Schools are currently working their way through Education Review Office Frameworks and Evaluation Indicators for their School Charters.
Seems like a good idea but, to my mind, a rather long winded complicated time consuming ask for schools to comply with. If it does improve student success it will be worth it. If not just another task devised by technocrats who have forgotten what it is like to face up to the reality of school leadership and classroom teaching.
|Another task to to please the Ministry/ERO|
There are obviously excellent suggestions included in the list of indicators. It is all part of the Ministry ideology of making education more efficient through increased standardization, accountability and , with school comparison, competition.
It would be more valuable for principals and teachers to read Sir Ken Robinson's latest book Creative Schools - Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up'.
|A must read book.|
Note the phrases 'creative schools' ( impossible to achieve if tied up with compliance constraints) and 'from the ground up'.
If principals haven't read this book they have missed out on a book which values their ideas as the basis for school improvement rather complying to top down requirements.
Sir Ken believes that schools will only be transformed when they develop creative approaches to teaching and learning and writes that the standards approach, that underpins current New Zealand education, has failed world wide.
A paper published by the NZCER 'Supporting future orientated teaching and learning- a New Zealand perspective' provides a simple set of guidelines to inform teaching beyond 'ticking the boxes'.
This paper states that ' current educational systems are not sufficient to address and support learning in the 21st C.
Below are the questions the paper asks of schools:
1 Is your school personalizing learning basing 'learning around the learner rather than the learner being required to fit the system'? The authors write 'we are not yet seeing the the kinds of "deep personalisation" argued for by future orientated educationalists' among them Sir Ken Robinson.
2 Is your school educating for diversity - 'a diversity that encompasses everyone variations'? A system that 'addresses the needs strengths, interests and aspirations' of all students'. Does you school focus on developing gifts and talents of all students?
3 Is your school ' re-conceptualizing the the roles and responsibilities of teachers and students'? Are your students engaged using knowledge in inventive ways, in new contexts and combinations'; 'equipping people to do things with knowledge' and for students to 'solve problems and find solutions to solve problems and find solutions to challenges as they arise on a " just in time" basis'. The paper states bluntly that this development is not apparent in current schools.
4 Is your school involved in ongoing professional development to achieve such personalisation, diversity 'to change the scripts' for both teachers and students?
5 Has your school developed 'real' partnership with your community. Is your school making use of expertise of the school community to solve problems?
The paper asks is your school driven 'by a coherent set of shared ideas about the future of schooling and its purpose and role in building New Zealand's future?
Does your school have a set of learning beliefs that underpin all your teaching and one that teachers( and students and parents) can articulate?
The paper also mentions that (1) current and emerging technologies 'have not yet revolutionized learning' and that this will only develop when teachers see the potential to transform learning and teaching and (2) clustering of schools will only be successful when they provide 'opportunities for professional learning and expanding ideas about what is possible'. This is beyond sharing current 'best practice'.
The authors write that 'our education systems and practices are often set up in ways that do not support these principles to operate in practice' and continue, 'we need to reconfigure it in new , more knowledge-centred ways', and that we need a 'paradigm shift in practice.'
For me this means in the primary school there is a need to make inquiry ( knowledge gaining and using) central and challenging the reactionary use of ability grouping in literary and numeracy and the compartmentalized subject teaching of secondary schools. And for all school to focus on developing the gifts and talents of all students.
And this brings us back to the value of energy being diverted by recent Ministry Evaluation complicated demands and the need to read the full NZCER paper and to follow the 'ground -up' revolution written about so powerfully by Sir Ken Robinson.