Comment: Quality & Rigour in Teaching & Learning

4 December 2013

As we travel across Australia visiting schools in all areas and demographics, we witness some excellent teaching and teachers. We also witness great diversity and a wide range of standards of teaching across all demographics, including the lack of continuity of relationships and practices, particularly in poor and indigenous communities, where teachers leave, where different programs are introduced almost every year, and where no consistent approach is used or embraced by local communities. By far, the universities producing future teachers need to drastically improve what they are doing to improve the rigour of teaching for the future. In this current debate, we also need to ensure we don't decline into the simplistic notion that higher standards of teaching simply means locking children all into rows and bore them all to death and test more. We can have rigour and explicit teaching and engage them in relevant learning at the same time. It requires creative and intelligent teaching and teachers drawing upon evidence that tells us not only what to teach but how to teach. In addition, leaders in school actually need to know how to lead pedagogy and to be given time to do so.