School leadership perspectives on preparing effective teachers for low SES schools: Implications for collaborative professional partnerships

Year: 2016

Author: Longaretti, Lynette, Toe, Dianne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The introduction in 2015 of a specific mainstream Initial Teacher Education program for high poverty schools in Victoria coincided with the commencement of three new teaching academies. The Teaching Academies are a Victorian State Government initiative. They feature a site-based teacher education model, making strong links between theory and practice, and focussing on improving student learning outcomes in schools (Darling-Hammond, 2006; DEECD, 2011). The Geelong and Werribee academies include many of the local schools in disadvantaged areas of Geelong and Werribee where the selected pre-service teachers complete their placements. In accordance with our site based model of teacher education, it aims to be well informed by the needs and perspectives of teachers in local schools. Other studies have identified key qualities of effective teachers and productive pedagogies for low SES schools (Munns, Sawyer & Cole, 2013; Munns, Zammitt &Woodward, 2008). This presentation reports on a qualitative study carried out with members of the school leadership teams in low SES schools in Geelong / Werribee areas. These schools provide placements for pre-service teachers. The study investigated the views held by principals and other school leaders on teacher effectiveness and student engagement and the challenges teachers encounter in low SES schools. In addition, it explored the skills and understandings perceived as necessary for pre-service teachers undertaking placements in low SES schools. This paper initially focuses on why this is an important question to ask and how it should be framed both nationally and internationally. It also explores the ways school leadership teams’ views might impact on pre-service teacher education, particularly in relationship to the needs of low SES schools. Data were collected from principals and other school leaders using open-ended interviews. A grounded approach was adopted. Interviews were semi structured, encouraging all participants to reflect deeply on their perspectives. Interview transcripts were analysed using a cross case inductive analysis approach. The findings of this study will be used to develop and enhance the programme, build new models of collaborative professional learning and to guide schools in mentoring new graduates for a longer-term commitment to low SES school communities. References:Darling-Hammond, L. (2003). Keeping good teachers: Why it matters, what leaders can do. Educational Leadership, 60 (8), 6–13.Darling- Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st Century Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57 (10), 1-15.