Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Time to throw a spanner in the works!

  Posted by Picasa It is not hard to see secondary schools as artifacts of the 19th C .They so much resemble the Industrial Revolution on which they were based. They may be kinder gentler places today – for some students that is debatable, but they retain the features of a true industrial aged hierarchial organization or, worse still, a factory!

Bells ring, students are passed from teacher to teachers to have information fed to them and they are tested and marked accordingly at the end of the assembly. There has been at least some cosmetic improvement – rather than 50% failing (a common practice within living memory) all students are now placed on some sort of achievement continuum - 20% leaving with litle to show for their time.

It is all about standardization, control and obedience, the very attributes young learners most need not to learn if they are to succeed in an age of creativity, ideas and imagination.

It is about time to throw a spanner in the works of such archaic organizations and to develop schools as democratic learning communities based on shared values that focus on developing the talents and creativity of all learners.

Customization or personalization of learning needs to replace the current ‘one size fits all’ approach.

A country can no longer afford to waste such valuable intellectual resources. We now know enough about teaching and learning that no student need fail but only if we change our minds and our schools first.

Pass around the spanners.


Rachel Whalley said...

so is this an opportunity to go in & push for change - i have considered this just lately as i now have a couple of toes in the secondary system again. I don't know if i would want to plunge back in there though - definately a huge challenge but would you just end up banging your head against a brick wall. So many barriers, the main one being 'the system' itself. Primary teachers can be pretty good at slagging off secondary teachers & i can say i have put my hand up to that. But they also are just cogs in the machine...

Bruce Hammonds said...

I have to agree Rachel that primary teachers do slagg off secondary teachers as well as vice versa.

The secondary system is a 'brick wall' but so too are many teachers.

As you say primary teachers are also cogs in the machine but it is a lot simpler machine so their task is easier.

The status quo rules in both areas - we need to work together; we work with the same students.

Anonymous said...

Secondary schools are museums of archaic practices - and most teachers are too distracted, or blinded by habit, to notice. As one writer says they are OK if it were 1965!

Bruce Hammonds said...

Some secondary schools remind me of a line from Bob Dylan singing about prisons, 'Sometimes it is hard to work out who are the prisoners and who are the guards.'

They are about control and conformity rather than relationships and creativity.