School improvement driven by teachers

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014 10:41am

The Australian Council for Educational Research’s (ACER) ‘Excellence in Professional Practice Conference’ in May provided a rare opportunity for teachers across disciplines to discuss research and share innovative ideas about teaching and learning.

The theme of the conference for teachers, led by teachers, was ‘Teachers driving school improvement’. Over 60 papers, workshops and poster presentations from teachers, principals and researchers were presented. Some of the topics included collaborative professional communities and the use of new technology for real-time data collection.

International research into the practices of highly effective schools and school leaders was cited, via the National School Improvement Tool (NSIT). The NSIT references nine domains ranging from an explicit school agenda through to school/community partnerships.

From the perspective of encouraging teachers to create change and in line with the NSIT Domain 4: Targeted use of school resources, Media Access Australia presented a poster entitled the Classroom Access Project (A case study) [PDF 117KB] or [DOC 52KB]. The poster focused on students with diverse learning needs, and the necessary interventions to ensure their access to teaching and learning delivered by multimedia resources. The Classroom Access Project was a targeted initiative to provide access to captioned multimedia and improved sound in mainstream classroom settings, for whole class benefit.

At the close of the conference, Dr Elizabeth Hartnell-Young, Director of the ACER Institute, said, “It is teachers and school leaders who drive improvement on the ground, with the support of researchers and professional organisations…so it’s vital that we enable all to share their research and professional knowledge.”

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