Help for new teachers handling violent students
L-PLATE teachers will be asked to complete specialist training to deal with disruptive and violent students under a landmark new schools funding deal.
Senior government sources have revealed education officials are deeply troubled by growing behavioural problems among children and teachers' ability to cope.
The Sunday Herald Sun can reveal the new deal for the nation's public and private schools, to be announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard this month, will demand that schools lift teaching standards and school results in exchange for billions of dollars in new funding.
All teachers and public and private schools will also be asked to submit to annual performance reviews under the Government's long-awaited formal response to the Gonski inquiry - or miss out on funding increases.
The plan is expected to include a massive injection of cash for struggling public schools and low-fee Catholic and independent schools, but the Gillard Government has pledged rich private schools will not be stripped of funding.
The push to improve classroom management - and students' behaviour - follows concerns teachers are being asked to deal with rising numbers of students with autism, Asperger's, anxiety disorders and violent behaviours.
Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said teachers needed more training to deal with difficult charges.
The problems ranged from what might be described as low-level, persistent misbehaviour right through to children who are downright aggressive, he said.
Classroom management is a problem and it's one of the main reasons new teachers leave the industry because they are not getting the help and mentoring they need.
Macquarie University researchers have warned that some education courses offer as little as a few hours' instruction in classroom management over a four-year degree.
Other proposals to be put on the table by the Commonwealth will include:
GIVING new teachers extra time out of the classroom for the first two years so they have more time to plan lessons;
MENTORING new teachers by matching graduates with a more experienced teacher;
SPECIALISED training to manage disruptive classroom behaviour; and,
A DEMAND for annual teacher performance reviews at public and private schools.
Australian Primary Principals Association president Norm Hart said challenging student behaviour was a culture shock for some new teachers.
"It's always been a problem," he said. "There needs to be a greater emphasis on preparing teachers to manage challenging behaviours."
Mr Hart said there was also a growing fear of being sued by parents.
"They (teachers) are worried about being falsely accused of physical abuse or sexual abuse," he said.
"Teachers are paranoid.
"There's a growing fear about litigation, although I am not convinced that's reflected in an increase in the number of cases.
"But any adult who sees a child in danger of harming themselves or others must intervene and if they are running in front of a bus that intervention does require physical intervention. You actually have to grab them.
"Adults need to act like adults when they are with little kids."