10 Mar 2013

Education experts warn Queensland taking 'giant step backwards' by banning teacher professional development in school time

Courier Mail, March 05, 2013

He said schools needed to move towards a model in which professional learning was built in to how they operated daily, rather than running largely ineffective PD courses and workshop.

Professor Brian Caldwell, who was hired by the State Government in 2010 to provide a review of teacher education, backed Dr Jensen, saying PD was essential to boost teacher quality.

But Mr Langbroek said it was better for students if PD happened outside school time.

"Parents expect continuity with respect to teaching in the classroom," he said.

"For this reason the Government made the decision to limit professional development to the six pupil free days each year, school holidays or afternoons after school."

He said concerns had been raised about some instances in which it was difficult to do PD outside school hours and the Government was working towards "an appropriate solution'' around those.

Queensland Association of State School Principals president Hilary Backus said the six pupil free days for PD was not enough time given the introduction of new national curriculum, increasing technology and workplace demands.

"QASSP absolutely supports teacher continuity...however, If we are to improve student outcomes we have to improve teacher quality,'' Mrs Backus said.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said if the ban remained students would "miss out on a whole range of opportunities - not as a consequence of teachers not being willing to - but teachers not being able to deliver the newest educational practices and theories''.

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