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Teach For Australia fits the bill for best practice

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Teach For Australia supports the principles proposed by the Advisory Group to strengthen initial teacher education in Australia. Our program, which recruits high achievers into teaching and trains them to make a difference in disadvantaged schools, is already meeting the recommendations for a best practice approach to initial teacher education.

The report suggests that Australia needs to do more to attract and select the best and brightest into teaching.

Many teacher education courses do not review applicants to ensure that they have the qualities and academic skills needed to become a successful teacher.

Teach For Australia is proud of the way in which we rigorously select candidates against eight key competencies that are aligned with skills, capabilities and workforce demands required in educationally disadvantaged schools.

Our evidence shows that this translates into the selection of highly effective teachers, who raise student achievement, move swiftly into positions of leadership (60 per cent by their second year) and can positively engage with a school community and help lift the culture of a school.

The report also calls for trainee teachers to be offered better practical experience in schools.

As an employment-based pathway into teaching, Teach For Australia’s approach allows Associates to immediately apply what they learn in their Master degree study to the context of their own classroom.

We ensure that theory and practice is integrated in to course design and that each Associate is comprehensively supported by three professionals – a Teaching and Leadership Adviser, School Academic Mentor and an in-school mentor throughout the two-year program. This support creates great teachers.

Over 75 per cent of principals surveyed last year stated that after one year in the classroom, their Associate had a greater or significantly greater impact on student achievement, mastery of content knowledge and demonstration of leadership than typical graduate teachers.

Additionally, the report recommends a stronger focus on research and evaluation on the effectiveness of teacher education.

For Associates, Teach For Australia has constructed a balanced scorecard methodology to assess teacher efficacy and impact on student engagement, wellbeing and academic achievement.

This year, we are collaborating with the Victorian Department of Education and Training to improve our understanding of the impact of Associates in their classrooms and schools.

Teach For Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to improving teacher education in Australia. We consistently work to ensure the high quality of our teacher education program, in order to combat education inequity in Australia.

The Australian Government established the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group in 2014 to provide advice on changes needed to the training of our teachers. The Advisory Group is chaired by Professor Greg Craven and members include Professor Kim Beswick, Mr John Fleming, Mr Trevor Fletcher, Ms Michelle Green, Dr Ben Jensen, Professor Eeva Leinonen and Professor Field Rickards.

Further information about TEMAG is available here.

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