Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Message to Labour spokesperson/policy makers on education

Dear Mr Hipkins....

A few thoughts to consider if we are to develop a 21st Education System

   If Labour is to put the welfare of people ahead of economics (the current privatization winner/loser scenario of the National Party) then the creativity of all citizens must be the number one policy to develop the common good of an inclusive and productive society.

     Labour  needs to revisit Peter Fraser/Dr Beeby’s vision of providing all students with an ‘education of the kind they are best fitted and to the fullest extent of their powers’. This vision has never
Dr Beeby
been realized. What would this mean in a 21stC environment

.      Such a vision requires a move away from current standardisation, through the conformity ofNational Standards, towards the challenge of personalisation of learning 

    Place the  currently sidelined 2007 New Zealand Curriculum centrestage appreciating that its full implementation requires more than current tinkering if all students are to succeed and be able to ‘seek, use and create their own knowledge’. ( NZC)

5     Reinterpret the so called ‘achievement gap’ as an 'opportunity gap .
– ensure these students gain experiences required to develop positive learning identities

    While valuing literacy and numeracy as vitally important foundational skills they need to be ‘reframed’ to allow students to ‘seek, use and create their own knowledge’.

     Question the destructive consequences of ability grouping, streaming and setting ( struggling students need to be seen as lacking opportunities not intellect). This needs challenging!

8  Encourage schools to do fewer things well to develop deep understanding and dispositions to learn.

   Encourage innovative learning   integrated/collaborative organisations to engage students at the years 7-10 ages where student disengagement kicks in providing an environment for a range of student talents and abilities to be developed.

1       Value the creativity of individual class teachers and explore ways to share their expertise to break down isolation that many teachers feel. Provide opportunities for schools/teachers to collaborate to share ideas.

1      Encourage all schools to develop innovative programmes to suit  the needs of their communities ( as suggested in the NZC).

   Consider setting up an educational conference/ series of conversations similar to the 1936 New Education Conference that contributed ideas to the Fraser /Beeby vision.  As in 1936 invite a range of innovative thinkers to contribute to such conversations. Make use of modern technology to share ideas.

   See education as a process that begins before birth and continues throughout life    - at the very least track students to their first jobs/tertiary training.

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