Teachers are the experts in teaching

Teachers' expert voices need to be in the mix when reforms are happening says PPTA president Jack Boyle.

Teachers are the experts in teaching, and we must bring our professional expertise to the reforms taking place in education now.

From pedagogy to assessment, to how we work with our colleagues to create the best learning opportunities for all ākonga, our voices need to be in the mix when reforms are happening.

At the national level proposed changes to legislation – such as the removal of the current appraisal model, the Tomorrow’s Schools review and a replacement for decile funding - will have far reaching implications for how we support great teaching practice and how our system provides what our students need. There’s likely to be a strong public interest in these matters too, so it is important we bring our knowledge and expertise to make clear why changes should be made.

A positive impact for everyone

On the question of appraisal we are saying that guaranteeing access to on-going learning, promoting collaboration, supporting innovation and reducing the weight of administration and compliance will have a positive impact for everyone. Our current, overly burdensome approach is not leading to the outcomes we want.

We are not advocating for teachers to have no accountability. In fact, when you look to use appraisal as an accountability measure, international evidence suggests you get a narrowing of practices to those that are ‘measurable’ and appraisal becomes about compliance. We need to be clear that the current appraisal model drives compliance rather than enabling better practice and often leads to far more administration- and that’s why it will
be discontinued.

Teacher input at school level important

Of course, there may be some who worry what appraisal will be replaced with. The anser, of course, is not simple. Unlike other professional workers, teachers have multiple layers of scrutiny and accountability that they are subject to. It’s my view that at the national level all that is needed is certification/registration.
The school level is the other really important area for teacher input.

Identifying next steps for teacher learning and development and enabling tumuaki and senior leaders to manage their staff is a school level issue. Any extra appraisal should be agreed with the PPTA branch. Removing appraisal is about giving principals and staff the flexibility to do what works for their situation.


Last modified on Friday, 13 September 2019 12:23