Victorian Institute of Teaching completes its first year of operation
In January 2004, Roy Morgan Research released the findings of a survey which placed teachers fourth on the list of professions rated as having high or very high standards of ethics and honesty. The first three professions were nurses, pharmacists and medical doctors. Ranked below teachers were judges, dentists, engineers, police and university lecturers.
The challenge for the teaching profession is to ensure the community respects teachers' professional expertise and specialised knowledge in the same way it respects their ethical standards. The Victorian Institute of Teaching may be expected to play a central role in this regard.
The Victorian Institute of Teaching is an independent, professional body for the teaching profession. It is a statutory authority operating along similar lines to other professional bodies, such as the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria, the Legal Practice Board and the Nurses Board of Victoria. The Victorian Institute of Teaching Act 2001, proclaimed on 31 December 2002, established the Institute as a separate authority with its own business and reporting responsibilities.
The Institute is governed by a twenty member Council, the majority of whom are practising teachers. Teachers working in government, Catholic and independent schools are represented on the Council. Teachers and principals together elect eight teachers and two principals to the Council
As with other professions occupying positions of trust and responsibility, teachers are now required to be registered in order to practise. The Institute is the body responsible for implementing and maintaining a register of teachers working in Victorian government, independent and Catholic schools.
The work of establishing a register of teachers has been a primary focus for the Institute, and a major accomplishment, given that prior to this point there has never been a comprehensive register of Victorian teachers. By the end of 2003, over 90,000 teachers were registered to teach in Victorian schools. The Institute assessed more than 10,000 applications for registration, covering new graduates, experienced teachers and teachers from interstate and overseas.
The Institute is also commissioned to
The Institute's remit includes promoting the profession of teaching in Victoria. The major promotional activity in 2003 was the celebration of World Teachers' Day on 31 October, with colour features in The Age, the Herald Sun, and regional and multicultural newspapers. The advertisements achieved excellent coverage for the teaching profession, with messages of support from high profile Australians and community leaders affirming the contribution that teachers had made to their lives and to society. This year, the Institute expects to celebrate the day at a national level, with the support and involvement of interstate teacher registration and accreditation authorities.
In 2004, the Institute is continuing its programs for the support of new graduates and the experienced teachers who mentor them. Forums for new teachers are to be held in 30 regional and metropolitan locations, starting in Term 2. A two day mentor training program has already begun in cooperation with the Department of Education & Training and the Catholic Education Office, and with the support of the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria.
The publication and dissemination of professional standards of teaching practice through school councils and parent organisations provide the community with an authoritative, transparent and objective source of information about the elements of good teaching practice. This inspires community confidence in the professionalism of teachers, and contributes to raising their status.
Teachers may be assured that their colleagues on the Council of the Victorian Institute of Teaching will continue to find opportunities to promote the complex and highly specialised nature of teachers' work to the broader community.
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Subject HeadingsEducation and state
Teaching and learning