Thrilled to be part of the recent webinar hosted by MCERA* on 30 May.
*Download a copy of the PP from Jane & Don’s presentation below
See the full MCERA media release here:
EXPERT COMMENT: Top Minds Gather to Tackle Teacher Tensions
Last week, leading researchers from around the nation gathered to discuss topics surrounding the current teacher crisis.
- Teachers are feeling increasingly overburdened, under-appreciated and burnt out.
- As few as 3 in 10 teachers were considering leaving the profession in the next five years
- Almost a quarter of teachers reported feeling unsafe in the workplace
MCERA has reached out to these experts in order to uncover some of the evidence found surrounding the current teaching climate and discuss the best ways to create better working conditions for teachers.
Two teacher education colleagues from the University of Technology Sydney have published a podcast series titled ‘Talking Teachers’.
The series features six half-hour episodes with hosts Dr Don Carter and Associate Professor Jane Hunter and authoritative experts from industry, such as former NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, recently retired teacher Julie Moon and respected education scholar Professor Alan Reid.
Each interviewee bringing a different perspective to the three-way discussion, topics examined include data collection, the status of teaching and resources to address equity in schools – providing many fresh solutions to problems faced by the profession.
Associate Professor Jane Hunter (University of Technology Sydney, AARE) – “delivering new ideas for schools in a podcast medium increases access and exposure to pressing education matters to a broader public audience”
Associate Professor Jane Hunter is an expert in curriculum, digital learning and pre-service and in-service teacher education. She was a classroom teacher and has held leadership roles in schools, in government bureaucracies in education policy and in large-scale technology innovation programs. Her most recent work seeks to ensure our most disadvantaged schools are well resourced and the quality of teaching is engaging and motivating in every classroom.
“Podcasts are hailed as powerful mediums to understand challenges in education in an age of mistrust and disinformation.
“For example, our guests suggested schools need to collect a lot less data, remove the impost of administrative workload, be equitably funded, raise the status of teachers in reportage by regular good news stories in all media and reduce curriculum implementation fatigue with more realistic timeframes.”
For more information or an interview, please contact Associate Professor Jane Hunter at the University of Technology Sydney at Jane.Hunter@uts.edu.au
Dr Don Carter (University of Technology Sydney) – “This dynamic project gave us the opportunity to sit down with a specialist who is embedded in the work of schools, teachers and the community”
Dr Don Carter is a senior lecturer in the UTS School of International Studies and Education. He specialises in working with teachers to investigate innovative writing pedagogies to improve student performance and outcomes not only in English, but across the curriculum.
“The reach of an audio case study in a podcast episode often exceeds that of a peer reviewed paper in an education journal that sits behind a pay wall.
“This dynamic project gave us the opportunity to sit down with a specialist who is embedded in the work of schools, teachers and the community – it was an honour and a privilege.”
The ‘Talking Teachers’ podcast series of 6 episodes with show notes of current research can be accessed at: https://www.uts.edu.au/about/faculty-arts-and-social-sciences/podcasts/talking-teachers or on your favourite podcast channel. Stay tuned for Series 2.
Dr Fiona Longmuir (Monash University) – “policy makers need to listen to teachers and be open to innovative and flexible solutions.”
Dr Fiona Longmuir is a Lecturer in Educational Leadership in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. Fiona’s current research investigates interactions of school and system leadership with student engagement and agency.
“Social and community expectations of teachers have expanded, and a culture of results, competition, and endless improvement has come into place in Australia and around the world.
“These teachers are being pushed out of the profession. Eighty per cent feel like they belong in their profession, but the push factors are too strong.
“Solutions would have to include looking at workload amount and intensity.”
Only 14 per cent of teachers felt their workload was manageable, and Dr Longmuir urged that reducing admin and compliance work would go a long way to reducing the burden. “Celebrating the work teachers do and delivering fair recognition through pay and recognition” were also a part of the solution, she said.
“With the current crisis of teacher shortages it is important that we seek to understand the reasons why people are choosing to leave the teaching profession.
“The indicators from our research are that many are leaving due to ‘push’ factors, (i.e. their working conditions and situations). In order to better understand these factors, and how they might be mitigated, policy makers need to listen to teachers and be open to innovative and flexible solutions.
“We also need to work together as a country to change the ways that we talk about teachers and teaching in order to enhance respect, trust and appreciation for educators who are working hard supporting our children and young people everyday in our schools.”
For more information or an interview, please contact Dr Fiona Longmuir at Monash University at firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Donna Pendergast (Griffith University) – “The teacher shortage is not an unexpected crisis.”
Professor Donna Pendergast is Dean and Head, School of Education and Professional Studies, at Griffith University. Donna has extensive experience in the education sector leading reforms such as the shift of Year 7 into secondary schools in Queensland and in South Australia. In 2022 she received the Australian Council of Deans of Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education and the profession.
“In 2019 we set out to better understand the declining status of the teaching profession, which has contributed to teacher attrition and challenges attracting the next generation of teachers.
“Griffith University, in collaboration with key stakeholders, hosted a Summit with 250 delegates drawn from across the sector.
The features highlighted include:
- teachers nurture caring relationships with students;
- parents and the community;
- they generate curiosity from a spectrum of disciplinary subjects to promote learning;
- they are capable of transforming individuals, schools and society and the value systems upon which they are based;
- teachers are committed to innovation, justice, the work of teaching and to progressing the profession; teachers promote flexibility as both an attitude and a mindset; and
- intellectually engage people in ways that differ from previous generations.
“Fast forward to 2022. Griffith University hosted another Summit, this time on the topic Rethinking teaching and teacher education in a post-pandemic world. 240 delegates attended in person, 260 virtually. 100 organisations and 10 countries participated.
“The purpose was to grapple with what we have learned as teachers and what we want to stop doing, keep doing, and start doing, all framed within the lens of enhancing the status of the profession and attracting and retaining teachers,” Professor Pendergast said.
“Among the findings from this Summit, the desire for innovations to keep strongly pointed to the need for flexibility. The majority of respondents (71%) indicated they sought flexibility in the areas of work structures, learning design, space to innovate and connecting beyond the classroom.
“This flexibility mirrors changes in many workplaces.
“The teacher shortage is not an unexpected crisis. The current crisis has been years in the making and requires a shift in the way the community values teachers and their work. These Summit events reveal two persistent themes that could be the centre pieces to transform the work of teachers and how they are perceived – the desire for flexibility, and the yearning for the recognition of expertise.”
“This flexibility mirrors changes in many workplaces.”
For more information or an interview, please contact Professor Donna Pendergast at Griffith University at email@example.com
MCERA, an independent, not-for-profit organisation, provides a conduit through which education research and researchers are made more accessible to the media to help improve public understanding of key education- related issues. We provide journalists with expert, independent and accessible insights from education researchers and practitioners. Any views expressed by the experts we consult are not necessarily those of MCERA or its staff.