Attracting Quality Teachers ­ Blog ­ ISAA

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Attracting Quality Teachers

For those not aware of it The Conversation ( provides some of the best commentary on current issues over a wide range of topics. My own area of interest is education and one of my current serious concerns is the way Universities are using the consumer driven model to enter quite mediocre students (based on their University Entry Scores) into teaching courses just to collect federal funding. For a discussion of this see . The contrast with countries such as Finland where it is harder to get into teaching than it is to get into Law or Medicine is stark.

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  1. Anne McDonell January 24, 2018 at 8:46 am #
    I would like to ask three questions about the Finnish teacher education program: 1. What are the average salaries of graduates of teaching, medicine and law after (a) graduation, and (b) after 10 years 2. What proportion of males and females in the graduating class. 3. Is the long summer break an incentive to choose the teaching profession?
  2. Ian Keese May 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    I certainly agree, Stephen, about the use of “sorting” – I think it goes back to the English .education/class system. The best teachers work on each student achieving mastery, even though this will be to a different degree depending on the abilities of that particular child. In Finland students are seven when they go to school (although pre-school is far more than baby-sitting) and if a student entering the system is identified as having poor literacy or numeracy skills extensive resources are devoted to developing these skills before hey enter the mainstream. Too often in Australia they are just classified as slow learners and left to languish at the bottom of the class. A significant factor in our international ranking on tests such as PISA is our long tail at the lower end and improving this would obviously improve our average result. For more analysis see my article at

  3. Stephen Horn May 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Exactly Ian, but I don’t know that we may be missing the point in the long run. The reason that Finland manages to educate its citizens better than almost anyone else, may not be because it has high quality teachers (although presumably this is a factor) but because they have deliberately focussed on educating the less able. We have been blind sided by scores and rankings, and not just in education outcomes. Good policy is not about performances or outcomes, it is about settling on values in public decision making; the decision itself and also how the decision is arrived at. Good policy does not stand still; performative approaches can push policy backwards, as they require a fixed frame (this year compared to last year; this sector compared to that), which can be appropriate when uncontroversial, but in contested situations narrows the debate; and consequent grounds for action. That teaching is not given the respect or recognition it deserves as a key profession, is arguably a symptom: the real issue is that our society tolerates (indeed requires) failure in children, as a sorting device. We simply cannot afford this. I think this is where they got it right in Finland.

  4. Hans Goodman May 23, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    It would be a good idea to have the ‘blog instructions’ on the website or better still, have a ‘click here to leave a reply’ as with this reply which I am trialling purely to see how or if it works.

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