To improve teacher quality, the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards has announced that students sitting for this year’s HSC will need to achieve at least three Band 5 results, including one in English, to enrol in a teaching degree in 2016.
We asked Year 12 students at Aquinas Catholic College Menai who are considering a teaching degree if they thought the new entry standards were a good idea. Here’s what they said.
“I think it’s a good idea to an extent, but I think the standards should differentiate between students doing Standard or Advanced English. There should be a percentage leeway so that someone doing Advanced English doesn’t have to get as high a mark as someone doing Standard because of the level of work.
“I do think it is essential that teachers be able to understand the concept of English in a good way because they have to be able to mark tests, essays and responses, and of because of how English seeps into most all subjects you would be teaching.”
“I think it’s important to raise the standard of teachers but I also think it’s important to have other skills, rather than just being ‘smart’, like communication skills, being able to put your point across to your audience, and being able to speak in front of crowds.
“Because I’m interested in teaching primary school children, I think you need to be able to speak at their level. I think that’s important.”
“I think it’s a good idea because hopefully it will improve the quality of teachers in the next four or five years, but I can see it has limitations. It does put pressure on us to achieve a Band 5 result in English and two other subjects. I want to be a Maths teacher so to have to achieve a Band 5 result in English seems less important.
“I think they should take your subject preference for high School teaching into consideration.”
“I think it’s important because in theory if students who want to be teachers achieve a Band 5 it will produce better quality teachers. Once those teachers find a career they will produce better students so it becomes an improvement over time.”
“I think it will be very beneficial because it will improve teacher quality over time. However, someone may do really well in other subjects and not so well in English, and it’s not because they can’t spell correctly. They may make a really good teacher, because they have the communication and other skills to be a good teacher, they just don’t excel in that subject.
“It puts pressure on students to achieve. People might think ‘I need three Band 5s’ and not give teaching a chance.”
“I think it will be a good thing because it will raise standards. English does teach you important skills like how to analyse and look deeper into things.
“It may stop people from applying because they think ‘I can’t do that’. If you want to be a science teacher I don’t think you need as much emphasis on English.”
View the video responses here.