Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Vision for Secondary Schools 2027

This book, by David Hood, has been happily ignored by most secondary teachers since its publication - perhaps things are about to change? It aways seems though, that for secondary schools, the future is always 20 years away!

The secondary futures site is well worth a look.

Established by the government the secondary futures group's task was to explore, through dialogue with interested parties, the shape of things to come for secondary education.

A few thoughts, from its most recent publication, provides inspirational directions for secondary schools that take the challenge of the future seriously.

The group is led by four 'guardians': Mason Durie, Deputy Vice Chancellor of( Maori) of Massey University; Gillian Heald, Co-Director of Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti ( a new style secondary 'school') and previously principal of Rangiruru Girls School; Bernice Mene, sports educator and previously a secondary teacher; and Ian Taylor Maori businessman, with an interest in the application of information technology and multi media.

A paradigm shift in how we see secondary education is being suggested.

Secondary schools, their principals,teachers and their parent body, their report says, 'have not aways been campaigners for change. Sometimes institutions and their traditions have been valued and preserved even when they are no longer meeting the needs of the students they were designed to serve.'

'In the future the sector will need leaders who can articulate and refresh the vision of an evolving and adaptive education system' that creates, 'a system that continues to best serve the needs of their students.'

The report asks us to, 'Imagine a profession where teachers passion for making a difference to students learning has been put back at the centre of their role.'

Imagine a professional workforce characterised by deep knowledge about the ways that learning can happen... in touch with the boundaries of new knowledge.. with skills to work with other experts...held in high regard as creators and leaders....'

'Imagine a learning environment where teachers have the freedom to tailor their teaching approach around students and to design learning contexts tha thrill, excite and energise both learner and themselves.'

Imagine teachers seeing themselves as: 'catalysts for knowledge discovery', 'heralds of change', 'a champion for Aotearoa', or a 'scaffolder of self worth'.

These are are the roles that the report sees for all teachers in 2027.

'Catalysts for knowledge discovery' is about teachers developing respectful relationships with students so as to inspire a passion and enthusiasm for learning. Such teachers would, 'construct customised learning pathways' based around realistic learning contexts no longer, 'constrained by a uniform approach'. As catalysts teachers would give students, 'opportunities for self directed learning and active inquiry.' No doubt this concept aligns with the current 'buzz words' - 'personalised learning'.

Teachers in 2027, would be, 'herald of change' signposting the way to the frontiers of new knowledge and equipping their students with the skills to succeed in 'a continually changing environment.' They would assist students to, 'embrace change and gain the skills to anticipate and respond to make good choices and judgements in all areas of their lives'. Such teachers would need to, 'work collaboratively', with each other and outside sources, and between educational providers, to design inspiring learning contexts and to make full use of available information technology. Once again this would lead to teachers developing, 'customised learning pathways' for each student by working with their students and their parents.

As 'champions of Aotearoa' teachers, in 2027, will help their students appreciate the distinctive traditions that have shaped the New Zealand ethos and help their students understand the heritage, the natural environment and the diverse communities of New Zealand. Teachers will understand their students backgrounds and cultures, and their 'prior' knowledge, and integrate this knowledge so students feel valued.

In 2027 teachers will be seen as 'scaffolders of self worth'. School, 'will be a place where relationships are fashioned, values transmitted and respect for self and other learned.' This will require teachers to develop in their students, 'emotional intelligence and the ability to take personal responsibility, to take risks and think entrepreneurially.'Inspiring teachers will construct learning opportunities that allow students to express their own values, explore the values of others with empathy'. 'Students sense of self worth and identity acts as a foundation for being able to learn, to participate in society and to cope with change,'

All I can say is why wait.

It is urgent for the success of New Zealand to develop such innovative, creative and empathetic people now. Twenty years will be too late.

Lets hope this is not another exercise in creative thinking.

Our students deserve better than this.Too many student are currently sacrificed by a system not conducive to their learning needs.

We now know enough that no learner need fail but only if we, as teachers, change our minds first!

No creative business, with a desire to survive, would talk about 2027, particularly if they had a failure rate of 20%!


Tom Sheehan said...

This is a link to another future looking document.

It would be fantastic to see some change in our secondary schools. We need to create a love of learning and confidence to achieve to the very best.

Bruce said...

Changing high schools is like teaching elephants to move when they are content - hard to shift! They have long ago settled into routines that have become all they know.They will either change or be bi-passed. They may be beginning to smell the smoke of change!

Thanks for the site reference Tom

Anonymous said...

'Imagine' - that is about as far as it will go!