Page 604 - Week 02 - Thursday, 22 February 2018

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MS BERRY: I trust that schools will make decisions with their school community on the best way to celebrate International Women’s Day. I do not think there is any benefit to anybody by excluding boys and young men from this conversation. Teaching boys and young men about International Women’s Day: what it is about, what it means, where it has come from and what it hopes to achieve, and encouraging them to be inspired to become feminists themselves, is something that I would encourage every school to promote.

Education—Teacher Quality Institute

MR STEEL: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, how is the government supporting a strong, professional teaching workforce in the ACT?

MS BERRY: I thank Mr Steel for his question. Just like lawyers, doctors, nurses and engineers, teachers are professionals and they are experts in their field. Teachers should also be respected and valued because of the specialist knowledge they have and the skills they possess.

The government is focused on delivering a strong, professional teaching workforce by implementing systems that support teachers to grow and to best use their knowledge and skills rather than telling teachers what to do in the classroom and interfering whenever there are challenges. We trust our teachers.

Over the term of this government we have implemented some important initiatives for our teaching workforce. Great teachers by design and great teaching by design provide systemic approaches to train and recruit expert teachers into our schools and to draw out the best evidence-based practice inside the school gate.

The ACT Teacher Quality Institute truly is Australia’s leader in its work. Across our schools, in all systems, teachers are also engaged working together with universities and consulting experts to grow the body of knowledge about facilitating student learning. For example, Tom Lowrie, a mathematician at the University of Canberra, has been working with teachers on the use of spatial awareness as a maths teaching method and the results so far have been outstanding. The government also works very closely with the Australian Education Union which, alongside its industrial focus, is deeply interested in growing confidence and expertise amongst teachers.

MR STEEL: Minister, how has the ACT Teacher Quality Institute contributed to building professionalism and expertise amongst teachers?

MS BERRY: In 2010 the ACT established its own Teacher Quality Institute. The institute is led by Anne Ellis. She and her team are making an incredible contribution to building a professional, expert teaching workforce in the ACT. The ACT Teacher Quality Institute, unlike some other teacher professional regulators, has among its core functions the building of a trusted teaching profession. It does this through practical efforts aimed at raising teacher quality. The institute also emphasises work across school sectors, because when teaching professionals work together they are able to best share practice and engage in coaching and mentoring.

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