Sunday, April 03, 2011

Creative teaching under threat from Ministry Audit Culture: Urgent Action Required - share with creative teachers!

It is dark days for creativity - the progressive reputation earned through the actions of creative primary teachers is now at risk.

Over the past years a demeaning audit culture has been imposed on schools and it is about to get worse. Under such a surveillance culture creativity cannot survive.

Please read what Kelvin Smythe and Lester Flockton have to say. And while you're there join to get his regular postings.

Schools themselves are often part of the problem by establishing their own audit cultures to develop consistent class programmes which, ironically, create anti creative learning environments.

As principals for their own survival , or worse, to look good to outside agencies, develop what some call 'a corrosion of character' - trying to double guess what others expect of them. National Standards are just part of this problem and it is worrying to see schools who believe they can live within them.

It is time schools stood up to the Ministry's educational Nazis - the anti Christs of creativity. We need to fight back against the educational Jesuits that profess to know what is best for young people who believe it is all about setting narrow targets in literacy and numeracy and being able to show positive variance.

This pseudo scientific approach based on linear thinking, efficiency,and predictability is nothing to do with real science which is all abut being comfortable with uncertainty. It more to do with the past, 'rear vision thinking', than an evolutionary future.

Schools need to take sides.Either to implement the sidelined 2007 New Zealand Curriculum or to comply and conform to approaches that are more about politics than education. Principals ought to lead, follow or get out of the way!

Personally I am no longer interested in working with schools that have 'sold out' -even if they have convinced themselves they haven't. A quick look at how they use their time and energy will soon indicate where their priorities are. Literacy and numeracy have , in such schools, become the 'default' curriculum.

Schools are in the same position as the United Kingdom was in 1939 when most people selectively ignored the growing threat of Nazi Germany. Only real leaders able to see the big picture. The times threw up Winston Churchill. We now need out own Winston Churchills in education - better still we need principals able to see behind their clear folders and their own schools' reputations to work together to fight the dark clouds of anti creativity on the horizon - or actually like a virus already in our schools disguised as 'best practices'.

Churchill said in 1939

'Owing to past neglect we are entering upon period of danger .
The age of procrastination,
Of half measures is coming to a close.
In its place we are entering a period of consequences.
We cannot avoid the period we are in.'

We need to confront the controlling and conforming standardisation coming from the Ministry and their contractual advisers.

We owe it to our students to develop all their gifts and talents - to develop all their potential - to ensure they all are the 'confident lifelong learner' the 2007 Curriculum asks of teacher.

We need to see schools , teachers as well as students as their own 'seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge'.

'A time comes when silence is betrayal' Martin Luther King

'Politicians are always wrong' - Michael Fullan.

Read what Kelvin Smythe has to say and share with others.


Anonymous said...

Keep leading the charge for creativity
Some of us NZ creative teachers still exist in the system

Alison said...

Exist, yes. But we are constrained and restrained. Difficult times!

Bruce said...

Creative teachers ( all teachers) need to share the warning implicit in this blog - and Kelvin Smythe's posting, with as many teachers they can. Other wise creative teachers might as well give up.

Allan Alach said...

How about this quote? Seems very appropriate for these worrying times.

"A time comes when silence is betrayal"
Martin Luther King

Kelvin's latest posting is very good, as this post, Bruce. As I've said to Kelvin, please keep up the battle for our education system - dark clouds are looming.

Bruce said...

Thanks Alan - added your quote.

Bruce said...

It was great today to hear on the news that the NZ Principals Association, at their AGM, are advising schools to stand up against the Standards - the trouble is too many principals haven't the principles to do so. They are so like the appeasing politicians of the UK in 1939.