Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Too much reliance on 'experts' and not enough common sense
There are experts these days to teach you everything you didn’t want to know.
Education 'delivered' by contract, seminars and outcomes - true expertise is over looked in the process!
Many years ago it was shown that the In- Service Education provided (the old word for courses), although often fun, didn’t really change much in the classroom. The ones that had the most effect were presented by classroom teachers, or where you had an opportunity to visit to see a class in action.
It seems that teachers respect what real people, like themselves, do in classrooms. All too often today’s facilitators are presenting ideas designed by a distant group of ‘experts’ who have long since forgotten the white heat and creative confusion that teaching all too often is is. They even imagine teachers would sit down plan how they will teach whatever, and will have time to calmly evaluate it. This is without even considering first, that whatever little bits they are recording, are actually worth the time to do so.
There seems no appreciation that creative teachers make thousands of decisions a day and automatically receive, and give feedback; all integrated into the process of living and learning in the classroom. To collect all this material, and to record and graph it – in the name of ‘evidence based teaching’, is just too silly for words .I guess it makes sense to educational researchers who have the time – and who actually believe in it. True education cannot be so easily graphed.
It is about time teachers reclaimed their authority and made their voices heard. All the flash curriculums supplied to them to 'deliver' just haven’t worked and, worse still, have left teachers feeling their own professionalism judgment is at risk.
‘Teachers do not want a constant barrage of new ideas thrown at them from outside the school. They need instead guidance and support from colleagues who know where they are going, and what they are doing, and who share some commitment to help each other get there’, so said David Stewart in 1993.
Since the early 90s teachers have to put up with an endless cycle of compliance requirements, confusing curriculums and impossible assessment demands designed by distant technocrats.
What is required now is for schools to tap into the expertise and wisdom within, and between each school, and to learn from and share such ‘best practices’ with each other.
It is over to teachers to claim back this need to focus on teaching and learning on their own terms. All those experts would fall apart if they had to stay in a classroom and actually take their own advice.
Don’t spent time worrying about crossing the road, just do it!