CEO of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), Mark Grant, discusses the important role of teachers and school leaders and the professional learning resources available to support them throughout their careers.
Like many of you, I started my career as a passionate teacher leading the learning of school students. I was also fortunate to spend 12 years working as a principal. Those experiences not only shaped me as a person but gave me a valuable perspective when I joined AITSL as CEO. It is something that is top of mind as AITSL continues to put evidence-based tools and resources into the hands of teachers across the country so you can confidently lead the learning of your students.
A constant theme throughout my career has been the importance of making sure that teachers and school leaders are well supported to address and respond to the varied and complex demands of the job.
No matter what stage you are at in your career, or where in Australia you teach, it is crucial you have opportunities to grow as a professional. This means having access to clear career paths with opportunities to gain and leverage your expertise, which will help you contribute to improved student learning outcomes.
AITSL is here to help support all teachers’ professional development in a nationally consistent way, one where quality and accessibility are key components. It is important that evidence-based resources are developed and offered, and that educators have the opportunity to apply them across all career stages, experiences, locations and modes of teaching and school leadership employment.
Across Australia there are more than 328,500 dedicated teachers and school leaders charged with the responsibility of educating the next generation of young Australians. You are part of this immense and impressive group and face a complex range of challenges and factors that impact your day-to day professional experiences. It follows that in an environment of constant change, with a diverse range of students, there is also an incredibly diverse range of professional learning needs within the primary teaching profession.
While many of the professional learning needs and challenges may be specific to an educator and influenced by their school, location and community, the reality is there are many shared and core competencies that can be learned to meet the professional growth needs of all primary school educators.
In fact, one of the things that really drew me to joining AITSL is the unique position the organisation occupies in the Australian education sector, and the incredible opportunity we have to directly support teachers in the classroom.
We are an independent voice for the teaching profession and use it to advocate on your behalf to key decision makers in all states and territories, across all systems and sectors.
Our work is geared towards promoting excellence and supporting educators to have the greatest possible impact on their learners. We pride ourselves on close collaboration with the profession and I’m determined to make our two-way engagements with teachers and school leaders even stronger.
With that in mind, I’m pleased that we are providing access through our website to new, practical professional learning resources.
Recently we consulted with more than 1000 teachers and education leaders across Australia on their professional learning needs. Their responses reinforced the critical importance of professional learning. Based on what all respondents told us, we found that:
* 76 per cent of teachers wanted to change something in their teaching.
* Only 20 per cent of leaders are involved in the professional learning of their school.
* A common barrier for rural and remote teachers and early childhood teachers is the shortage of casual relief teachers.
* While 64 per cent of teachers undertook four or more professional learning activities, 27 per cent of casual or relief teachers reported no professional learning activities.
* The most popular approach to professional learning was attending a course, though there are other emerging activities including professional reading, online learning, and professional conversations.
I encourage you to come and explore our website and check out our professional learning video case studies, new templates and guides, as well as the underpinning research and evidence. They have all been created to help you. The new resources are available at www.aitsl.edu.au/professional-learning.
We remain committed to ensuring that evidence informs the tools and resources we provide you. And we will continue to refine and co-develop resources you can use throughout your career.
The work you do in schools every day is vitally important. AITSL is proud to be able to provide support to teachers with the practical learning tools they need for achieving success in the classroom.
Ph: 03 9944 1200