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Defining the quality of beginning teachers, control over professional standards and the place of alternative teacher education are topics that will stir debate at next week’s Teacher Education Forum of Aotearoa New Zealand (TEFANZ).
Up to 120 leading education researchers, policy makers and professional representatives are expected to attend the conference being held at Massey’s Manawatu campus from October 24-26.
The Reclaiming and Reframing Teacher Education in Aotearoa/New Zealand theme focuses on current challenges in teacher education.
TEFANZ was formed in 1999 to provide a voice for teacher education. Conference convenor Dr Sally Hansen says there has never been a more important time for that voice to be heard.
“Teacher education and teacher educators face a major crisis of identity. This conference is critical in providing a platform for raising and discussing significant concerns and issues.”
Alan Scott from Canterbury University and Diane Meyer from Melbourne’s Victoria University are keynote speakers. Maori Affairs Minister and Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples will be part of a panel discussion on teacher education over the next decade.
Conference topics include who should develop education policy, the implications of demographic change for teaching, and whether teacher education is a profession.
Massey University Professor of Teacher Education John O’Neill says in recent years the Government has signalled major changes to teacher education policy and the conference is an opportunity to look at the past and future of teacher education.
“The Government’s goals of reducing educational inequalities, improving the quality of teaching and enhancing professionalism will be discussed by delegates – along with ideas on how to best prepare teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population of learners with ever-shrinking real levels of government funding.”
Recent Government decisions to exempt early childhood centres from having 100 per cent qualified teachers, and to permit charter schools to employ unqualified, unregistered teachers, will likely also be hot topics of debate, Professor O’Neill says.
The New Zealand Council for Educational Research, New Zealand Teachers’ Council, New Zealand Post Primary Teachers Association, and New Zealand Educational Institute will be represented at the conference.