Teacher skills and professional standards will be up for discussion when BCCPAC members gather in Richmond later this month for their annual general meeting.
The board of directors has proposed two resolutions: The first addresses skills shortages of some teachers and the second seeks updates to professional standards.
They are among 23 resolutions to be debated during the May 31 – June 1 meeting.
The first of these two resolutions seeks regulatory changes that would require all teachers to update and maintain their skills to the level of a newly certified teacher. Currently, there are no upgrade requirements after a teacher has entered the profession.
“As a result, teachers now teaching in BC classrooms may have no skills or training in special needs instruction, any further standards that might be created, and other areas now mandated by the teaching standards for new teachers,” the resolution says.
“This lack of skills directly impacts the ability of those teachers . . . to conduct classes in the best way possible for our children.”
According to the B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, teaching is one of only three professions in B.C. that does not require continuous, prescribed professional development.
The second resolution urges the B.C. Teachers’ Council to update teacher standards before the start of the next school year. The 16-member council assumed responsibility for professional standards in 2012, following the demise of the discredited B.C. College of Teachers (BCCT).
One of the council’s first goals was to examine standards for certification and education “in order to identify where strengths exist and where changes may be necessary.” There’s been a lot of discussion and consultation since then but not much action, the resolution says.
“It is of urgent importance that the Council complete this important task and bring the standards up to date,” the resolution adds.
The eight standards now in place have been described as imprecise and vague. The BCTC said it heard the following recommendations for reform during stakeholder consultations:
– Standards need to be rigorous, measurable and attainable.
– Standards need to reflect the knowledge, skills and attributes of 21st century educators.
– Professional development must be linked to goals of a professional growth plan and certification cycle.
Meanwhile in Alberta, a government task force has also called for an update of teacher standards to define clearly the expectations for the profession. That recommendation was in a controversial report released this month, which also called for teachers to undergo evaluation every five years. The Alberta Teachers’ Association described it as an attack on the profession.