Time for educational transformation
Readings 14th June 1980
Now that the salary negotiations look like they will be settled it’s time to focus on teaching and learning. There is a reading below written by Sir Ken Robinson about the need to move from standardisation to transformation. A good read.
Time now to place the NZC central to learning
We both believe in the need for primary schools to now place the intent of the New Zealand
Curriculum up front and central and move away from the, as one commentator has said, ‘the evil twins of literacy and numeracy that have all but gobbled up the entire curriculum’.
It is not that literacy and numeracy aren’t important. Obviously they are but they need to be seen as ‘foundation skills’ necessary for students to develop their interests, talents and personal concerns. As such they are best ‘taught’ in context with students requiring help to be withdrawn for ‘catch up’ help and returned back as soon as possible to the ‘game of learning’.
What is the ‘message’ of your timetable?
A look at your timetable will indicate how much time traditional teaching of literacy and numeracy takes up and, by default, how many other areas are neglected. Schools need to focus on developing the gifts and talents of all students and to do this requires reimagining the timetable.
There are schools that have done just this but they are few and far between. Possibly the best inspiration for integrated learning comes from the distant past – the writings of pioneer teacher Elwyn Richardson. His book, ‘In the Early World’ has been reprinted by the NZCER and is still one of best book about creative teaching. Elwyn saw his class as a community of artists and scientists busy exploring and creating about their environment and personal concerns.
Innovative secondary schools
It seems to us that the centre of educational innovation is now to be seen in a group of
|Claire Amos Albany High School
A strong voice for change
innovative secondary schools. These schools, in their modern flexible buildings, have moved away from traditional compartmentalised disciplines of the past and are developing integrated curriculums making full use of modern technology. Once the centre of innovation was once to be seen in many primary classrooms particularly in the junior classes.
Ironically these innovative secondary schools are currently facing up to the prospect of having literacy and numeracy requirements placed on them. Evidently too many students enter, or leave, secondary education without these in place. So much for decades of standardised teaching in these areas in primary schools.
Schools as ‘mini Te Papa’
We imagine schools as being ‘mini Te Papa’. Students (and their parents) who enter such schools would be faced with a range of displays of students’ researched studies from across the
Students would be seen at work in teams completing a range of projects, many making use of a range of information technology to research and express their findings. Although students’ concerns and interests would be central teachers follow Jerome Bruner’s advice that ‘teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation’ and are expert at providing ‘tempting’ experiences that capture student curiosity; and teachers who appreciate the inquiry cycle and the concept of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.
It’s the culture that teaches – ‘culture counts’.
We believe that it is the total environment that students are exposed to that ‘teaches’ students what is important and that this environment (or culture) includes not only ‘tempting’ activities but also respectful relationships between all involved.
The teachers in our ‘imagined’ school would need to have a wide range of personal interests to share, covering as many areas of the curriculum as possible – including expertise in reading and maths, information technology, behaviour, history, design et etc. Some of the best things are learnt through the company we keep.
Students lived experience and concerns central
We envisage an education that places at centre the experiences and interests of the learners, their questions and theories, and gives serious attention to the work the students create.
Something to think about? We think so.
Allan Alach and Bruce Hammonds
This week’s Readings
From Sir Ken Robinson: time to pesonalise education!
Standardisation broke education. Here’s how we can fix our schools
“The movement towards personalisation is already advancing in medicine. We must move quickly in that direction in education, too”. Standardisation broke education. Here’s how we can fix our schools. “The movement towards personalisation is already advancing in medicine. We must move quickly in that direction in education, too”
Boosting Student Engagement Through Project-Based Learning
‘Research shows that by organizing learning around meaningful goals, PBL can be an effective way to cultivate a “need to know” attitude in students—students are motivated to deepen their understanding in order to solve a problem that is meaningful to them. Concepts are better understood when students see a need for their use because that need encourages them to apply what they’re learning to relevant situations, leading to a better sense of understanding.’
8 Things Every School Must Do To Prepare For The 4th Industrial Revolution
‘Educators, schools, government officials, and parents must re-think education and how to prepare the next generation to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities and overcome the challenges enabled by ever-increasing technological change. Here are some of the changes happening because of the 4th Industrial Revolution and eight things every school must do to prepare for the 4th Industrial Revolution’
The quiet secret of an open learning environment
‘De Werkplaats in Bilthoven is one of the Netherlands’ first primary schools without any classrooms, where pupils and teachers work in an open learning environment. The environment should adapt to the child rather than the other way around.’
In which Pooh looks for a 21st Century Education. From Kelvin Smythe’s Attack series that he completed just before he died.
‘One day, when Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet were all talking together, Christopher Robin finished the mouthful he was eating and said carelessly: ‘I saw a 21st Century Education to-day, Piglet.’
‘What was it doing?’ asked Piglet.
‘Just lumping along,’ said Christopher Robin. ‘I don’t think it saw me.’
‘I saw one once,’ said Piglet. ‘At least I think I did,’ he said. ‘Only perhaps it wasn’t.’
‘So did I,’ said Pooh wondering what a 21st Century Education was like.
‘You don’t often see them,’ said Christopher Robin matter-of-factly.
‘Not now,’ said Piglet.
‘Not at this time of year,’ said Pooh.’
Children Educate Themselves: I Outline of Some of the Evidence
‘We do not have to worry about curricula, lesson plans, motivating children to learn, testing them, and all the rest that comes under the rubric of pedagogy. Lets turn that energy, instead, toward creating decent environments in which children can play. Children’s education is children’s responsibility, not ours. Only they can do it. They are built to do it. Our task regarding education is just to stand back and let it happen. The more we try to control it, the more we interfere.’
Why Questions Are More Important Than Answers
“Questioning is the art of learning. Learning to ask important questions is the best evidence of understanding there is, far surpassing the temporary endorphins of a correct ‘answer.’”
Some oldies but goodies
The real agenda – New Minds for a New Millennium
‘Our Vision is for schools to create learning environments to develop the interests, gifts and talents of all students.’
Tired of the impossible assessment workload ? Time to put Sir Ken’s transformational ideas into action.
‘Most teachers have heard or read the thoughts of Sir Ken Robinson’s about transforming education ‘from the ground up’ as outlined in his book Creative Schools. He writes, ‘creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy’. We think it is now time now to put his ideas into action.’
The question for all learners ; ‘Who Am I? ‘
“‘Who am I?’ is the most important question for students? And are schools helping provide an
answer? ‘What makes me who I am?’ The questions above should underpin all the activities in our education system. That so many young people leave education with these questions unanswered ought to be of great concern and worse still leaves students open to becoming to become involved in anti-social behaviour.”