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Professional development

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 20 September 2016

An edited version of the letter below was published in The Courier-Mail on Tuesday 20 September 2016. It had been submitted in response to a news report in the previous day's edition. The underlined words were deleted and those in square brackets added. The paper's heading was "Education has broad interests". The paper also reorganized the letter into a single paragraph.

Teacher professional development

The Federal Government's chief scientist, [AlanFinkel], is reported as claiming that [claims] teachers are wasting [waste] professional development time on irrelevant topics ("Odd subjects ticked off as teacher aids", Sep 19). If true to any significant extent, this would be indeed a matter of concern.

However, from extensive personal involvement as an attendee, organizer and presenter, I can attest that valuable professional development directly relevant to the curriculum is regularly conducted by subject professional associations.

And I do wonder about the quality of the data on which the chief scientist's claim is based. The topics cited may not be relevant to his [Dr Finkel's] area of interest in STEM subjects, but school education is broader than that, important though it is.

African drumming may sound bizarre to some, but it would be relevant to the teaching of music.

Treating teachers as professionals should include acknowledgement that they are the best judges of their own professional development needs.

Garry Collins
Immediate Past President, English Teachers Association of Queensland

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: General news

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