Monday, January 11, 2010

From a true friend of creative schools

 Illustration  copy-write www.SquareWheels.com/
Time for schools and teachers to put faith in their own ideas! This blog was sent to me as an e-mail but I thought it worth sharing. Written by a highly respected ex principal who still works with schools.


Hi Bruce


Yes I have read your last two blogs and I like the way you are continuing to show opposition to the ridiculous implementation of National Standards. I also like the way you are putting it on teachers and principals to hold firm to their beliefs and provide creative programmes.

My concerns around this are many and one of the first is that I don't believe a large number of teachers today have a philosophical belief about teaching as it has been assessed and appraised out of them. That's if they had a belief about creative teaching in the first place. There are so many teachers I see who are quite happy to have programmes that are determined by a timetable that is Literacy and Numeracy until lunch time and a little bit of topic after lunch. This is generally not linked to the morning programme. This is then called integration.


For what it's worth I believe the overriding problems in education came about through the introduction of Tomorrows Schools. This change created a climate where anyone who felt they would like to be on a board of trustees did so and then were led to believe they could direct what happened in schools. Just like taking the car to the garage and then telling the mechanic what to do. Or having an operation and telling the surgeon how to do the job. I truly believe STA and the present nonsense with boards has led to the achievement tail!!!! Where were we as a country prior to 1989? Right up at the top in International studies and since then we have failed. I continually hear of the benefits that have come about since the introduction of Tomorrows Schools and are then shown the new gymnasium, auditorium or assembly hall. Rarely does a principal say the ability to manage our own funding has allowed us to implement creative and innovative programmes. It's all bricks and mortar.

A couple of other things that bug me currently are- firstly the latest editorial in the STA magazine where their President is saying how good for schools National Standards will be. This is a nonsense as it flies in the face of research and the views of our highly regarded and leading academics. So how dare STA make such claims when they know little about the reality. Another reason why I believe Tomorrow Schools is a crock. STA and its obvious bias against principals and teachers.

The other ludicrous thing that has happened over the last year is the ERO review process of how ready schools are to implement the NZ Curriculum. This has been an Area of National Importance and each of those schools I supported last year as a Friend of the School had put in hours of meetings etc to ensure they were ready to implement these requirements in 2010. So where will they be now with the requirement to implement National Standards? Up shitters creek because the National Standards thing is completely contradictory to the intent of the NZ Curriculum which in effect was poised to improve the lot of so many of our kids. Not now. Those poor little guys who are good at Art and Dance and PE and Music and are not ready to start Reading or Writing at 5 or even 6 are going to have a truly miserable time. Extra lessons on those things they enjoy least so that the school results look good - but that's another post.


So have I become a grumpy old educator or was I always one? Don't know the answer so will continue to visit a few schools and try to encourage principals and teachers to be brave, give the kids a chance and perhaps the results will speak for themselves.


Regards

3 comments:

Allanah King said...

So not a grumpy old man.

Teachers are being pulled in so many ways. We, like the children we teach, are eager to please. We can't be everything to everybody- the expectation we put on ourselves to try and please ERO, the parents, the principal, the students... too much.

And now another layer of 'accountability'- God help us all.

Bruce said...

The writer might think he is being a bit grumpy but really he is just so dissapointed that teacher creativity is so litte appreciated these days.I am hoping he might provide me with more ideas in the future.

Anonymous said...

At last someone telling the truth!