Challenging the Ministry imposed 'new normal' - there is an alternative!
I caught up with a respected old colleague ( who is still working) and asked him for his thoughts. He replied:
'I haven’t lost touch with main currents of madness but I put less energy into them as even recent history tells us that the MOE
agenda supported by a compliant education sector is able to proceed in spite of international evidence, the shortcomings of our assessment methods AND the voices of reason from respected NZ critics – including you' And he added, ' most of the current teachers know nothing of the creative approaches to teaching that you represent.
I have recently written a blog sharing the views of respected New Zealand educators - all ignored by those in Welligton who pull the strings in education .
Kelvin Smythe is one who writes with passion about the negative effects of the current educational ideology recently made the comment ' the difficulty lies at the principal level, where so many principals have been rewarded like Pavlov’s dog for enforcing the most terrible of education ideas'. Such principals reflect the 'new normal'.
Another educator researching current educational policy wrote to me
'it is important to let teachers and educators know that there is an alternative to the dominant instrumentalist rationality for education; that education is just a means to an end of increasing economic growth. In the contemporary era especially, the articulation of an alternative is in itself a political act, as it disavows the neoliberal dictum ‘there is no alternative’'
So it would seem that we are now in what we could call 'the new normal'. Three decades of imposed neo-liberal ideology has all but pushed out teacher led creative alternatives.
Keeping a creative alternative alive is the point of my blog.
Unless a sense of alternative is articulated teachers will find themselves further captured by the neo- liberal ideology as seen in other countries that the Ministry relates to - featuring National testing, League tables and performance pay and the like. This ideology is often referred to as GERM - the Global Education Reform Movement.
|We need more mavericks|
I believe it is important to challenge the status quo ( the 'new normal' ).
I believe that real innovation comes from classroom teachers - and that sharing their ideas is the only way to effect creative change not imported ideas out of tune with our culture.
The trouble is in our current compliant educational culture
|Time to fight back|
Sir Ken Robinson, in his excellent book 'Creative Schools: Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up' states the situation clearly that creativity cannot exist in:'an education system
|The 'new normal"|
True change Sir Ken writes, 'is not coming from the top down; it is coming from the ground up':We need instead a system that 'enables students to pursue their own interests and strengths.'
Many principals have listened to Sir Ken's TED Talk videos or
|Time for courage Skinner!|
Schools , even the so called Modern Learning Environments, still reflect the teaching of a past industrial age. Follow a learner through a day and little will have changed - literacy and numeracy ( with ability grouping)still take up most of the day.
Take the time to listen to educationists giving a real view of education and how it needs to transformed ( to move beyond the 'new normal') :
Will Richardson - transforming education.
Tony Wagner ( and read his valuable book) Reinventing education.
American Teacher Joshua Katz The Toxic Culture of Education. Powerful stuff
Teacher Esther Wojcicki. A unassuming quiet revolutionary. See how she transforms her teaching. Don't give up on her. She is amazing.
Kayla Delzer. Teachers as learners students as leaders.Why do some classrooms look the same now as they did 70 years ago? .Kayla explains how to release the power in the classroom by giving students ownership of their learning and making it relevant to them.
And take another look at Sir Ken's powerful TED 'Do schools kill creativity.'
Lets begin getting rid of the 'new normal' imposed on school by an ideology that places teacher creativity at risk and start to learn about, and share, the ideas of creative teachers past and present.
That's why I write this blog..
Two books to give schools courage to change:
David Hood ( NZ ) The Rhetoric and the Reality.
Creative Schools by Sir Ken Robinson. This is one book that all schools should have.