Addressing quality teaching in hard to staff settings : the Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools Project Conference Paper uri icon


  • This Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools (ETDS) project sets out to design a new model of Australian teacher education responding to recent demands for quality education in low SES and disadvantaged schools. The project moves teacher education from the ‘missionary’ (Larabee, 2010) or deficit (Comber and Kamler 2004; Flessa, 2007) approaches, towards a focus on notions of quality and academic excellence. Rice (2008, p.1) argues for a need to place more of the “very best teachers into the most challenging schools”, yet the problem is not merely one of training more teachers, for disadvantaged schools already receive disproportionate numbers of beginning teachers (Connell, 1994; Vickers & Ferfolja, 2006). Rather, Grossman and Loeb (2010, p. 245) argue the problem centers on the common practice of “[p]lacing the least experienced teachers with the most needy students”. This paper reports on the first year trial of the project. The ETDS project is at present, the only mainstream Australian teacher education model that targets cohorts of academically high achieving pre-service teachers with the overt aim of preparing graduates of the program to teach in disadvantaged schools. At the end of its first year, the ETDS program graduated 20 new teachers, each of whom had over the previous 18 months engaged with a specialized curriculum and carefully monitored/scaffolded practicum placements in disadvantaged schools around Brisbane, Australia.

publication date

  • 2012