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ED 454 154 



SP 039 921 



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Standards of Professional Practice for Accomplished Teaching 
in Australian Classrooms. A National Discussion Paper. 
Australian Coll, of Education, Curtin.; Australian 
Curriculum Studies Association, Deakin West.; Australian 
Association for Research in Education, Melbourne. 

2000 - 10-00 

17p. 

Reports - Descriptive (141) 

MF 01 /PC 01 Plus Postage. 

*Educational Quality; Elementary Secondary Education; 

Foreign Countries; ^National Standards; *Teacher 
Competencies; Teaching Skills 

* Australia; Canada; Professionalism; *Prof essionalization of 
Teaching 



ABSTRACT 



This discussion paper provides a rationale for the 
development of professional teaching standards in Australia. It is the result 
of a 2000 national forum on professional teaching standards held in 
Melbourne, Australia, which included 150 educators who explored contemporary 
issues associated with such standards and constructed a framework for 
collaborative and strategic action. The paper is designed to stimulate 
discussion about the need to identify and deploy standards of professional 
practice for accomplished school teachers. Nine sections examine: (1) 

"Purpose of This Discussion Paper"; (2) "The Broader Professional Teaching 
Standards Agendas"; (3) "Some Threshold Questions and Issues"; (4) "What 
Constitutes a 'Profession' and What Does it Mean To Be a 'Professional'?"; 

(5) "Why Does the Teaching Profession Need Standards of Accomplished 
Professional Practice?"; (6) "Who Would Benefit From the Identification and 
Use of Standards of Accomplished Professional Practice?"; (7) "How Have Some 
Other Countries Addressed the Issue of Professional Teaching Standards?" (8) 
"Upon What Premises and Principles Ought the Identification and Use of 
Standards of Professional Practice for Accomplished Teaching in Australian 
Classrooms Be Based?"; and (9) "What Should the Accomplished Australian 
Classroom Teacher Know, Understand, Do, and Value?" (Contains 33 references.) 
(SM) 



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STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE 
FOR ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING 
IN AUSTRALIAN CLASSROOMS 



... the (teaching) profession has yet to build its own 
infrastructure for defining high quality teaching standards, 
promoting development towards those standards and 
providing recognition for those who reach them; in other 
words, teaching has yet to build a professional development 
system based on profession-defined teaching standards ... 

(Ingvarson 1998: 3) 



A National Discussion Paper 



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Context 



A national forum on professional teaching standards was conducted in Melbourne on 24-25 February 2000, 
Around 1 50 educators assembled to explore contemporary issues, challenges and opportunities associated with 
such standards and to construct a framework for collaborative and strategic action. Co-hosted by the Australian 
College of Education (ACE), the Australian Curriculum Studies Association (ACSA) and the Australian 
Association for Research in Education (A ARE), the forum was supported by a number of sponsors. 

One outcome of the forum was the publication of a comprehensive report m the journal Unicorn, Vo! 26 No 
April 2000. The full text of this report can be accessed via the Internet at www.austeoHed.eom.au, by clicking 
on the ‘Resources’ menu. Another outcome was a proposal to establish a Strategic Working Group to take the 
debate generated during the forum to the next level. Established in May 2000 by the original co-hosts, this 
Group was charged with the responsibility of preparing this national discussion paper- Standards of Professional 
Practice for Accomplished Teaching in Australian Classrooms (for details of the Strategic Working Group, 
please sec page 14 of this paper). 

Essentially, this document provides a rationale for the development of professional teaching standards in Australia, 
Given that this is a discussion rather than a position paper, the emphasis is on generating debate in response to 
a series of questions, including the following. What constitutes a profession and what does it mean to be a 
professional? Why does the teaching profession need standards of accomplished teaching practice? Who would 
benefit from the identification and use of standards of accomplished professional practice? 

Drawing on recent developments at national and international levels, the paper identifies and explores a variety 
of premises or principles upon which standards of accomplished teaching professional practice could be based. 
The paper concludes by offering a set of interdependent qualities that could be said to reflect the ways in which 
accomplished teachers in Australia demonstrate their professionalism in contemporary contexts. 

It is important to acknowledge that this paper has also been informed by the work of three national research and 
developments projects under way in Australia at present. Jointly funded by the Australian Research Council 
(ARC), the Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)/Australian Literacy Educators Association 
(ALEA), the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) and the Australian Science Teachers 
Association (ASTA), these projects are designed to develop professional teaching standards in three curriculum 
areas, namely, English/Literacy, Mathematics and Science. For contact details regarding these projects please 
see page 14 of this paper. 

In August an earlier draft of this Discussion Paper was distributed, for comment and feedback, to all who 
attended the national forum earlier this year. The comments received have been taken into account in the final 
drafting of this Paper which will also be readily accessible through a variety of websites and hot links from late 
September 2000. 

All responses to the paper should be forwarded to: 

Jim Gumming, Executive Director, Australian College of Education 
P.O. Box 323 Deakin West ACT 2600 
ace@austcolled.com.au 

by no later than FRIDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2000. 




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A National Discussion Paper 



STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE 
FOR ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING 
IN AUSTRALIAN CLASSROOMS 



t. PURPOSE OF THIS DISCUSSION PAPER 

This Discussion Paper seeks to stimulate discussion within and 
across the Australian educational and broader community about 
the need to identify and deploy standards of professional practice 
for accomplished school teachers. 

This is a ’discussion' paper. It is not a ’position 1 paper. 

No single individual, organisation, research project, government 
body, professional organisation, lobby group, network of power 
and influence - or any permutation or combination of these and 
other influences - has or deserves to have exclusive ownership of 
this agenda. But the Australian College of Education, the Australian 
curriculum Studies Association and the Australian Association for 
Research in Education have jointly issued this Discussion Paper 
in order to stimulate national discussion on many of the issues on 
this agenda. 

This document has been written in the knowledge that its potential 
readership ranges from experts who are already familiar with the 
massive literature, research and scholarship in the field - right 
across the spectrum to those without such knowledge but who 
have sufficient interest in or commitment to the need for 
professional standards of practice for school teachers to want to 
engage in the national discussion process. 

1.1 The Fundamental Question: What Constitutes 
Accomplished Teaching? 

This Paper attempts to addresses the fundamental question with 
which school teaching must be challenged as a profession: "what 
constitutes accomplished teaching?" Or, to put it another way, 
having regard to all the different learning contexts within which 
teaching takes place, what ought to be meant when the term 
"accomplished" is used to describe a classroom teacher? What are 
the kinds of professional knowledge, understanding, skills and 
values that ought to characterise accomplished classroom school 
teaching in Australian schools? 

If the profession were to move towards agreement on what 
constitutes accomplished teaching within and across subject or 
discipline areas and within and across the wide variety of classroom 
teaching contexts ranging from pre-school to post-compulsory 
senior colleges and other forms of school education and training 
pathways, it could approach with considerable confidence some 
of the other questions also currently being asked in the context of 
professional standards, such as: 

♦ what constitutes satisfactory, but not accomplished, teaching? 

♦ to what extent should teacher registration/certification be a 
voluntary or a mandatory process? 



♦ what kinds of professional development might be appropriate 
for teachers evincing, satisfactory as distinct from 
accomplished standards? 

This Paper assumes that "accomplished" is not a term to be 
restricted only to those with extensive experience. There can be 
"accomplished" beginning, mid-career, and long-experienced 
teachers: just as there can also be mediocre and poor teachers right 
across the career spectrum. 

1.2 Two Satersedsng Perspectives 

The development of professional teaching standards internationally 
has had both ’generic’ and 'specific’ perspectives. This Discussion 
Paper sets out to pull together and distil the issues associated with 
the first of these perspectives. Its purpose is neither to endorse a 
particular set of generic teaching standards, nor to formulate 
specific professional teaching standards within and across 
classroom subject- curricular/teaching contexts. 

But it has taken cognisance of the three ongoing Australian 
Research Council (ARC) SPIRT Grant national projects that are 
attempting to develop professional teaching standards in the three 
specific curriculum areas of English/Literacy, Mathematics, and 
Science and which are due for completion at the end of 2001. 

The most comprehensive undertaking to identify standards of 
accomplished teaching has been that of the National Board for 
Professional Teaching Standards in the USA. The Board spent its 
first few years in widespread consultations, review of the existing 
literature, and collaborative deliberations in an attempt to answer 
the very question posed in this Discussion Paper. It eventually 
came up with its "Five Propositions of Accomplished Teaching" 
(see later). Having established this generic framework, the Board 
- in intense collaboration with the national subject and other 
relevant school teaching associations - then set up processes for 
identifying standards in all school curriculum subject areas and 
across all school teaching contexts. The other very impressive 
international teaching standards project, that of the Ontario College 
of Teachers, while not focusing exclusively upon standards of 
accomplished teaching, arrived at a set of five interdependent sets 
of generic descriptors of standards of practice for the teaching 
profession as a whole in Ontario. 

Unlike the processes adopted by the National Board of Professional 
Teaching Standards in the USA, each of the three Australian ARC- 
SPIRT grant projects is operating relatively independently of each 
other, with differing methodologies, and without any a priori agreed 
framework of what constitutes accomplished teaching. 



A National Discussion Paper 



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