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Teacher training overhaul to stem classroom bailout

The country’s education ministers are backing an overhaul of teacher training to stem a growing exodus from the profession.

Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Improving practical teaching experience, strengthening programs and boosting pathways are among the recommendations of the Teacher Education Expert Panel to improve the training of educators.

A report by the panel says initial teacher education needs an upgrade to better equip the next generation of educators.

“There are greater expectations placed on teachers than ever before,” it said.

Education Minister Jason Clare and his state and territory counterparts have agreed in principle to all 14 recommendations, including national guidelines for practical teaching by the end of 2023 and fixing accreditation standards and procedures.

Clare said it was critical to see teaching rates increase.

“A lot of teachers tell me they did not feel like they were prepared for the classroom when they finished university,” he said.

“(They say) that their university course didn’t prepare them well enough to teach things like literacy and numeracy and manage classroom behaviour, and that prac wasnt up to scratch. This report is about fixing that.”

Panel chair and University of Sydney vice chancellor Mark Scott said it was important to ensure future teachers had a great start to their career.

“We want to attract the best possible candidates into teaching, and what we can see now as a result of the pandemic is that teacher shortages have got worse as a result,” he said.

“Schools are … complex and demanding places and experienced teachers are saying it has not been as demanding as it has been today.”

Scott said the experience of recent school graduates during COVID-affected years may have put them off studying teaching.

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He said changing teacher training would be crucial to boosting retention rates.

“If we get this right and make programs more compelling, we think more students will complete initial teacher education programs,” he said.

A 10 per cent increase in teacher education program participants would result in 3000 more graduates entering the sector, according to the report.

-AAP

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