Event highlights community language teacher contributions and support

Western Sydney University, in collaboration with the University of Sydney’s Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education and Australian Catholic University, was pleased to explore opportunities and challenges for Community Language Teachers as part of a seminar held on Wednesday, 8 December.

The ‘Celebrating Master of Teaching pathways for Community Language Teachers: a deliberate effort to diversify and enrich the teaching profession’ event brought together teachers, experts and sector leaders in recognition of the vital role of cultural and linguistic diversity of our community languages teachers.

Dean of the School of Education at Western Sydney University, Professor Michele Simons, reflected on the importance of helping diverse teachers to transition to primary and secondary teaching in New South Wales schools with fully recognised credentials and professional skills in teaching.

“Western Sydney University is very pleased and proud to be playing a leading role in supporting Community Language Teachers to achieve accreditation as teachers for New South Wales schools,” said Professor Simons.

The event featured the research outcomes of the Master of Teaching program at Western Sydney University and explored the efficacy of a range of supports provided to Community Language Teachers undertaking study at the University from 2020-2021.

Special guests included Western Sydney University Chancellor, Professor Peter Shergold AC; Professor Debra Hayes,  Head of School Education, University of Sydney; Konstantia Zagrimanis, Languages Advisor, NSW DET; Sana Zreika, Principal, Secondary College of Languages; Professor Donna King, Australia Catholic University, National Head of School of Education; and Professor Ken Cruickshank, Dr Tina Sharpe and Dr Maya Cranitch, from Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education, University of Sydney.

As part of the event, a forthcoming report led by the Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education titled ‘No Exchanging A Foreign Currency? Teacher Shortages and Community Languages Teachers with Overseas Qualifications’ was launched.

Report lead Professor Ken Cruickshank said: “One of the challenges that we have in education is to ensure that the diversity of our teaching workforce mirrors the diversity of children and young people in our Schools.”

“Supporting Community Language Teachers to bring their expertise – not only in languages, but in other curriculum areas such as Mathematics, Science and the Arts – to the classroom is an authentic and practical solution to this challenge,” said Professor Cruickshank.

The report will respond to the current barriers for international educators to gain Australian Teaching qualifications and present evidence-based data on how to address current teacher shortages in schools.


9 December 2021

Media Unit

Photo credit: OIST/Murray