Making time for great teaching
by Ben Jensen
Schools must make time in their day to help teachers develop or Australia will continue to slide in international school education rankings, according to a new Grattan Institute report.
Making time for great teaching finds that Australian school systems and schools are struggling to allocate the time and resources needed to put teaching and learning first.
The world’s highest-performing school systems provide time for teachers to be mentored, research best practice, have their classes observed and receive constructive feedback on their performance, says Grattan School Education Program Director Ben Jensen.
“The world’s best systems are relentless about teacher development. We are committed to it in principle but struggle in practice. This report shows how schools can do it,” Dr Jensen says.
Making time for great teaching examines the timetables and budgets of six diverse schools across the country to identify ways they can change their practices in order to free up time for teacher development.
It recommends, among a range of options, that schools make this time by reducing teacher presence at meetings and assemblies, extra-curricular events and professional development days that do not improve teaching.
Yet Dr Jensen says that while schools can make substantial changes, governments and school systems must lead the way by changing regulations in order to give teachers time to improve their classroom practice.
“Right now we’re going the opposite way – schools are being asked to take on more subjects, more student welfare support, more extra-curricular activity and smaller classes,” Dr Jensen says.
“We cannot expect teachers to lift our students to the best in the world while also insisting they undertake child minding in the playground and on busses on the way home from school.”
“The best way to improve schools is to make the time to improve teaching. We know it. Now we have to do it.”
For further enquiries: Dr Ben Jensen, School Education Program Director
T. +61 (0)3 8344 3637 E. firstname.lastname@example.org