[Offtopic] Points to consider including in VIT Review Response

Stephen Digby digby.stephen.p at edumail.vic.gov.au
Sun Aug 26 10:58:53 EST 2007

Needs to be emailed to  <mailto:vit at hlbvic.com.au> vit at hlbvic.com.au prior to 5pm on Tuesday, 18 September 2007. 

Feedback and Recommendations

I. the appropriate objectives for the Institute in the light of government polices and changes in all educational sectors since its

Create new structures:

*	VERB - Victorian educational Regulatory Board: Registration of Teachers, Approves and accredits pre-service teacher
education courses, Misconduct Investigations. Run by government. Paid from general revenue. 

*	VEI- Victorian Educational Institute: Promotion of the profession, Works with teachers. Paid from voluntary membership. Run
by members elected by membership. 

II. the effectiveness of the Institute in achieving its original objectives;

*	VIT has destroyed the little goodwill it has at its inception through its unwillingness to represent "the profession" in any
real sense: 

*	VIT made no protest re. the imposition of registration fees and criminal record checks on teachers, revealing itself to be a
government cipher 

*	the manner and timing of its demands for money have alienated teachers 

*	the wasteful style of practice most prominently in relation to its expensive and self promoting "communication" expenditure
further alienated teachers 

*	VIT made insignificant contributions to public debates re. educational issues where "promotion of the teaching profession"
is needed. e.g. VELs reporting and assessment systems, new curriculum structure, teacher stress, assaults on teachers etc 
It thus reveals itself o be another arm of government rather than a body representing the profession - an arm of government that
teachers substantively pay for ! 

VIT has irreversibly lost support from teachers and nothing short of a major re-organisation in terms of structure, purpose and
personnel could begin its recovery

VIT Purposes:

*	Registration of all teachers: Achieved but only at the cost of near universal alienation of teachers due to: 

*	the timing and manner that registration was organised, 

*	the high level of charges, 

*	the use of fees collected for purposes considered by teachers to be wasteful and unnecessary (e.g. glossy publications,
ineffective "promotion of he profession etc etc) and 

*	the absence of any attempt by the VIT to pressure the government to pay for functions that are clearly the employers
responsibility (e.g. registration, police checks, pre-service course evaluation etc etc) 

*	Promotion of the profession: Pitiful performance on most issues reinforcing the strongly held conviction that the institute
only parrots the policy of the employers and the government. 
Virtually no worthwhile contribution to important community debates on such issues as assessment and reporting, teacher stress and
safety from assault, curriculum changes under VELs etc etc 

*	Works with teachers: Documents produce supposedly to "work" with teachers were verbose and full of jargon ("edu-speak") and
looked and smelt like a fait accompli.
Importantly, VIT made NO attempt to provide any shared communication with the profession.
One would think, after spending unknown sums on a website that there would be a discussion forum (as seen on so many news and
community sites !!) where teachers could share responses and communicate to VIT and with each other.
NO ! As befits an organisation that gives consultation only "lip service", responses to feedback go into a magical black hole which
generates an invented consensus view.
People attending public hearings have no idea what becomes of their contributions. The website contains no record of what was said. 

*	Supports teachers in their first year of teaching with a structured induction program: Done. BUT the people who actually
make it work are in schools. The contribution of the bureaucratic and verbose "support" materials to the success of the program is
very small. Why not provide funding direct to schools to support induction activities !! 

*	Approves and accredits pre-service teacher education courses that prepare teachers: No idea what has been achieved. Annual
report mentions the organisation of a conference and cyclical review of 6 courses which were all approved.
The process described seems to be just another paper shuffle (2007 Annual Report p.20). If the VIT was really serious about this
role, it would have implemented or required some real review procedures such as direct feedback from teachers trained by the
institutions and/or from the schools where they work. Accreditation of new courses should presumably be built on objective data
about the performance of existing courses so that improvements can be targeted at existing and emerging needs rather than "ivory
tower" fads unrelated to the real world of classroom practice.
Experienced teachers who have worked with beginning teachers have a distinct impression that the skills provided in pre-service
training are not well matched to the demands of actual classroom teaching. Reports on individual teachers do not elicit this as they
are heavily weighted towards supportive suggestions about the individual teachers practice rather then the pre-service course
The VIT should provide (or insist on) opportunities for all beginning teachers to evaluate on the adequacy of their pre-service
courses at 6 months, and 18 months after commencement of teaching. This could easily be conducted at zero (YES zero !) cost through
online an questionnaire and open forum for teachers to share impressions and experiences. 

*	Investigate and make findings on serious misconduct, incompetence or lack of fitness to teach: No idea of how well the VIT
is performing this task. 

III. the most appropriate structures for achieving the objectives identified under point I;

*	Regulatory functions such as registration of teachers and investigation of misconduct as well pre-service course review
should be conducted by a government department at no cost to teachers. 

*	Promotion of the profession and development of recommendations regarding professional practice should be undertaken by an
organisation with voluntary membership.
Most teachers already have the option of membership of such an organisations in the form of their union and voluntarily pay
considerable membership fees. 

IV. whether the Institute or a successor body has a role to play in this future environment; changes that may be required to its
functions, structure and legislative mandate; and

*	VIT, in its present form and with its present management, should be scrapped because it has no credibility with teachers in
relation to its independence, its management of registration and police checks, or its promotion of the profession 

V. the appropriateness of the fee structures and operating costs of the Institute.

*	As the dominant purpose of the institute is to regulate teachers rather than to assist them, the costs of the institute
should be born by the employers and the state. 

*	IF the government insists on passing on the cost of regulation to teachers, then the organisation should be run as an
efficient administrative structure devoid of the fat of self promotion and the pretence that it is serving any other purposes 

*	The VIT Budget Report for 2005-6 (http://www.vit.vic.edu.au/retrievemedia.asp?Media_ID=1061) indicates that the organisation
can't even remain within it's income of about $8 mill and overspent by $253000 

*	the organisation makes no attempt to separate expenditure relating to its separate functions - registration, promotion,
standards development, induction, teachers course approval, misconduct investigations.
It is highly likely that this conceals the fact that the organisation spends the vast bulk of its funds merely administering itself
as a sinecure for fat cats. This is certainly the near universal belief of teachers in schools. 

*	The expenditure on communications is identified 1.5 mill but not explained in terms of publication types purpose, web site
Virtually all teachers would assume that the lions share of this expenditure falls under the umbrella of self-promotion rather than
fulfilling any of the VIT aims
On receiving expensively produced VIT communications in schools, teachers universally sigh with exasperation in the realisation that
the pamphlet has been produced mainly at their own expense - and then consign it to the bin. 

*	If the government decides NOT to listen to teachers and to scrap the VIT in its present form, it could AT LEAST par the
organisation back to its bones so that the registration cost is minimised and "optional" activities such as promotion and
communication are eliminated. 

It would be far better to remove the confusion of purposes, the secret cross subsidy of activities, and the huge legacy of antipathy
developed by the current VIT, and create new structures:

*	VERB - Victorian educational Regulatory Board: Registration of Teachers, Approves and accredits pre-service teacher
education courses, Misconduct Investigations. Run by government. Paid from general revenue. 

*	VEI- Victorian Educational Institute: Promotion of the profession, Works with teachers. Paid from voluntary membership. Run
by members elected by membership. 

Stephen Digby, Learning Technology Manager
mailto: admin at cheltsec.vic.edu.au
Cheltenham Secondary College www.cheltsec.vic.edu.au
Ph: 613 955 55 955  Fx: 9555 8617 Mb: 0431-701-028
Universities are of course hostile to geniuses, which, seeing and using ways of their own, discredit the routine: as churches and
monasteries persecute youthful saints.   Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Important - This email and any attachments may be confidential. If received in error, please contact us and delete all copies. Before opening or using attachments check them for viruses and defects. Regardless of any loss, damage or consequence, whether caused by the negligence of the sender or not, resulting directly or indirectly from the use of any attached files our liability is limited to resupplying any affected attachments. Any representations or opinions expressed are those of the individual sender, and not necessarily those of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://www.edulists.com.au/pipermail/offtopic/attachments/20070826/f88e17df/attachment-0001.html

More information about the offtopic mailing list