Teachers’ salaries a 19th century artefact says 2011 ADC lecture speaker
|University of Melbourne's Professor Stephen Dinham OAM|
|Executive director of schools, Greg Whitby|
On Thursday 4 August, Professor Stephen Dinham OAM delivered the 2011 Catholic Education Ann D Clark Lecture to over 800 educators on improving teacher quality and the need to link teacher professional standards with salary structures.
Professor Dinham, who is the foundation chair of teacher education and director of learning and teaching at the University of Melbourne, said teachers salaries were a ‘19th century artefact’ and needed to be aligned with levels of accomplishment in order to drive teacher quality and improve students’ learning outcomes.
‘A quality teacher in every classroom is the ultimate aim, but how to achieve this is the big challenge,’ said Professor Dinham. ‘Assessing teacher performance is far more complex and difficult than people realise.’
Professor Dinham believes salary structures linked to professional competence would be more effective than other initiatives in improving teacher quality.
'Previous attempts have largely failed,’ he said. ‘Merit pay is doomed to fail and one-off bonuses don’t work. No one plans their career on a one-off bonus down the track.’
‘Currently, teachers’ salaries peak too soon, and at to low level,’ said Professor Dinham. ‘Competence takes time and a high level of skill takes longer. We need to address [teacher] quality at every point of a teacher’s career.’
Professor Dinham said teacher professional learning needed to change to be more effective in improving the quality of teachers’ practice.
‘The assumption is beginning teachers need to be ‘bomb-proof’ professionals, but this if not possible,’ said Professor Dinham. ‘We cannot give every person what they need in pre-service training.’
‘We must aim to open the often closed classroom door to facilitate good professional development,’ he said. ‘Professional development is not theory based but problem solving; a collaborative focus, not individual.’
‘We need evidence to support teaching,’ said Professor Dinham. ‘NAPLAN [national literacy and numeracy assessments] is a small part of the bigger picture of gathering evidence and data on learning.’
‘Professional learning is about constantly questioning,’ he said. ‘Teachers need to be clinical practitioners so they can assess, diagnose, prescribe and evaluate students’ learning.’
Professor Dinham questioned whether we had left it too late to have a major renovation of teachers’ career and salary structures.
‘Applications for teaching fell nine per cent in Victoria (2010-2011). Have we left it too late?’ said Professor Dinham. ‘If we are going to reward teachers and drive performance it's going to cost us money. We need a major renovation of teachers' salary and career structures to take us into the 21st century.’
Executive director of schools, Greg Whitby said the ADC lecture was a significant professional learning experience for staff in the Parramatta diocese.
‘The ADC lecture is a quality experience of professional learning for our system,’ said Greg. ‘Professor Dinham continues on the themes that make a difference to the work we do – the simple, yet sophisticated philosophy of improving student learning by having good teachers teaching.’
The Ann D Clark lecture is an annual event held to honour the memory of the founding executive director of schools in the Parramatta diocese, Ann D Clark. It is now in its eleventh year. Past speakers have included Dr Peter Hill, Professor John Hattie, Professor Vivianne Robinson, Professor Michael Fullan and Patrick Dodson.
|Over 800 educators attended the lecture|
|Greg presented Professor Dinham with the ADC Medallion|
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