Supervising pre-service teachers: then and now
The role of a supervising teacher is undergoing significant change, with new demands at state and federal levels.
Supervision of pre-service teachers is an important element of contemporary professional practice.
Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the key changes that will now affect Queensland teachers.
Change 1: Queensland Professional Experience Reporting Framework
Previously, supervising teachers reported on progress and performance of the pre-service teacher using a variety of frameworks that varied depending on the higher education institution/s where the student was enrolled.
Now, all Queensland higher education institutions are committed to use a common reporting framework: The Queensland Professional Experience Reporting Framework (PERF).
The PERF is a suite of templates and procedures for reporting on practicum performance, with particular emphasis on the final practicum.
Developed through collaboration of a number of education stakeholders, the aim of the PERF is to ensure a streamlined and moderated approach to the assessment of professional experience; providing consistency and clarity across school sectors and higher education institutions.
Regardless of which higher education institution the pre-service teacher is attending, the practicum report and associated documents should conform to the common framework.
Change 2: The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
Prior to 2012, professional standards for Australian teachers varied between the different states and territories, as did the extent to which assessment of pre-service teachers was linked to those standards.
The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) were developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) in 2011 and adopted by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) in 2012. There are seven standards, broken down to a further 37 focus areas.
All graduating teachers are now assessed relative to the APST and transition from provisional to full registration requires demonstration of transition from the Graduate to Proficient levels of practice.
A further two levels of practice (Highly Accomplished and Lead) are recognised within the APST, with teachers able to apply for voluntary certification where the employing authority has established procedures for assessment of applications. When supervising a preservice teacher, practitioners are now asked to report against the APST.
QCT has developed an evidence guide for teachers supervising professional experience placements in Queensland schools and is currently developing a similar guide for teachers in early childhood education.
There are also a number of AITSL guidelines for both supervising and pre-service teachers.
Change 3: Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment
Pre-service teachers previously completed a variety of assessment tasks determined by the higher education institution where they were enrolled. QCT, in collaboration with Learning Sciences Institute Australia and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) is currently conducting a trial of a common Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment across government and non-government schools.
This is one of two trials of a common assessment task endorsed by AITSL. The second trial is being conducted in Victoria. Both the Queensland and Victorian trials are aimed at meeting recommendations from the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group’s 2015 Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers report.
The trial assessment task is linked to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and consists of four components:
- collecting and interpreting a range of data types for an assigned class;
- aligning curriculum, pedagogy and assessment with a focus on learning;
- annotating exemplars of student work at different achievement levels to inform next steps for teaching and learning;
- engaging in moderation using achievement standards.
Participants in the trial will complete a common assessment task during the final practicum.
No change: Payment for Supervision of a Pre-service Teacher
While these changes are significant for teachers to consider, payment for supervising pre-service teachers remain unchanged.
Payment for supervision of pre-service teachers was defined by the Australian Higher Education Practice Teaching Supervision Award 1990.
This agreement set the basic rate of payment at $21.20 per day and was terminated by Fair Work Australia in 2011.
Despite the widespread acknowledgement of the vital role played by supervising teachers, most universities continue to pay around, or slightly above, the 1990 award rate of $21.20 per day.
Our union, along with the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory branch of the IEUA, has campaigned for an increase in payment.
Our colleague union was successful in receiving an increase to $30 for teachers to supervise pre-service teachers from some universities.
While we continue to campaign for an increase in the allowance, our union has successfully achieved enhanced remuneration and time release for supervising teachers in a number of recently negotiated collective agreements.
This article was extracted from the February 2017 edition of Independent Voice.