Here's my response for it's worth - not expecting everyone to agree...I don't even agree with myself sometimes. How is your response going??? Due in here on Sunday 14th June.
1. What should be the focus and responsibilities of a body created to lead the development of the education profession?
The focus and responsibilities of the body should be: professional development, appraisal, registration, research and promotion.
Professional Development – This is the most important area of focus for the NZTC, and at present the most under-represented. The NZTC needs to be providing a greater variety of interactive professional development resources and opportunities. Resources are available, but even these are untapped by most. The NZTC needs to explore ways to bring their approaches into the 21st century and explore how it could be utilising online environments to create ways for teachers to engage in ongoing professional development. This might include the development of an interactive ‘teaching as inquiry’ planner and support material. This could also include the development of fully funded MOOCs related to specific RTCs, so as to provide anytime anyway personal professional development. This could also include exploration of how the NZTC could provide professional development communities in online spaces such as the VLN - the ‘Enabling e-learning’ sector of the MoE already do this very effectively.
Appraisal Support – See suggestions in number 6.
Registration – This should continue to be a central role of the NZTC.
Research/Publications – It would be great to see the NZCER and NZTC come together under a wider NZ education umbrella to facilitate and promote ongoing research in NZ. If the NZTC were to develop an online ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ tool this could also provide an ongoing source of action research and snapshots of best practice.
2. What needs to be included in the name of the professional body to reflect its strengthened role?
Educational Council of New Zealand – If one of the intentions of the NZTC review is to put educators on an even footing with doctors and the like, I would suggest adopting a title that mirrors the Medical Association and would suggest an expanded purpose that is to support both teachers and educational leaders.
3. In what aspects should the body be accountable to the profession and on what issues should it be accountable to the Government?
I believe the body should be accountable in the aspects of professional support and promotion. The NZTC should see themselves as not only a mechanism for registration, but as a body that provides professional development and support for all educators to ensure they not only meet but exceed the standards outlined in the RTCs. They should also be actively promoting the importance of educators to developing our national health/well-being and economy.
It should be accountable to the government in that it should be seen to be providing support, guidance and protection of teachers.
4. What skills, knowledge and experience should be required on the board governing a professional body for education?
The board should be made up of experts from within the sector (Researchers, University sector, Ex and present Principals, Middle Leaders and Teachers) as well as a representative from each of the other national councils e.g. Medical Council, so as to enable cross-sector pollination of best council practice.
5. A high quality, high status professional body needs to be resourced adequately. In light of the fees required by other professional bodies, what are your thoughts on membership fees and what you might expect in return?
The fees at present seem appropriate. What is variable is the expectation for school or educator to pay these fees. It would be great to see a policy in place that saw schools paying part of the fees, particularly as a reward for long-term service to the school or that the cost of registration decreased the longer you serve.
In return for these fees I would expect to get more online services, research and support available.
It would be great to see the NZTC also setting aside funds for educators completing higher qualifications such as Masters of Education and Educational Leadership. At present these are expensive and prohibitively so for many. I would suggest that the NZTC could highlight areas that they would wish to see more research conducted on and offer grants and/scholarships to educators completing the Masters studies focusing on these areas. This would be a win win – adding to our pool of research whilst up-skilling our educators of NZ.
6. What changes should be made to the current registration and practising certificate processes?
Registration and practising certificate processes should remain as they are in terms of timing. An area that needs to be developed is the way in which teachers are expected to gather evidence of meeting the RTCs. At present there are many schools working in isolation trying to digitise this process. I would suggest that the NZTC works with MyPortfolio or N4L to develop an online infrastructure that would easily allow all educators to develop online portfolios of their practice. This could involve a blog like structure where educators could reflect on their practice, embedding in video, image, voice or written media that are then tagged with the appropriate RTCs. Interactive rubrics could be developed that would allow for educators and their appraisers to feedback on progress made on specific elements of RTCs. This portfolio would exist outside specific school environments, allowing teachers to develop an ongoing portfolio throughout their career as they move from school to school.
This could also provide online links to professional development resources or each of the RTCs, so as to also be a source of professional support for educators.
I would suggest that this could also be integrated with an online ‘teaching as inquiry’ tool which enabled educators to inquire into their practice as part of their ongoing professional development and link it back to their appraisal process.
7. What changes should be made to the process of assessing a teacher’s competence against the Registered Teacher Criteria?
8. What are your views on the proposal to introduce an Authority to Educate to allow for more flexibility to employ people with specialist skills alongside registered teachers?
I suspect this will actually devalue the status of registered teachers. At present outside specialists can come in alongside registered teachers. I believe this should continue to be the case if we are to protect and elevate the status of registered New Zealand educators.
9. What other observations and recommendations would you like to make?
Under no circumstances should NZTC support performance pay. Performance pay is a commercial business model that does not belong in the world of education. It would be divisive, counter-productive and impossible to deliver fairly. What would be interesting would be the exploration of ways that teachers’ levels of collaboration and sharing of best practice could be rewarded instead. If there was going to be any kind of specific pay/reward system, there should be an expectation that there is an element of service expected in return. For example, identified ‘expert educators’ would be expected to share their practice, and lead sector wide professional development.