Monday, September 27, 2004

Sign of new growth?

It is a great spring day in Taranaki ( New Zealand). Nothing beats sitting on the deck listening to the tuis ( birds) and watching them feed off the kowhai flowers. I live in a valley, in the bush ,with a view of a stream and small lake. All very relaxing.

I hope if you are a teacher ( or even if you aren't) you are enjoying the break from school. It is a great time to sit back and reflect before the final term.

It is at times like this I wonder what inspires me to keep pushing for the 'voices' of creative teachers to be heard? Why is it so important for to share their ideas?

Simple enough as all the imposed 'expert' solutions only leave us 'burnt-out', confused and always playing 'catch up'! Trying to implement ideas that have little in common with classroom reality inevitably results in mediocrity. And then the teachers get blamed again! And more imposed ideas follow to solve the last mess! This just breeds a low trust compliance environment. Not much fun for creative individuals.

Creative ideas, in any area, always come from the 'edge' so ideas of creative teachers are important, but only if they are listened to! The challenge then, is for school leaders ( and in turn teachers), to create the conditions for creativity to flourish. Just as important is to encourage schools to collaborate and share expertise between each other. Ideas will then spread as if an 'epidemic'!

This would be a dramatic shift from the competitive, 'top down', accountability and efficiency ideology imposed in the early nineties. As well creativity wasn't helped by a 'blame and shame' School Review Office audit model.

It is great though, now , to hear that the New Zealand Ministry of Education is ( following world wide trends ) reviewing the clumsy imposed curriculums all schools have suffered the past decade or so. It is currently away being 'stock taked'. Don't expect any thought that they might admit to having made a giant mistake!

All the talk is now of: 'key competencies', the importance of the teacher, of high expectations, of a need to focus on pedagogy, of good relationships, for schools to work together, and the need to listen to the 'voices' of the students and their families.

Didn't we know all about the importance of all this? Doesn't it sound a bit like 'back to the future'?

Whatever it is now a good time for teachers and school leaders to take the initiative and to create new creative schools that focus on developing the passions, talents and dreams of all students. And it is an ideal time to develop collegial relationships with other schools and parents.

I hope while you are enjoying the spring growth you can sense the possibly of a new creative era for education? How do feel about this or is it just the sun getting to me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep it up Bruce - we need voices like yours!