’s. Sometimes this has made me feel sad but mostly one learns to look to your own classes and their needs, rather than the staffroom.

    Increasingly, since moving from Sydney, I am not travelling to weekend meetings and conferences but gaining professional contact online. I will travel to listen to the new BoS president, Mr. Tom Alegounarias, at the Professional Teachers’ Council gathering in Leichardt on the 12th August, to hear his vision and hopefully, support for professional associations. The future cannot be left to small groups of educators far from the classroom to prescribe content from afar, we need to engage positively. I will be listening closely.

    The above is not training. It is an example however, of the incredible range of areas that an educator needs to stay abreast – of which curriculum and curriculum authorities are only one. This will always be a challenge.

    It is important, in my role as a DP, that I find professional development opportunities for my colleagues, especially with pedagogy, leadership, technology and student welfare. There is much more than this needed of course, including understanding DET policy and protocols – on an ever-widening range of topics – which is extant. Much of it we run ourselves at school, encouraging a motto of, who can I help, who can help me?

    There are very few consultants in regional offices nowadays and they are stretched. Many of the Principals and DPs are at the end of long careers of service and may not have the tech savvy classroom skills needed either. Few have much time for training left.

    I personally find that delivering workshops and sessions facilitates my own learning as I try to stay relevant and more importantly, demonstrate a commitment to life-long learning (which I genuinely enjoy). I am seeking to train myself, using online tutorials and savvy colleagues, with new software made available to me by my employer.

    Dean, I agree with you mostly on most things, in Education like everywhere else, we need to gain new skills, quickly!

  3. teaching , mentoring, coaching and other titles requires passion and persistance…..Peers are not timely to teach…..Students are like sponges…they require set boundaries, standards and agendas otherwise they go in all directions, leaving the instructors in a quandry? The speed of the sponge is without boundaries????Boredom sets in and the teacher is out of the picture???can u digg this???

    • Digg as in the site, or digg as in groovy? – I can’t say that I get the timely bit, or that that students are like sponges. There are standards in place set by the curriculum and assessment and yes they need a framework; but they don’t need information poured into them like a sponge until they can’t take anymore or lose interest. A good teacher is not one that trains the student for the exam; but trains them how to learn – after they leave school – who is going to give them the boundaries?

  4. I have just experienced a staff development day at a secondary school. As a casual teacher new to the job I was amazed at the number of teachers gagging at the thought of dealing with year nine and their netbooks. It seems to me the resentment stems from a top down authority rejection issue. Perhaps the DET need to consider its change management techniques rather than DER. The DER had to come eventually maybe the entry could have been a little more refined, especially with the old dudes so set in their ways(most teachers).
    I am an optimist,I can see students running with these net books (not literaly although some Pdhp teachers want the students to practice discuss with them) and exploring them and being creative with them, with or without teachers. Colaboration will be rife, for good or evil who knows?(There is some good software on them)they will be used but not in the way they were intended. Students will brag how thet taught the teacher! That is Relevance straight from the Quality Teaching Model!.
    You give most of these kids a hint of what these things can do and they will either run with it or drop it like a brick. Who needs teachers when you give them a blank canvas like the netbooks, we just need to fire their imagination and Im sure most will find the ways and means to create, colaborate and communicate like they have with phones, mms, twitter, bluetooth, Myspace and Facebook. Did they need teachers to embrace those technologies?

    • I firmly believe that to be a ‘facilitator’ with 1:1, you have to create and maintain an online learning community – and that is a learned skill – it is founded on theory as well as practice. Digital text, as we know is different. To be motivating, the learning has to be realistic, relevant and have resonance with the students. If not using ‘spaces’ they prefer (incidentally more play social games that go near FaceBook); then teachers need to understand that the information processes (check the IPT syllabus diagram) are completely different to using technology on your own. To me that has to come in two parts 1) I am willing to take one step forward and 2) that I will get training & recognition for it. Troy said that teaching is a profession where you can get away with not updating personal technology skills; but that is a culture we live and breath; what is not acceptable is the system that created it, not expects not to sustain it or offer any defined alternatives.

  5. As a teacher if IT at a senior high school, and being one chosen to help teachers with the new Laptops for Learning, I am frightened by the lack of knowledge and understanding of some of the staff, both old and young, of knowledge in use of digital learning capabilities of these units.

    I have been holding after school sessions for teachers for a term now, and am going to continue this, but I am astounded at the lack of enthusiasm for this session by my fellow teachers, especially those digitally challenged.

    I have proof of how the generation we are now teaching being totally bored in class, and can’t blame them. It’s not really the fault of the teachers, you have to blame the system, as there is little money, for those of us who want to better our teaching, for professional development.

    Yes, teachers have to take all the opportunities they can to learn, but also, there has to be incentive for those teachers to want to learn, and with the amount of work one has to put in already, the pay and conditions aren’t an incentive.

    What is the answer: we need funds spent on professional development of teachers in the area of digital learning, also we need to treat our teachers with the respect they deserve and give them cashews instead of peanunts for wages and make the classrooms more condusive to learning in the digital age. Also, as one has pointed out already, stop banning all the sites that have a wealth of learning potential, and start to trust the professional judgement of the adult teachers in the classroom to choose appropriate material as they were a few years ago before this big brother “ban this site and ban that site” came in.

    Lets stop blaming teachers, yes, we can take a bit of ‘learn what we can when we can’, but there is no incentive for teachers to learn the digital revolution that is coming to classrooms next year. Only those of us who teach IT (most, not all) can see the potential for digital tools and the benefits of them to learning potential for students today.

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