Teachers need to develop innovation as an important skill set to ensure we are delivering the best possible education in our classrooms, Carolyn Rhodes, OneSchool Global’s Australian Teacher Academy Director, said today.

“The ability to look for new ways to solve problems and develop their own ideas is a crucial new skill set needed for teachers today,” Ms. Rhodes said.

This comes off the back of the latest international education rankings which show Australian schools have gone backwards, highlighting the need for innovation as a vital skill needed by teachers.

“We look to recruit and develop educators who are passionate, inspirational, warm and who model a love of learning,” she said.

“Additionally, working for an organisation that values innovation, means we are also looking for teachers who have a growth mindset, who are team players and who can solve problems – we need teachers who are life-long learners themselves.”

Ms Rhodes said a significant shift in teachers’ skills set is needed in Australian schools, to make sure we maximise technology effectively in the classroom and ensure we are teaching our children the necessary skills for the 21st century.

“To remain relevant, teachers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to meet the needs of their students and to maintain their own professional accreditation – but also, to stay in step with teaching technologies as they rapidly evolve.”

OneSchool Global, established by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC), upskills its teachers in Australia, through an innovative teacher training program offered to all its teachers in its network of schools across the country.

The Teacher Academy program includes courses in Self Directed Learning; Thinking for Learning; Aspiring Leadership; Coaching for Success and Engaging Digital Learners.

“For teachers to grow, develop and flourish, they need time and structure to support them. Some teachers in other school systems are finding professional development opportunities difficult to access, “Ms Rhodes said.

“Teachers are seeking more and more quality professional learning in their careers – and the fact we have the Teachers Academy available, free of charge to our staff, is a major factor in our teachers’ professional desire to upskill,” she said.

The reskilling challenge set in the broader context of the Australian workforce was recently detailed in a report by McKinsey & Co, Australia’s Automation Opportunity, which explains that for all industries, some jobs will be lost, others created, however all jobs will change over the next decade.

“As automation technologies integrate into the workforce, the mix of skills required in all jobs will shift. For example, people will spend over 60% more time using technological skills,” the report explains.

“Teachers need new instructional skills to make the best use of technology-enhanced coursework, personalising materials and learning experiences and integrating interactive simulations rather than merely posting written materials and lectures online.”

OneSchool new graduate teacher, Sarah Cooper, 44, said she was encouraged by the school’s professional development offering to make the switch from a career in engineering to one in mathematics teaching.

“I know that I am part of something amazing, where I am valued as a teacher, professional and specialist,” Ms Cooper said.

Music teacher, Jane Hill, 53, said that after teaching for 32 years in both government and independent schools, as well as universities, the reskilling support at OneSchool gave her the confidence to continue her passion of teaching music to students.

“It encourages numerous professional development opportunities including a variety of courses offered by the Teacher Academy,” Ms Hill said.

“I get to teach music to students via Zoom across multiple locations, the chance to network with other music teachers nationally and to share teaching ideas and resources across the school’s network globally.”

Ms Rhodes says that while teaching at OneSchool requires staff to operate in new and innovative ways utilising technology to teach in both blended and virtual environments, its Teacher Academy works with staff to build capacity for this in a variety of ways.

“The research is clear – the most important influences for improved student outcomes are the quality of the relationship between a student and their teacher and the quality of teaching.

“As such, we’re focussed on a range of ongoing skilling and professional learning opportunities, with innovation a key theme, including residential programs, online and virtual learning, coaching and facilitated professional communities and forums,” Ms Rhodes said.