The Australian Education Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - LIONEL CRANENBURGH Lionel Cranenburgh is the 2015 Pos­i­tive Be­hav­iours Win­ner (WA) and Di­rec­tor of Lionel Cranenburgh and As­so­ci­ates, Ca­reer Com­pany. lionel@li­onel­cra­nen­

CA­REER pro­gres­sion is part of ev­ery teacher’s role man­dated by the Na­tional Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards for Teach­ers.

How does a teacher achieve ca­reer ad­vance­ment and have fun in what might seem like a game of snakes and lad­ders dreamed up by bu­reau­crats?

Grad­u­ate teach­ers need to be re­garded as po­ten­tial cham­pi­ons rather than pa­tro­n­ised as in­ex­pe­ri­enced be­gin­ners; ma­ture-aged grad­u­ates, for ex­am­ple, bring life or in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence to the job.

“Prac­tice-fo­cused men­tor­ing” is a key strat­egy that re­search shows can give grad­u­ates the im­pe­tus to grow rapidly and con­trib­ute to na­tional aims in ed­u­ca­tion.

What is of­ten seen in schools is crit­i­cism of weak prac­tice, ran­domly as­signed men­tors, ad­vice given based on per­sonal past ex­pe­ri­ence, or learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties un­re­lated to the early ca­reer teacher’s well-be­ing.

The Aus­tralian In­sti­tute for Teach­ing and School Lead­er­ship (AITSL) or­gan­i­sa­tion, the na­tional peak body for ed­u­ca­tors, sug­gests grad­u­ates should seek mul­ti­ple men­tors that play a role in sup­port­ing their well-be­ing, ac­cess net­works with reg­u­lar dis­cus­sions tak­ing place be­tween men­tor and grad­u­ate.

The vast body of teach­ers who fall into the “pro­fi­cient” cat­e­gory need to re­view their prac­tice as the group of­fers a great pos­si­bil­ity for change in schools if given car­ing, ex­plicit di­rec­tion.

Any prin­ci­pal want­ing to ef­fect change needs to en­cour­age ev­ery teacher to de­velop an in­di­vid­ual pro­fes­sional iden­tity where each teacher iden­ti­fies an area of ex­per­tise and links it to the school or sys­tem’s aims to build ex­cel­lence.

AITSL’S re­search on Aus­tralian guide­lines for teacher in­duc­tion sug­gests that the ben­e­fits are many and in­clude de­vel­op­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a teacher ex­pert in a par­tic­u­lar area sought by for­mal and in­for­mal net­works.

Ca­reer de­vel­op­ment from pro­fi­cient to lead teacher need not be com­plex, but it does re­quire re­flec­tive plan­ning, pub­lic re­la­tions, mar­ket­ing, and a plan that has na­tional im­pli­ca­tions.

Lau­re­ate pro­fes­sor John Hat­tie, Di­rec­tor of the Mel­bourne Re­search In­sti­tute, Univer­sity of Mel­bourne, in his re­search Build­ing Teacher Qual­ity pub­lished by the Aus­tralian Coun­cil of Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search, shows what makes a lead teacher as op­posed to a “pro­fi­cient” one.

“Ex­pert teach­ers en­gage stu­dents in self-reg­u­lated mas­tery learn­ing to achieve life­long learn­ing out­comes,” Hat­tie stated.

“We work on the ab­surd as­sump­tion that all teach­ers are equal which is patently not true to any child.

“Ev­ery other pro­fes­sion recog­nises and es­teems ex­cel­lence but in teach­ing we re­ward pri­mar­ily by ex­pe­ri­ence ir­re­spec­tive of ex­cel­lence,” Hat­tie said, show­ing how out­stand­ing teach­ers go un­re­warded.

Hat­tie’s Vis­i­ble Learn­ing re­search, when adapted to ca­reer de­vel­op­ment, shows that three ques­tions are crit­i­cal for ca­reer plan­ning: Where am I go­ing? How am I go­ing there? Where to next?

Hat­tie syn­the­sizes 800,000 re­search stud­ies to state that lead teach­ers in­flu­ence out­comes not just test scores, cre­ate an op­ti­mal class­room cli­mate for learn­ing, and iden­tify im­por­tant ways to rep­re­sent their sub­jects.

Teach­ers can fast track ca­reers by ob­serv­ing the im­pact of their con­tri­bu­tion on chil­dren and es­tab­lish­ing state or na­tional net­works to ap­ply ideas, pro­vide feed­back and make changes.

AITSL sug­gests that teach­ers can de­velop a com­pact for pro­fes­sional learn­ing.

“Teach­ers should cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in which pro­fes­sional learn­ing and achieve­ment can flour­ish and nur­ture a com­mu­nity of learn­ers,” it sug­gests in its Aus­tralian Char­ter for Pro­fes­sional Learn­ing of Teach­ers and School Lead­ers.

Hat­tie’s re­search of the top 10 teach­ing strate­gies should in­form any teacher who wants to make an im­pact on a na­tional scale.

They in­clude di­rect in­struc­tion, study skills, space prac­tice, feed­back, metacog­ni­tion, prob­lem solv­ing, re­cip­ro­cal teach­ing, mas­tery learn­ing, con­cept map­ping and worked sam­ples.

“Ev­ery other pro­fes­sion recog­nises and es­teems ex­cel­lence but in teach­ing we re­ward pri­mar­ily by ex­pe­ri­ence ir­re­spec­tive of ex­cel­lence.”

What will you do?

Lionel Cranenburgh.

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