Education Minister Joy Burch has highlighted the need for Canberra educators to embrace better teaching standards and to ensure graduate teachers are classroom ready, at an address to the Australian Council for Educational Leaders on Friday.
But her speech avoided the elephant in the room – demands from Canberra's government teachers to sack Ms Burch from her education portfolio.
Ms Burch used a recent Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership national survey to emphasise that principals and school leaders had a good grasp of the standards and their day-to-day significance, but nearly half of all teachers said they did not use the standards in practice.
More than a third of those surveyed did not believe the standards had an impact on student outcomes.
"I am confident that these figures would be different in the ACT. However, there is clear evidence that teachers need assistance to connect standards to their relevance to professional work," she said.
"The challenge now is for teachers to genuinely take up the professional discipline offered by the standards... teachers must own these standards and continue to develop them so they do not become something that is imposed upon them externally, but are part of the profession itself being responsible for those who enter it."
One of her key concerns as minister she said was how to ensure graduates were ready to teach in the classroom, as reflected in a recent Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group report.
"The ACT is already leading the way in implementation of many of the recommendations of the report through the collaborative work of the [Teacher Quality Institute], Catholic, independent and public schools and the ACT universities," she said.
"However...much work remains to be done about what we really mean by teachers entering the profession 'ready to teach'.
"We must find ways both to enable beginning teachers to access the benefits of working with their more experienced colleagues and to ensure that experienced teachers continue to develop their professional practice."
Ms Burch questioned how to "bring the standards alive" in the classroom; and how to provide evidence of the impact of their practice on student outcomes.
She said selecting suitable new teachers; creating better teacher-ready programs and inductions; and fostering a disciplined approach to continued professional learning and development were also among key challenges.