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Feedback so far

The draft Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession were released for consultation on Friday, 10 March. We invited teachers, learners, and families/whānau to provide feedback on the document, via a survey, submission template, or submission letter. Each week we provide an updated summary of the responses. After five weeks we have received 1252 responses from the main online survey. Here is a summary of the key themes from the survey.

Feedback on the draft Code

When asked how well the draft Code describes the expectations of ethical practice in Aotearoa New Zealand, 70% feel it does so either completely or almost completely (4 or 5 on the 1-5 scale). 9% of respondents feel it does so either poorly or not at all (1 or 2 on the 1-5 scale).

Between 68-77% considered each of the four commitment statements captures the expectations of the teaching profession completely or almost completely. Respondents were overwhelmingly positive about supporting examples in the Code Guidance for each of the four commitment statements with 78-83% of participants agreeing they found them helpful.

The key themes from the additional supporting comments so far include:

  • request that we find the right balance in encouraging commitment to a shared set of social values, while at the same time nurturing a freedom of thought for learners and an ability to question the status quo
  • a reminder that the Code also needs to protect and empower teachers--especially those who speak up to challenge a poor practice, poor policy, or unprofessional behaviour
  • support for the intent of the principles in the Code but concern that some of the examples may be misinterpreted as ‘rules’ and don’t acknowledge the importance of context
  • some very strong support for the comprehensiveness of the Code guidance, and its value for supporting beginning teachers in particular
  • a desire for the positive examples to be as explicit as the negative examples
  • a suggestion that spelling out the negative examples of behaviour that would breach the Code, many of which are common sense, implies a low trust model
  • concern that the principle 1.1 ‘Demonstrating a high standard professional and personal behaviour’ impinges too far into the private lives of teachers
  • concern that the Code Guidance might be used to support vexatious complaints against teachers
  • comments that some words are ambiguous and too open to interpretation, such as ‘high standards’, ‘poor judgement’, ‘the public good’, ‘appropriate’, or ‘valid context’
  • suggestions that part of the Code should also include the importance of teachers maintaining their own wellbeing (for example, accessing support, or maintaining work-life balance) or that there should be an additional commitment statement - 'Commitment to Ourselves'
  • comments that the length of the Code guidance makes the whole Code less accessible and less memorable
  • suggestion that there is too much repetition in the supporting principles across each of the commitment statements
  • a view that references to bicultural partnership fail to adequately acknowledge New Zealand as a multicultural nation
  • a desire for more clarity in some of the guidance examples and about the expectations of school leaders when the commitments of the Code aren’t being met.

Regarding the proposed title of the Code, 76% of respondents are in favour of “Code of Professional Responsibility,” with a number of alternate titles suggested, such as:

  • The Teacher’s Professional Code
  • Code of Professional Conduct
  • Education Code of Ethics
  • Code of Professional Practice
  • Code & Standards for Aotearoa Teaching Professionals
  • Code of Conduct
  • Teachers Code.

Feedback on the draft Standards

87% of participants felt that overall the Standards describe effective practice for a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand, with 79% agreeing that there are no aspects of quality teaching that are missing from the draft Standards. Looking at each draft standard, the vast majority (77-87%) of participants felt each standard adequately describes that specific aspect of quality practice.

Some of the other key themes that emerge in the comments include:

  • the draft Standards cover ‘teaching in the 21st Century’
  • a lot of positive feedback about synthesising 12 Practising Teacher Criteria to 6 Standards
  • suggestion that while the Standards focus on the appropriate core competencies, the passion and inspiration teachers bring need to be recognised as equally critical parts of quality teaching
  • concern that teachers won’t have sufficient time to engage with the new Code and Standards, which will be essential if they are to be implemented and supported properly
  • questions about how best to balance our bicultural foundations with our increasingly multicultural society
  • questions around how expectations of recognising the unique status of tangata whenua can be practically applied in a single-subject teaching context such as maths
  • concern that the draft Standards and the Code create an environment where discussion of belief is no longer welcome in the classroom (or only certain beliefs are) – yet encouraging students to develop and share their beliefs is seen as important development by a number of participants
  • a desire to see the Code and Standards as a document that focuses on the best in quality teaching, independent of particular political views that may change more frequently
  • a concern that a passion and commitment for learning and teaching are buried in the list and should be more explicitly the primary focus
  • concerns about the increasing expectations and workload teachers face, and whether the draft Standards are adding further to this
  • agreement that ideally parents and learners should be involved in setting the next steps for their learning – but a need for greater clarity on how these processes might work.

Feedback on the values

85% of participants agree the descriptions of each of the four values, which underpin the draft Code and Standards (whakamana, manaakitanga, tikanga and whanaungatanga) usefully capture what each value should look like in practice. A few respondents suggested alternative descriptions and some additional concepts to be included. 

Supporting Resources

There is a strong appetite for a range of resources to help unpack the Code and the Standards and support their implementation in practice, including a strong desire to see it integrated within professional learning and development. There continues to be a particularly strong support for a handbook, as well as discussion packs, online learning modules and posters. Face to face workshops were also suggested. 

Demographics

As at Thursday 13 April, there were 1252responses to the main online survey. The respondents so far are primarily:

  • classroom teachers (60%) and those in leadership roles (32%)
  • from Primary settings (39%), followed by Secondary (30%) and ECE (16%)
  • those with more than 10 years teaching experience (60%), followed by 6-10 years (15%) and then those with 3-5 years (13%) and 0-2 years (7%).

Have your say

If you have already participated in the consultation, we thank you for your input. If not, we encourage you to read the drafthave your say, and encourage your colleagues, learners and their families/whānau to do the same before 5pm on Friday 21 April.