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Providing High Quality Initial Teacher Education

Date: 11 September 2009

Providing High Quality Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

“The quality of graduates of initial teacher education programmes has a strong impact on the future quality of the teaching profession,” according to Dr Peter Lind, Director of the New Zealand Teachers Council. “Anecdotal reports suggest that the current quality of graduates is variable. On the one hand, there is strong endorsement of the calibre of ITE graduates but there is also concern at the ability of some graduates to be employed as beginning teachers”.

To address this issue, the New Zealand Teachers Council has drawn together teachers, professional leaders of schools and early childhood services, employers, teacher unions and teacher educators to revise the current requirements for the approval and the on-going monitoring of initial teacher education programmes.

The Council launched the Graduating Teacher Standards in 2007. Kathy Smith, Chair of the Council, said that “after extensive consultation with the profession and other key stakeholders, there was general agreement that these standards describe the knowledge, skills and attributes expected of beginning teachers. In approving and monitoring initial teacher education programmes, we expect tertiary providers to demonstrate how graduates of their programmes will be able to meet these standards.”

A consultation document is being released to gather feedback from the profession and those employing teachers on the requirements they identify as critical in the process of approving and monitoring initial teacher education programmes.

This consultation will take into account the significant shift of teacher education from stand alone institutions to universities. Dr Lind noted that “Over 96% of secondary school student teachers and 93% of primary school student teachers are now trained in universities. This means we need to work in conjunction with the New Zealand Vice Chancellor’s Committee in this work. At the same time over 50% of early childhood student teachers are being trained in wānanga, private training establishments and polytechnics so this means we also need to work in partnership with NZQA and the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics Quality Board”.

According to Dr Lind, “Initial teacher education requires an applied professional qualification. That means that partnerships and relationships with schools, early childhood services and kura need to be established and carefully nurtured. Most of our student teachers will spend a significant period of time applying the knowledge and skills they develop in the workplace under the close supervision of experienced practitioners. This is costly for the tertiary providers and the schools and early childhood services with whom these student teachers are placed. In establishing the new requirements for approving initial teacher education programmes, careful costing of these requirements and appropriate funding will need to be made if we are to provide the best quality initial teacher education possible.”

ENDS

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