Page 4013 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009

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Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.


MS BURCH (Brindabella) (10.21): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the fact that outside the home, teachers are the most important factor in influencing a child’s education; and

(b) the importance of having the best and most experienced teachers in ACT classrooms; and

(2) supports the ACT Government and the federal Labor government's initiatives to develop merit-based promotion systems and improve pay outcomes to attract and retain the best teachers in ACT classrooms.

Mr Speaker, outside the family home, quality teachers are the single most important factor affecting student learning progress. The relationship between high-quality teaching and improved student learning is undeniable. Every parent knows it, and research confirms it.

Parents know what quality teaching looks like. When they ask their children what they learnt at school today and they receive an earnest lecture about Australia’s first Prime Minister, they know it has been a good day at school. Parents know things are going well when they receive a detailed retelling of the books their children are reading, and they know when their children are learning when the quadratic equation is solved before dinner rather than hours later. They know their children are learning by the interest they show.

Parents know when a school has quality teachers, and the latest Australian research confirms the link between quality teachers and student outcomes. It is what parents and teachers have known instinctively for years. Now many international and Australian studies show that factors such as high expectations of students, high levels of student engagement and a supportive social environment have a positive impact on student outcomes and learning. This is why ACT Labor is delivering quality teachers for ACT government schools.

What do we mean by quality teaching? Parents, students and school communities all know the importance of having the best and most experienced teachers in ACT classrooms. We need an education system which not only enables but encourages our best teachers to stay in the classroom. We want our most experienced teachers in the classroom mentoring our new teachers. We want them fostering a range of teaching styles, approaches and practices, and we want teachers experimenting, reflecting and analysing the results. We want our teachers to turn their students’ worlds upside down and to teach our young people how to think for themselves.

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