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Australian graduate teachers develop bad practices: experts

Aug 11, 2014
Senior education professors said most of the teaching that occurs daily in Australian classrooms is bad practice and is based on a teacher's own experience rather than the best teaching methods, local media reported on Tuesday.

In a submission to the federal government's review of teacher education, Southern Cross University professors David Lynch and Richard Smith argued teachers are not getting evaluated after completing a four-year degree, which is leading to "malpractice," The Australian newspaper reported.

"The achilles heel of teaching as a profession is ... the idea that the 'best' teachers just make up their own teaching approaches based on their own experience and theories," the submission says. "These teaching beliefs have the effect of encouraging what might be termed malpractice as the norm for teachers in their daily teaching work."

The professors said there was a lack of universal standards in Australia, which made profession "immature," and teaching students needed more time in the classroom to be evaluated.

"Imagine if medical practitioners, nurses, airline pilots or architects held parallel beliefs," the submission says.

"Real standards for teaching should be specified in teacher preparation for teaching work in contrast to descriptions or attributes of 'good' teachers."

The submission said a wholesale redesign and rethinking of the way teachers are trained is required.

The first step would be to assess how well teaching degrees prepared students to teach by evaluating how well new graduates taught by assessing them while they taught.

Lynch said the system for training doctors in teaching hospitals provided a model for the teacher profession, and he advocated establishing a network of exemplary teaching schools.

Lynch and Smith designed such a system in the early 2000s, in which students spent much more time in classrooms in partner teaching schools. On graduating, new teachers were assessed by experts, who observed them in the classroom.

[From Xinhua]
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