With the new school year now in full swing, the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) team is forging ahead on its program of work to support quality teaching and school leadership, as acting CEO Edmund Misson explains.
Unquestionably it’s going to be a big year for education, with new cohorts of students to teach and inspire, a continued focus on excellent teaching and the status of the profession, and the use of evidence to ensure all educators can thrive.
Amidst all of this activity, Australia’s teachers and school leaders continue their crucial work at the frontline of delivering the best possible outcomes for students. AITSL is here to help you get on with what you do best – having an impact in the classroom.
A big year for professional learning
With so much happening in every school, we want to make sure Australia’s teachers have access to the additional tools and support they need to reach their goals for the year.
That’s why a big focus for AITSL in 2019 will be ensuring teachers and school leaders like you have opportunities for effective professional learning. The right kind of professional learning can boost student achievement and amplify your effectiveness as a teacher.
We’re talking about professional learning which is relevant and context-focussed, and keeps in sight our collective goal to improve learner growth and achievement. We’re talking about professional learning which is embedded, sustained and collegial – because research tells us that’s what has the biggest impact.
At the heart of all AITSL work is evidence and collaboration. That’s fitting because collaboration with teacher colleagues is also an important factor in professional learning.
While this is true for all teachers, undoubtedly there are cohorts whose circumstances make it hard for them to access collaboration opportunities and high-quality professional learning. These include early childhood, casual/relief, and rural, regional and remote area teachers.
This issue is absolutely on AITSL’s radar. Informed by a national dialogue on high quality professional learning convened late last year, we are right now looking at solutions and recommendations for improving professional learning opportunities for these cohorts of teachers.
A key focus must remain making sure all teachers feel valued, supported and included as members of the profession.
In line with our philosophy of working with the profession for the profession, we’ve consulted widely to get to this stage and will continue doing so as this work progresses.
School leader support
We know school leaders have an immense impact when they have the time to focus, develop and reflect on how to lead teaching and learning for maximum impact.
Throughout 2019, we’re looking forward to empowering school leaders to do all of that and more, no matter what state or territory, or system and sector they’re in.
One really useful and relatively new resource for school leaders is our ‘Leading for impact: Australian guidelines for school leadership development’. These guidelines are aimed at making it easier for systems and sectors, principals and other education leaders to find and develop future leaders, and ensure pathways to leadership are clear and inclusive.
AITSL’s evidence-informed recommendations and advice describe what teachers need to develop their leadership skills, and the specific preparation of those who aspire to become a principal. They also guide the professional growth of current principals.
During 2019, strengthening principal preparation and helping school leaders prioritise the leadership of learning for maximum student impact will be particular areas of AITSL’s focus. We’ll keep working with the profession to co-develop a suite of tools and resources for school leaders to easily apply the Leading for impact guidelines in their schools. And don’t worry, we’ll also keep you posted as this progresses.
Reacquaint yourself with the Standards
At AITSL, we are with teachers at every stage of their career lifecycle – from pre-service to school leader. A crucial part of this is our role as custodian of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the Australian Professional Standard for Principals.
The Teacher and Principal Standards were co-developed and implemented with the support of teachers, school leaders and the sector more broadly, and provide clear, nationally-agreed definitions of what it means to be an outstanding teacher and school leader, and a road map to get there. At each stage of your career, you need to demonstrate understanding of and proficiency in relation to the relevant standards.
Alongside these twin standards, a suite of easily understood resources and tools designed to assist and support teachers are available on the AITSL website.
The provision of these practical resources is part of AITSL’s longstanding commitment to work with the profession to deliver the support teachers and school leaders tell us they want and need.
Stay up to date
To find free resources to help you improve your practice, and to stay updated on AITSL’s latest work, please keep an eye on the AITSL website, our social media platforms, and our monthly AITSL Mail which you can subscribe to through the website.
We’re looking forward to supporting you and promoting excellence across the teaching profession this year because nothing is more important than what you bring to the classroom, and its direct and positive impact on Australia’s students.
Edmund Misson is the Acting CEO of AITSL and brings to the organisation a depth of experience in education and public service. Prior to this, Mr Misson was AITSL’s Deputy CEO. He joined AITSL as a General Manager in 2011, following a distinguished 15-year career in the Victorian Government advising on a range of education, training and other social policy issues. Throughout his career, Mr Misson has focused on policy development and implementation to achieve the best possible outcomes for the community. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.