Initial Teacher Education Outcomes: Standards for graduating teachers Publications
Initial Teacher Education Outcomes focuses on expectations for what initial teacher education graduates need to be able to do on entry into the profession and the resources they need to be able to draw on. The paper outlines the role and nature of standards in the current international context, provides a critique of current approaches and considers how standards for New Zealand graduates might be most effectively designed to support effective teaching.
The Teaching for Better Learning Model proposes inquiry-oriented standards. These standards foreground and are structured around inquiries that inform decision-making about learning priorities, teaching strategies, classroom practice and student outcomes drawing on the resources of knowledge, competencies, dispositions, ethical principles and commitment to social justice. Inquiry-oriented standards emphasise the context-dependent nature of effective teaching and the centrality of ongoing professional learning in developing professionals who are adaptive experts. A further element of the model, inquiry into the education system, requires that teachers as professionals engage with concerns about improving the system in which their work is set.
Author(s): Graeme Aitken, Claire Sinnema and Frauke Meyer, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland.
Date Published: May 2013
This paper and its companion, Learning to Practise (2013), are designed to inform policy and promote discussion on programme development for initial teacher education and the mentoring of beginning teachers. The papers are among a number of initiatives to improve the quality of teaching in ways that raise outcomes for learners, particularly those not deriving fair benefit from the current system.
This paper proposes expectations for teacher candidates at the point of graduation and entry into the profession: what they should be able to do, and the knowledge, competencies, dispositions, ethical principles, and commitment to social justice that they should possess. We refer to these expectations as 'standards' but we use the term synonymously with 'graduate profile', acknowledging that institutions, particularly universities, may describe profiles that encompass more general characteristics consistent with their obligations under the Education Act.
We begin by outlining the challenges involved in writing standards for initial teacher education. We then examine the current international and New Zealand contexts with the aim of understanding how best to design standards that will support quality teaching. This leads us to propose an inquiry-oriented model for graduate teaching – the Teaching for Better Learning model – together with related standards.
The standards we propose are structured around a series of inquiries designed to establish learning priorities and teaching strategies, examine the enactment of strategies and their impact, determine professional learning priorities, and critique the education system. In making these inquiries, teacher candidates draw on as resources education's body of knowledge, competencies, dispositions, ethical principles, and their own commitment to social justice. The standards emphasise the context-dependent nature of effective teaching and, therefore, adaptive expertise as the hallmark of a professional teacher. We conclude by raising some implications of inquiry-oriented standards for a graduate profile and teacher education curricula.
In its vision for the teaching profession, the Education Workforce Advisory Group Report outlines four key system characteristics. Our proposed standards most strongly connect with the first and third of these characteristics: "clear and high professional standards at entry and induction to the profession so that high quality, capable people enter the profession" and "[a system that has at its heart] ongoing professional learning and development" (New Zealand Government, 2010, p. 5).
The standards proposed in this paper are designed not only to define the qualities and capabilities of graduates entering the profession, but also the competencies required by teachers to continue learning, developing and improving the effectiveness of their teaching.
The companion paper identifies and discusses the kinds of teacher education experiences that will support teacher candidates to meet the proposed standards.
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