August 17

Training Governance Review Project (TGRP) update


The Training Governance Review Project continues to develop. It’s a large and complex project that has required a lot of member and expert input. The TGRP was established by the previous Council to consider improvements that might be made in the way in which AUSTAT currently accredits and oversees training schools in Australia and Taiwan. After some initial analysis and a meeting with Heads of Training last year, the unanimous feedback was that the current system of accreditation and oversight was extremely flawed and could be improved.

The TGRP, acting on this feedback, developed a new model of training governance. The strength of this new model is founded on self-regulation and self-reporting. This model was presented for feedback to the membership in February this year.  A strong showing of hands at that feedback session suggested that the TGRP should move on to the second phase of project.

The second phase of the project involves developing documents for constitutional change and procedural documents to implement the change. Those documents are now available to view on the AUSTAT website.

If the 2023 AGM votes for the constitutional changes, Phase 3 will see a two-year transition and implementation period with full implementation by 2026. Phase 4 will be an evaluation project that will survey trainers, trainees and stakeholders. Phase 4 should continue until at least 2030.

AUSTAT has developed revolutionary solutions to training governance. Firstly, establishing clarity as to the purpose of assessment allows a clear demarcation for what is a training course director’s concern and what is AUSTAT’s concern.

It works like this: AUSTAT’s concern is not whether a graduating teacher trainee is a “good teacher”. That concern is entirely the training course director’s concern. It always has been and should stay the same. Training course directors have the experience, the skills and the knowledge to determine whether someone will make a “good teacher”.

AUSTAT’s concern, as the professional accrediting body, is that a person has been trained in such a way that they will possess the skills, knowledge and attitude that will allow them to act “professionally”. This can be demonstrated entirely by a person’s record of training. AUSTAT only needs to know that a person has, in the opinion of their training course director, completed required units of study. This is a crucial delineation.

The TGRP has developed an AUSTAT teacher training standard that is entirely about the role of a professional Alexander Technique teacher. The standard suggests 12 areas of skills and knowledge that any member of the public would rightly expect from a professional Alexander Technique teacher.  You can view the draft standard here. TGRP is currently developing an accompanying trainee-teacher logbook, which will act as their record of study of required units.

Standardisation of AUSTAT training will bring benefits associated with equivalence. Regardless of where a person has trained in Australia or Taiwan, AUSTAT will be able to give assurances about their professional knowledge. Equivalence allows AATT’s to provide recognition of current competency and recognition of prior learning RCC/RPL to trainees. So if a trainee moves from one state to another, they will be able to continue their training from where they left off.

Standardisation doesn’t mean conformity. The standard establishes a professional expectation. It is entirely up to the AATT how they meet that expectation. In fact, standardisation under this model provides the AATT with far more autonomy about how they run their training, than the current system.

Eventually, AUSTAT might be able to say that any AUSTAT Certificate Accreditation is equivalent to an undergraduate degree or an advanced diploma. In today’s society, where training is a significant investment by students, those kinds of quality statements carry great weight and are more and more expected from learners.

Under this new system, trainees of AUSTAT Approved Teacher Trainers (AATTs) must be registered with AUSTAT. They are provided with an AUSTAT logbook that reflects the standard. It must be completed and signed by the AATT. They undertake a number of tasks that involve them in AUSTAT events and they work with senior AUSTAT teachers, who provide them with third party reports to be included in their logbook. Teacher Trainees with 100% completion of their logbook are assessed by AUSTAT and provided with accreditation and full membership.

It is the AATT (previously, Head of Training) who determines whether a teacher trainee graduates from their course. It is the AATT who signs off on the logbook. Unlike other world societies, using this logbook system means there is no use of direct assessment panels or examiners. Under this new model, any direct assessment of trainees is by, or supervised by, the AATT. AUSTAT assessment of teacher trainees or of AATTs is through evidence-based documentation and/or third party report. This allows for an assessment process that minimises bias, meets the principles of assessment and rules of evidence and is very clear of its purpose.

For those concerned that a logbook and training standard are end-gaining, the TGRP says that the standard is a means whereby. It is up to each AATT to weight and cluster and design how that process is utilised. We would expect our AATTs to use the standard as a constructive stimulus with which to apply the principles.

Those concerned about the 1600-hour rule needn’t be. The AUSTAT Teacher Training standard sets down volume of learning requirements that precludes instant certificates from weekend workshops and the like. The logbook requires teacher trainees and their AATT to attest to the number of hours undertaken for each of 12 modules. Training is expected to fall between 1400 to 2000 hours.

If the TGRP’s motion, to be placed before the 2023 AGM, is successful, then a lot of the current constitution will need to be re-worded or deleted. This kind of constitutional change requires a lot of thought, objective and subjective advice and consultation. The TGRP has developed a draft Motion to put to November’s meeting. It has been to a lawyer for advice and has been displayed to members. Feedback that has already been received from members has been incorporated into a new draft motion. It is envisaged that the final draft will be put in front of members for final consultation mid to late July.

This is an exciting and positive change that is available to AUSTAT, if it achieves a 75% majority of the vote at the next AGM in November.

There are many benefits to be gained, including:

  • equivalency of training
  • minimum standards of skills and knowledge in the areas of 1) Alexander Technique practice, 2) expression of Alexander Technique concepts, 3) instructional techniques, and 4) professional development
  • greater autonomy for training course directors (AATTs)
  • ability to provide measured Recognition of Prior Learning and Recognition of Current Competency for advanced standing
  • more flexible assessment of the suitability of a person to train teachers, that takes into account Australian conditions.
  • greater involvement of trainee teachers into AUSTAT community events
  • application of criteria based accreditation using Australian Standard principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence.

Dr. Terry Fitzgerald described the TGRP with its constitutional change model and the development of associated training standards as “ground-breaking within the andragogy* of Alexander Technique teaching”.  The questions and feedback from two consultation sessions so far reflect a positive expression of support.

Michael Shellshear


*Andragogy is the method and practice of teaching adult learners; adult education.

Leave a Reply
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

You may also like

SOFMAS 2024 CPD Workshops

SOFMAS 2024 CPD Workshops