Laureate Professor Jennifer Gore (University of Newcastle) – “Addressing the teacher shortage creates a rare opportunity for education reform that genuinely supports teachers and lifts outcomes for millions of students.”

Laureate Professor Jennifer Gore is Director of the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre at the University of Newcastle. Jenny has been recognised for outstanding contributions to education reform (Australian Council for Deans of Education); to social justice and evidence-informed policy, practice, and research (Paul Brock Memorial Medal); and for her expertise across diverse research traditions (as elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association).

“To capitalise on this opportunity, we must adopt a system-wide approach that considers the entire teacher lifecycle, with three critical points at which reform could make a big difference,” says Professor Gore.

“The first is recruitment into teacher education. Despite what others say, our research based on more than 12,000 surveys shows teaching to be a popular career choice among school students. We must do better at nurturing the interest that exists.

“The second is initial teacher education. Despite relentless critiques of teacher preparation, our evidence shows beginning teachers deliver teaching of equal quality to their more experienced colleagues. This suggests ITE is doing relatively well at preparing teachers. Reform must be based on evidence not unfounded opinion,” Professor Gore says.

“The third is retention of the 300,000 teachers currently in the workforce. It is critical that we address their working conditions and invest in initiatives with clear evidence of positive effects on teachers and students.

“Our program of research on Quality Teaching and Quality Teaching Rounds provides robust evidence of a high-impact, low-cost way to support policy at all three points. This tested approach positions teaching as intellectually stimulating work which can make the profession more attractive and raise its status. It provides program coherence in ways that can ensure quality in initial teacher education and enhance the preparedness of graduates. It improves teaching and morale among practising teachers, with demonstrated positive effects on student achievement. Collectively, this work can play a significant role in addressing teacher shortages and improving education in Australia.”

This expert comment was released as part of an MCERA webinar on overlooked aspects of the teacher shortage crisis. You can view the webinar here.