“You can’t have a doctor who only cares about people — they have to have a deep knowledge of medicine, and it’s the same with teaching,” says Geoff Masters.
Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) chief executive, Geoff Masters, last week called on universities to impose higher ATAR cut-offs for aspiring teachers in order to boost teacher quality.
“You can’t have a doctor who only cares about people — they have to have a deep knowledge of medicine, and it’s the same with teaching,” Masters told The Australian.
“A teacher’s ability to challenge and extend the more able students in the classroom depends on their own grasp of the subject matter.’’
A plunge in applications for teaching degrees this year has sparked the renewed debate into the quality of teaching and its broader public perception.
Professor Greg Craven, Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor, said public criticism of teacher quality was deterring students from taking up the profession.
“Just as it is important that politicians don’t talk down the economy, it’s equally important we don’t talk down the teaching profession,” Craven said.
Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, recently declared teachers' poor literacy and numeracy skills a “crime’’, prompting a backlash from the Australian Education Union’s (AEU) federal president, Correna Haythorpe.
“Instead of addressing these issues, Minister Pyne has launched another attack on teachers, claiming that it is ‘a crime’ that some teachers have poor literacy and numeracy skills,” Haythorpe said.
“This is an overblown and unfair attack, and it comes from a Minister who has no plan to lift academic standards for entry to teaching courses.”
In a push to improve teacher quality, Pyne recently announced that all new teaching graduates would now need to pass a literacy and numeracy test, beginning in 2016.