Initial Teacher Education report more about ideology than genuine solutions

The NZ Initiative report into Initial Teacher Education is more about promoting its ideological views on education and less about genuinely exploring ways to improve Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in Aotearoa New Zealand, says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua acting president.

“While secondary teachers would agree with the apparent purpose of the report – to assess how well ITE programmes prepare beginning teachers for the classroom and explore ways of making ITE more effective - we disagree with most of the report’s findings and its solutions which seem to be ideological rather than genuinely analytical or evidence-based.

“The report argues that the Teaching Council’s standards for certificating teachers are what’s wrong with ITE and they need to be far more ‘rigorous’. We would strongly oppose the Teaching Council developing overly prescriptive standards for how ITE providers should operate – research shows that learning to teach is a complex interplay of many skills and dispositions that need to operate in a wide variety of contexts.”

Chris Abercrombie said the report’s proposed solution – to enable groups of schools with similar values and philosophies to establish their own professional bodies each with their own set of standards – was simply bizarre. “A national teaching service is a cornerstone of our public education system in Aotearoa New Zealand, where every child and young person has the right to a similar standard of education no matter where they live.”

PPTA Te Wehengarua has set up a taskforce to look into ITE and particular concerns about the proliferation of providers offering a range of different programmes and the need to ensure that ITE prepared beginning teachers as well as possible for starting their careers. “Schools generally give beginning teachers a huge amount of support but ITE’s role in ensuring beginning teachers are as prepared as they can be, is one of the areas our taskforce is looking into.”

In the early 2000s in New Zealand colleges of education, that were staffed largely by registered teachers, began to follow international trends and amalgamated with universities. By the mid-2000s 90 percent of secondary ITE students were studying at universities. These amalgamations meant that ITE became valued for its academic focus and possibly less so for time spent learning the practice of teaching in schools. “It’s imperative that we make sure the balance is right.”

NZ Initiatve Report

Last modified on Thursday, 14 September 2023 10:37