It’s time to reclaim the profession
The potential workload burden of more national testing highlights the need to reclaim the profession and for governments and employers to listen to the professional insights and judgements of teachers.
Testing for Year 1 students ignores teachers’ critical judgements
The looming possibility of teachers with Year 1 students having to conduct a national literacy and numeracy check is a clear attack on the professional competency of teachers.
An advisory panel established by the federal government has recommended that one-on-one literacy and numeracy checks be implemented for Year 1 students — a huge time commitment for teachers who are already running other classroom assessments.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said such discussion in these terms disguises the real issues in the proposal.
“Our union will not allow the professional judgements of teachers to be ignored simply to accommodate more arbitrary national testing.
“Teachers make those assessments; they do not need a regimented, formalised, and context-absent standardised national regime.
“The value of our members’ critical judgements when it comes to their students in their classrooms is greater than any conclusion a standardised test can derive.
“A commitment by the federal government to providing adequate training, resources and space for teachers to make their own professional judgements is absolutely essential,” Mr Burke said.
No acknowledgment of professional voice
The exclusion of the professional voice and judgement of teachers continues with universities now requiring students aspiring to enter teacher education courses to submit a “non-academic” 1000-word essay as supplement to the established academic requirements.
Mr Burke said universities and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) had failed to communicate with the profession – with the changes in Queensland clearly a response by the universities to meet new requirements imposed by AITSL.
“There are no practising teachers or representatives from teacher unions on AITSL’s board, or any of its key decision making committees.
“AITSL presents itself as an advocate for the profession, but the reality is that they are conducting their activities at a dysfunctional distance from the profession.
“We have yet another decree from AITSL with significant ramifications for practitioners if it is enacted.
“As long as practising teachers and their union as representatives are excluded from decision making processes, any impositions cannot be seen to appropriately consider the perspective of those who actually work in the profession,” he said.
Reclaim our professional voice
Mr Burke said it is becoming commonplace for the agenda of governments and regulatory bodies to eclipse the voice of teachers in critical areas where the professional judgments of teachers should have priority.
“The voice of our union and its members will not be silenced by those seeking to dictate what should happen in a classroom from the distance of closed boardroom doors —several degrees away from any educational environment.
“We will call out any and all attempts to diminish the professional standing of teachers.
“We will take back what is ours – we must reclaim the profession,” Mr Burke said.
Further information about current professional issues which impact members’ practice can be viewed here.