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Teachers must rebuild trust in themselves

Teachers must rebuild trust in themselves says veteran educator

PALMESTON NORTH – Teachers must learn to trust in each other and co-operate professionally to regain the respect of the wider community, according to Emeritus Professor John Codd.

In a speech to Massey University College of Education graduates in Palmerston North today, Professor Codd, a veteran education specialist and former University Council member, told the graduates, most of whom are now teaching, that they had taken on a task “essential to human survival itself”.

But he described as a “grim paradox” the contradiction between the importance and value of education to society and the extent to which the community and its political leaders actually valued the education profession.
He cited the Massey University research report released by the Education Ministry and Teachers’ Council last week that found New Zealand teachers felt overworked, undervalued, underpaid and insufficiently supported.

The same report also found many teachers had low opinions of the ability and performance of some of their colleagues.

Professor Codd said it was urgent that society found ways to value educational professionals more highly and that there were ways teachers themselves could help to achieve this.

One was through professional co-operation. “Collective action is more effective in achieving goals than isolated individual effort,” he said.

Another was to learn to trust each other in a society preoccupied by risk and risk management. “Risk breeds fear and fear engenders mistrust. Teachers, along with other professionals, appear to be trusted less and less. They are not even trusted to comfort children physically because of the fear of child abuse.”

To counter this, teachers needed to build a professional community bound by an ethical code. “Professional educators must have the confidence and trust in themselves to make those judgements and to be prepared to justify them to those who are so affected.”

Ends

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