Submission on draft proposed requirements for initial teacher education

Posted By TEU on Jun 9, 2010 |

TEU submission to the New Zealand Teachers’ Council consultation document

“Draft proposed requirements for initial teacher education”

9 June 2010

For further information please contact:

Jo Scott

Policy analyst

Joneen Walker

National teacher education representative

Draft proposed requirements for initial teacher education

The TEU agrees in principle with the proposed draft requirements for ITE.  We note that some of the suggestions will have funding implications for providers.  Alongside the adoption of these standards we ask that the Teachers’ Council, in conjunction with providers of initial teacher education make representation to government for additional funding for teacher education.

Individuals from TEU’s teacher education group have provided comments relating to their particular programmes, which in some cases differ from the general comments from the rest of the group.  However these have been included to ensure that the diversity of viewpoints is reflected.

1.  Graduating Teacher Standards

Strongly agree

2.  Academic entry

Strongly agree

3.  Literacy Competency

Strongly agree – however a concern was expressed with regard to students having ‘classroom ready’ language – especially in relation to one year programmes

4.  Numeracy Competency

Strongly agree

5.  Information Technology Competency

Strongly agree

6.  Te Reo Māori Competency

Strongly agree

7.  EAL Candidates

We note the importance of ‘classroom ready’ English.  Having studied in NZ for a period of time does not necessarily mean that the student is able to be understood clearly within the classroom setting.

An individual response…..Michelle Whitten (AUT) “I would argue that just because someone has studied at a NZ university does not mean they will necessarily have ‘class room ready’ English.  As we all know, the level of English required for fluent, rapid classroom language interactions is at a much higher level than that for academic degrees, and accent often remains a problem. Hence I disagree with the second exempted case.  This puts a lot of power into the hands of potential students who already argue strongly for exemption to our requirement.  I would prefer the wording, may not be required to…… rather than would not.  I like the last clause which seems to give the power back to us.”

8.  Selection into Programmes

Strongly agree

9.  Practicum

Strong agree with the number of weeks.  TEU would support that there should be two three week practicum within the first two years of a three to four year programme.  Also there needs to be some flexibility around the final placement being five weeks long – some programmes (mostly one year programmes) have four week blocks that are effective and successful.

10.  Field/Centre Base Programmes

Members from individual institutions will respond to this section.

11.  Field Base ITE and LAT’s

Members from individual institutions will respond to this section.

12.  Practicum Visiting

On staffing  – strongly agree – this needs to be carefully stated.  We need this to mean that staff must be teaching within the programme (not just employed for Teaching Practice visiting)  There is the potential for a huge ‘disconnect’ if we are going to have outside people visiting students on practicum.   Staff who teach in the programme need to visit for their own professional development and to keep up to date with what is happening in classrooms, to inform their teaching within the college courses and to provide on-going feedback to students.  We fear that college staff will doing their research during these blocks and be forced to set aside their responsiblities in relation to visiting on practicum.  However a second tier needs to be considered where there are not enough people within the ITE programme to visit  (this should be the exception, however).  Appropriately experienced and qualified people are needed if thisway of undertaking supervision is to be used at all i.e. recent classroom/ECE experience and working knoweldge of the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Whāriki.

Michelle Whitten (AUT) has a different view…..”We make no apology for using external visiting lecturers.  We actually think it is of value to our students. We use recently retired DP’s, ERO officers, subject advisors, etc all of whom are registered teachers.  These people meet with all of our students in Semester One and Two before the placements and talk with the students they will be visiting.  We use the same pool of visitors each placement and so our students will have met anyone who comes to visit them.  These visiting evaluators bring a breadth of perspective on practice which can only be of value to our students.  To imply that only ITE staff have the necessary skills to evaluate a student’s practice does I feel a huge injustice to a pool of people I feel are highly qualified to do this role. With the apparently growing trend in universities to employ only research active people on all programme, including ITE programmes, it is likely that students may be visited by people who have never been inside a classroom.  I think this is the battle to be fought, rather than insisting that visiting lecturers be staff who teach on ITE programmes.”

The teacher education group did also support the issue which Michelle raises in relation to staff having no classroom experience then being required to visit students on practicum.

Registered teachers – strongly agree.  It is a professional responsibility of staff within a teacher education programmeto be a registered teacher just as it is with nursing, dentisry, medicine etc.

Visiting frequency for one year programmes – agree – this may need to be strengthened by requiring that at least four of these visits are extended classroom observations, followed by conferencing and written feedback.

13.  Practicum Support

Agree but what will be deemed ‘sufficient’?  It could be tough on ITE to place requirements on associate teachers.  Perhaps these need to be expressed in terms of provision of adequate and realistic opportunities fro associate teachers to attend briefings (or equivalent paperwork).

14.  Programme Delivery

Teaching group size.  This is suggesting that a proportion of the classes must be workshop style with approx 20 – 30 student teachers.  We support this but feel that the wording is too vague.  Suggest additionally something of the form “class sizes should be such that there are opportunities for student teachers to participate in, and practice the skills required for successful classroom teaching.  There should be opportunities for student teachers to receive feedback about their development of classroom teaching skills.”

We believe that there needs to be a statement with regard to content within the course – i.e how much curriculum should students receive to meet the standard required by the NZTC.  We fear that some subject areas are being condensed to the point that they will no longer meet these requirements (in terms of the amount of teaching hours spent on them).

On-line / distance programmes – agree very strongly.

Current Requirements for ITE Programme

15.  Programme Entry

Strongly agree

16.  Programme Regulation

Strongly agree

Individual comment from Roger Harvey at VUW Is the requirements of completion in two years for one year diploma programmes is necessary?  Part time study is valid, and may be a good way to prepare people who wish to change career.  If they are doing the course spread over two years and have one fail in the end of the course then does this count as extenuating circumstances. Maybe the language could be softened.”

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