The Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training (see http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/evt/index.htm) inquired into Teacher Education (see http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/evt/teachereduc/index.htm).
Issues A4 members raised* include:
- The need for specialised training for teachers working with high-needs students with ASD. These students have extreme (clinical level) difficulties with communication (understanding their teacher and showing the teacher their lack of understanding), social skills (participating in or learning from other students, recognising the meaning of the behaviour of others, etc.) and behaviour (such as appropriate behaviour, attending to instructions, staying on task, etc.). They experience enormous barriers to learning.
- Teachers training does not develop critical thinking. Few teachers, education academics and education administrators can distinguish between an attractive hypothesis and a conclusion resulting from comprehensive research. For example, most educators treat “inclusion” in mainstream as a successful outcome when it is at best a candidate method in teaching a child who is disabled by autistic disorder.
- Teachers who work with students with ASD need to be taught to set clear measurable goals. Teachers should be taught methods for measuring, recording and reporting the educational and behavioural progress of students with ASD.
- Teachers are not taught effectively to respect the knowledge and skills of parents of children with ASD.
- Professional development for teachers whose classes include students with ASD is inadequate.
- Teacher training develops a pastoral culture where teachers aim to get by with what they have rather than seek addition resources and professional support needed to meet their students needs.
- Teacher are not trained sufficiently to ensure that they prepare most students with ASD for employment when they leave school.