Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemThe origins and early history of the State secondary school teachers in Victoria, 1872-1926Reid, G. A ( 1968)In tracing the history of state secondary school teachers in Victoria from their origins in the primary teaching service until 1926, this study covers the areas relevant to teacher status - viz., teacher training, conditions and associations - and an attempt has been made to evaluate the progress made towards professional status. The Diploma of education course, initially a two-year University course aimed to train teachers of academic subjects, was instrumental in raising the academic and pedagogical qualifications of secondary teachers. It was, however, inadequate in that it did not train teachers in sufficient numbers, and it was always starved of finance and essential resources. The Diploma was supplemented by the post- Intermediate Trained Teacher's Certificate courses in manual and Domestic Arts and Commercial subjects. Because the education Department played a significant role in both systems of training and the teachers had no control of training standards, the progress that was made was achieved without reference to the teachers, and was offset by the increasing numbers of temporary teachers employed in the secondary schools. No significant progress was made by secondary teachers in determining their professional conditions. These were almost entirely decided by the centralized administration which widened and tightened its influence. Professional freedom in areas such as curricula was further limited by the uniformity imposed by the public examination system. State secondary teachers were willing conformists to these pressures restricting their professional activity, and directed most of their energy towards regularizing their position within the public service. Even in this sphere, they achieved little: their salaries were relatively poorer in 1926 than they had been in 1912, it took thirteen years to gain a Classification Board, and they rarely succeeded in gaining concessions even on minor matters. Hence state secondary teachers were enthusiastic supporters of the movement towards the uniting of all teachers within the one Union which culminated in 1926. By 1926, then, the greatest gain that state secondary teachers had made was in their training and qualifications. For the rest, their steps towards professional status were faltering and often retrograde.