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"Letter to the Victorian Institute of Teaching"

I read with interest a recent mailing from the institute, in which it is proposed that in future teacher registration will entail, in essence, prospective teachers needing to prove their competence in the classroom. This I really feel is a step in the right direction, and I applaud it. I have often felt that simply attending a university teaching course was not enough, and that school based practice, and mentoring should play a central role.

I was wondering however, how far this would go. Nearly all who have worked in school have had teaching assistants (teaching aides) who show great potential as teachers: mothers, fathers, older siblings, graduates of the school… many of whom have not attended university, or university teaching courses. Would the chance at registration be open to these people, if they could demonstrate competence and effective practices in schools to gain registration? A shift from registration designating participation at a particular training course, to the demonsratable ability to teach?

I look forward to your reply, and the continued improvement of the quality of teaching in Victoria that the move to effective practices in teaching as a prerequisite in registration will bring.

Yours truly,

3 November, 2011
The Hon. Peter Hall, MLC
Minister Responsible for the Teaching Profession
Level 1
2 Treasury Place
East Melbourne
Victoria, 3002

Dear Mr. Hall,

I write as I believe that Victorian children are not being taught by the set of best possible teachers.

In Victoria, teachers now have to meet certain professional standards in teaching knowledge, practice and engagement – teaching competencies. I support this, and believe that the requirement to meet such standards, while a relatively new one, was a change for the better.

Currently schools can only accredit candidates against these standards after they have completed four or five years of teacher training. I would argue that there are many good teachers in our community, people who have reached high levels of professional success, but who could not be expected to wade through teacher training courses. Some of these bright people would pass these tests of competency, but are currently unavailable to schools as they have not completed a teaching degree. Sadly, schools are therefore unable to use these competent people as teachers.

In the UK, free schools are not confined to employing teachers with teacher training qualifications. Would you consider allowing independent schools this freedom?

Surely, if it is a test of teaching competence, it is the competence that matters – and really how this was gained is not really relevant? Why am I restricted in those who I can sign-off on as competent? Surely you are either competent or not?


Timothy Berryman (Principal)
BA DipEd GradDipEdStud BLitt MLitt MA

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