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Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Australian Journal of Teacher Education

DOI

10.14221/ajte.2020v45n9.4

Abstract

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL, 2018) stipulate what teachers should know and do through each career stage. School leaders are complicit in promoting the Standards are met by all staff, including Professional Engagement (Standards Six and Seven). While the Standards emphasise content and pedagogical capacity building, we contend that teaching is a social enterprise. Although social capacity building is implied in the Professional Engagement domain through terms such as ‘collegiality, collaboration and dialogue’, we question the degree to which it is understood by school leaders. We ask this in light of influential studies by Waldinger (2010) and Vaillant (1977) which highlight the importance of workplace social connection in terms of job satisfaction and career longevity. Using an Appreciative Inquiry lens, we interviewed a number of positive school leaders about social capacity building among their staff against the Professional Engagement domain. While interviews affirmed many inspiring examples of its application, we also uncovered a degree of uncertainty, lack of clarity and practical difficulties experienced by these exemplary leaders. As per our research approach, we do not suggest that there is any fundamental problem with the Professional Engagement domain per se. However, findings indicate value for AITSL in reappraising this domain in relation to its wording, implications and application. A more explicit emphasis on the social context may in turn help address some of the issues confronting Australia’s aging teaching workforce.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.2020v45n9.4