Innovative teaching Project

Year: 2000

Author: OWEN, C

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Australian College of Education, the Australian Traineeship Foundation and the Dusseldorp Skills Forum have worked in partnership during the past twelve months to identify and document examples of innovative teaching practice in Australian secondary schools. Five teachers, short listed from nominations, were interviewed during site visits. The case studies depict practitioners who have managed to 'break the mould' of the isolated, classroom-bound teacher, and have stepped beyond the comfort zone of their own subject/discipline area. An educational resource is to be published that describes, analyses and synthesises the key elements and features of innovative teaching in contemporary contexts.

Results: At the time of writing this abstract four case studies have been completed or are underway, the other studies are in the final planning stages, soon to be implemented. From the evidence emerging to date it appears that innovative teachers are very effective communicators, able to engage with a wide variety of audiences. They have a love of learning and teaching and are exemplary life-long learners. They are also able to articulate a philosophy of education that is clear and unambiguous, and feel comfortable with supporting their students to realise their own potential. They are not hesitant when it comes to putting in long hours and cleverly garner resources and advocates to support the innovations they bring to their classrooms, schools and communities. They are skilled problem solvers and have the ability to empower others to be involved and share the benefits associated with success.

Conclusion: Education departments, teacher training institutions and professional and community groups can learn a great deal from the teachers who are the subjects of this study. However, emerging issues such as the extent to which the innovative skills highlighted throughout this study are readily transferable, and the nature of the resourcing required to support these accomplished teachers in meeting the demands of the knowledge society, would benefit from in-depth discussion by both the teaching profession and the wider community.