MEDIA RELEASE – 17 AUGUST, 2021
TEACHER EDUCATION FAILS MORE THAN HALF A MILLION
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS IN AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS
Teacher education is failing to respond to the widespread linguistic diversity of Australian schools, according to the recent submission to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Quality Initial Teacher Education Review by the Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA).
Based on publicly available data, ACTA documented the following:
- well over 600,000 learners of English as an additional language/dialect (EAL/D) in Government and Catholic schools in Australia, including:
- 13,576 new arrivals
- 348,455 EAL/D learners in mainstream classrooms
- an estimated 27,329 Indigenous EAL/D learners
- 211,686 international
- dramatic growth in EAL/D student enrolments over the past decade:
- 114% in NSW Government schools
- 62% in Victorian Government
- major gaps in publicly available data on English language learners and provision for
- no reference to teaching EAL/D learners in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, which governs teachers’ accreditation and career
- no clarity or transparency in State/Territory qualification requirements for specialist EAL/D teachers.
- specialist EAL teacher education courses directed toward the international student market because of the lack of demand by school education employers for qualified EAL/D teachers.
- EAL/D course closures and their specialist university staff retrenched due to the COVID lockdown.
- only two preservice programs in Australia offer EAL/D courses for specialist teachers and core content on meeting the needs of English language learners for all
- no effective workforce planning for EAL/D
ACTA recommended that Initial Teacher Education could be made more responsive to the linguistic diversity of Australian schools by:
- elaborating national teacher education and leadership standards for EAL/D teaching
- specifying course content requirements for national accreditation of EAL/D teacher education programs
- mandating minimum EAL/D course requirements for specialist and mainstream teachers
- ensuring effective national EAL/D teacher workforce planning.
To read the ACTA submission, click here.
Further information: Michael Michell, ACTA Spokesperson on EAL/D in schools: ph. (02)96104870