Peak body celebrates 21 years

These associations are a community of support vital to isolated teachers, or those new to teaching a particular key learning area.

Amy Cotton IEU Professional Officer and Director of English Teachers’Association, Rosalee Whiteley Vice President of PTC NSW and representing English Teachers’ Association and Susan Gazis, PTC NSW Board member also representing English Teachers’ Association.

The Professional Teachers’ Council (PTC) NSW celebrated at its 21st Annual President’s Dinner in Sydney recently.

So much has been achieved since its genesis, including bringing together 45 specialist professional teachers’ associations in NSW.

Representing the IEU were Professional Officer Amy Cotton and Communications and Media Officer Bronwyn Ridgway, who attended alongside representatives from professional teachers associations throughout the state.

Guest speaker was Dr Roslyn Arnold, Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Sydney.

Her message focused on “why teachers will always be essential to students’ learning: empathy, care, and attunement.”

Dr Arnold spoke of empathetic intelligence, a concept that she has researched, developed and written about extensively.

“Empathically intelligent practitioners demonstrate a number of qualities, attributes, predispositions and abilities, in particular those which contribute to enthusiasm, capacity to engage others, expertise and empathy.

“Such practitioners are sensitive to the function of attunement and mirroring as affirmation and a means of modulating response.”

In explaining its relevance in education, Dr Arnold said, “Underpinning the theory of empathic intelligence is a philosophy which believes in the inherently person-centred nature of effective pedagogy, and a psychology which understands human development as dynamic, experiential, inter-dependent, self-driven and self- enhancing.

“The development of the theory of empathic intelligence has been influenced by scholars, researchers and practitioners in cross-disciplinary fields of human interaction.

“Empathic intelligence is grounded in practice and intrinsically mobilised by speculation and imagination. It can be, therefore, both a defining and an enabling theory when practised by deeply reflective professionals.

“The complexities of inter-subjective and intra-subjective engagement affirm belief in the power of relationships to mobilise tacit abilities for deep learning. Such engagement draws on intelligent caring and empathy as principled strategies and hope as an enabling affect in transformative learning,” Dr Arnold said.

Amy said: “Being a member of a teaching association has multiple benefits”.

“These volunteer-driven organisations represent the profession, each of whom are tireless advocates on behalf of their members on topics as varied as curriculum, assessment, accreditation and workload expectations.

“Members can access great professional learning opportunities via subject specific professional development but also informal mentoring.

“Also, these associations are a community of support vital to isolated teachers, or those new to teaching a particular key learning area.”

The IEU recognises the important advocacy work by the PTC NSW and its member associations conduct on behalf of the teaching profession. The Union looks forward to working alongside the PTC NSW, particularly at a time when accreditation is integral to teachers’ progression and remuneration within the profession.