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Academic misses mark when blaming Principals

Posted on 27 April 2017
Academic misses mark when blaming Principals

Recent media reports - such as those below - suggest that Principals are negligent in putting "vulnerable" teachers in front of classes that are not within that teacher's field of expertise. The report identifies STEM and Foreign Languages as subject areas where this happens most frequently.

CaSPA believes that we do not need an academic to make Principals aware of teacher shortages in specific areas. In fact it would be fair to say that Principals have long been aware of shortages such as these and have made requests that steps be taking to avert these shortages. Ironically the requests go to Universities and those charged with Teacher Preparation. It may be a little perverse, but one could observe that if these same tertiary institutes spent more of the funding they receive for Teacher Trainig on the actual preparation of Teachers instead of diverting the funds to research, the situation may well improve and help meet shortages such as those described.

Suffice it to say, that no Principal takes any joy in asking teachers to take classes in areas beyond their speciality - student outomes are always enhanced if the teacher is well versed in the subject being taught. One wonders therefore how many of our principal colleagues will take the time to read a book that states the bleeding obvious about teacher shortages in speciific areas...


ACU academic's warning on non-specialist teachers

Australian Catholic University research fellow Anna Du Plessis has said asking teachers to teach subjects they're not qualified in will have negative effects on the teachers and their students.

Dr Du Plessis, from ACU's Learning Sciences Institute Australia, was responding to concerns raised in an Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) report, which considered the role of teachers and students in performance on international testing.

She told The Australian that principals were having to respond to a shortage of teachers in science, maths, information technology and foreign languages by assigning teachers from other fields to those positions.

"At the same time as we debate why so many teachers leave the profession within the first five years some research estimates as many as 30 or 40 per cent we must recognise that entry-level teachers are often those most vulnerable to being assigned to out-of-field positions, adding to the stress and anxiety they may feel as newcomers," Dr Du Plessis said.

Dr Du Plessis said her research, including a new book to be published later this year, aims to help principals understand the consequences of getting teachers to step outside their specialist areas.

Tags: Catholic Secondary Principals Australia

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