Friday, 15 February 2013

Reforms worth fighting for

Popular viewpoints about what systemic education reforms should be aiming for have evolved over time. The 'Fourth Way' builds upon previous movements that have had some differing foci and features:
  1. First, we had the [relatively] high trust of teachers, but low accountability and collaboration, resulting in the 'silos' mentality and greater potential for a lack of awareness of current theories, research, innovations, etc... 
  2. Then we had the zealous drive for consistency - pursued via standardisation, high accountability, prescriptive curricula and programs, narrower [that which was tested... ] learning experiences for students, etc. Many of these elements are still popular [often increasingly so!]. 
  3. Building upon the previous movement was the collection, analysis, comparison and use of DATA - to measure, to assess, to inform, to justify, to group, to 'target', to personalise, to differentiate, to report, to determine salaries, etc, etc... Surely the more information we have about our students, the better..? Right..???

The article above features two professors who, in analysing education systems around the globe, have identified and synthesised the best elements of these respective systems that need to be spread and incorporated globally. Some of the points that jumped out to me as important and worthy of aspiring towards were:

  • Decentralised governance - schools need to be able to adapt and target the unique local communities that they serve.
  • Broad, flexible curricula - allow teachers and schools the freedom to follow unique, localised pathways towards curriculum goals. i.e. Give them the destination and let them determine the course that best suits their students, rather than prescribing directions that are written for the masses.
  • Principals who focus on maximising and improving the performance of teachers, rather than 'administration'...   

What do you think? Are these some of the right 'ways' for education to be reformed..?

1 comment:

  1. I agree totally. Government has too much input and they not in touch with the real issues each unique school is having to deal with. Therefore, they are essentially unable to prescribe effective programming, assessment and forward planning to meet needs. They are simply following a political agenda which has no place in the Education of our children.
    They do not understand - obviously - how much more effective a classroom programme can be when students are applying, developing and consolidating important skills through an interest based, skills driven classroom integrated programme. Change is well over due. There are many example across the world of effective teaching and learning. Its time we took note.