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Professional standards for Tertiary Teachers: A Synthesis of recent work and initiatives

18 Apr 2019 | Ako Aotearoa, a government-funded body that supports teachers, trainers and educators in the  tertiary sector in New Zealand, has recently published a report synthesising current work on professional standards.

The report consolidates ten years of work about professional standards for tertiary teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand, and is reinforced with studies from Australia, the UK and Europe. It informs the debate about the professionalisation of tertiary teachers while outlining some of the factors around professionalism including training and recognition of subject-based expertise.

Key questions the report responds to are:

  • Can professional standards help to recognise quality teaching and enable staff to advance the quality of their teaching? 
  • Will professional standards help provide what student want for their learning? 
  • Will professional standards help teachers develop their passion for the subject and help their drive to help students learn?

Increasing interest in the UK Professional Standards Framework in New Zealand has gained traction in some New Zealand universities. These institutions are looking to realise the potential of professionalisation, for example, giving a clear description of teaching and moving the strategic focus away from teacher delivery to student learning, teaching quality and student support.

The findings outline how professional standards are part of teaching quality.

This report is significant as teaching quality matters to the learners who are applying new ideas to their work and personal lives. It matters to the organisations who care about doing a great job and it matters to the educators who are passionate about passing on their expertise and motivating their learners. 

The challenge for us all now is to use the report as a solid foundation to explore how professional standards can be used in the tertiary sector in Aotearoa.

John Milne, Senior Advisor Professional Learning at Ako Aotearoa

Read the full report here

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