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Merger Risks “Hollowed out” Teacher Training

Merger Risks “Hollowed out” Teacher Training

QPEC is deeply concerned at the proposed merger between the Auckland College of Education and Auckland University and the impact this will have on the preparation of teaching graduates.

Announcing the proposed merger the Minister of Education Trevor Mallard said –

"By combining Auckland University's research focus with the college's professional practice focus we will be able to train high quality teachers that are better suited to New Zealand's needs than can be trained by either institution operating independently"

Unfortunately the educational research focus at Auckland University sidesteps the social context of education so that the professional practice focus of the College could well shift to a “hollowed out” technical approach to teaching. The outcome could be teacher trainees who will be competent technically but lack an understanding of the critical importance of factors outside the school gate and how they impact on student learning in the classroom.

The University’s Education Department has already been heavily criticised for the quality of some recent research on literacy in South Auckland schools with its unsustainable conclusions about teacher effectiveness and student achievement.

Despite this research having been largely discredited the Minister of Education is fond of saying that the quality of teaching is the single greatest influence on students’ achievement. This is absolutely true but only if we ignore the far greater impact of influences outside the school gate – the greatest being poverty – which have a far greater influence on student achievement.

If we are to begin to raise student achievement across New Zealand communities then well rounded teacher graduates are essential. If we ignore the overwhelming impact of poverty on education then we condemn the victims of the economic reforms of the past 20 years to continuing the cycle of educational underachievement.

John Minto
National Chairperson

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