• Announcements

    • Evan Burton

      OPEN REGISTRATION BY EMAIL ONLY !!! PLEASE CLICK ON THIS TITLE FOR INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION!:   06/03/2017

      We have 5 requirements for registration: 1.Sign up with your real name. (This will be your Username) 2.A valid email address 3.Your agreement to the Terms of Use, seen here: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=21403. 4. Your photo for use as an avatar  5.. A brief biography. We will post these for you, and send you your password. We cannot approve membership until we receive these. If you are interested, please send an email to: edforumbusiness@outlook.com We look forward to having you as a part of the Forum! Sincerely, The Education Forum Team
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
John Simkin

The Future of Schooling

18 posts in this topic

Although it has taken him sometime to reach this position, I agree with David Hargreaves views on the future of education:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/s...avid-hargreaves

I especially agree with the following:

Take any aspect of secondary schooling as we understand it – lessons, classrooms, subjects, tests, year groups, the role of heads, the authority of teachers – and he challenges it. Hargreaves – who, at 70, recently finished his work on the curriculum for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) – has been involved in something far more wide-ranging, and more dangerous, than the government could have envisaged.

He calls it "system redesign" and says "it's more exciting than anything I've done in my career before". In his vision of 21st-century schooling, pupils help make the curriculum, tell the school how to use information technology, set standards and learning objectives, assess their own and one another's work, spend half or whole days on collaborative projects, sometimes work at home. Teachers are mentors or coaches who comment on students' work rather than grading it. Subjects become "essential learnings", such as communication, thinking or social responsibility; or "competencies", such as managing information or relating to people. Schools become part of networks, working with other schools or colleges, sometimes outsourcing even the work of whole departments.

"Personalised learning" comes into it, but Hargreaves, with a touch of academic pedantry, prefers "personalising" because "personalised" suggests a finished product. And, besides, the government polluted the term by "using it as a clothesline on which to hang existing policies"....

Hargreaves regards "student leadership" as central to his ideas. So are the collaborative projects, which, he says, must be "co-constructed" with students and involve "authentic" problems. "That's how you get people to learn, not by presenting them with a set of things they have to learn by heart. When I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, the statistics course was so boring. But when I needed to interpret the results of my own research project, statistics became relevant and useful."...

Schools, he wrote in The Challenge, should broaden the curriculum and allow pupils "to experience success" in areas other than "the dominant cognitive-intellectual mode". Traditional subjects should be subsumed into an integrated core, occupying half the day, and exams at 16 abolished.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about this http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/200...parents-control, also from the Guardian?

Ian Norrie, the bookshop owner, died recently. A sign in the children's department of his bookshop read "Parents of Progressive Children Only Admitted on Leads".

I was a progressive parent and I never had trouble with my daughter's behaviour. She in turn is a progressive parent of her two boys. They are very well-behaved, as are most of their friends. I believe that most parents are very effective at what they do. The problem is that a significant percentage (probably as much as 20%) have no idea how to bring up their children. I feel so sorry for the majority of kids who have to endure the bad behaviour of their peers in the classroom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about this http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/200...parents-control, also from the Guardian?

I was a progressive parent and I never had trouble with my daughter's behaviour. She in turn is a progressive parent of her two boys. They are very well-behaved, as are most of their friends. I believe that most parents are very effective at what they do. The problem is that a significant percentage (probably as much as 20%) have no idea how to bring up their children. I feel so sorry for the majority of kids who have to endure the bad behaviour of their peers in the classroom.

The vast majority of working class parents haven't the time, resources or cultural capital that you or your daughter have John. Parenting is indeed 'learnt behaviour'. However rather than seeing poor parenting as an issue for problem individuals I think it is important to address the social causes.

Similarly the badly behaved school child is in far greater need of an education than the well adjusted and advantaged child.

One thing is for certain and that is that a market driven competitive approach to education will only ever serve the needs of middle class parents and children and for this reason I am initially very sceptical of Hargreaves' SSAT sponsored research but will of course dig deeper and offer a more detailed response later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about this http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/200...parents-control, also from the Guardian?

I was a progressive parent and I never had trouble with my daughter's behaviour. She in turn is a progressive parent of her two boys. They are very well-behaved, as are most of their friends. I believe that most parents are very effective at what they do. The problem is that a significant percentage (probably as much as 20%) have no idea how to bring up their children. I feel so sorry for the majority of kids who have to endure the bad behaviour of their peers in the classroom.

The vast majority of working class parents haven't the time, resources or cultural capital that you or your daughter have John. Parenting is indeed 'learnt behaviour'. However rather than seeing poor parenting as an issue for problem individuals I think it is important to address the social causes.

I am not convinced by the "haven't the time" argument. There are a great number of working-class parents, including my parents, who do a great job at bringing up their children. From my experience, it had nothing to do with "time, resources or cultural capital". After all, middle-class children are often badly behaved. I think it has more to do with values. It was very important to my parents that we were well-behaved. That is the main reason why I behaved in the way that I did. However, my father also taught me to question those in authority. That is why I have never considered this to be "bad behaviour", even though most of my head teachers thought it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps social divides are not classified in the same way here in Oz as in the UK but there is a very big difference between the real "working class" and the underclasses and sometimes people bundle them together. I am also very sceptical of Hargreave's beliefs working except in "middle class" schools - whatever they actually are.

Here in Tasmania a grand experiment was conducted in the late 90s to about 2006. It was called - wait for it - The Essential Learnings. The entire curriculum from K to Yr10 was upended and replaced by "5 Organisers" with titles such as - wait for it again - Communication, Thinking, World Futures, Wellbeing, Personal Futures. These strands were divided into 18 "Key Elements" which had 5 "Standards" each and 21 reporting outcomes.

It was brought to an end in 2006 (and a return made to a subject based but flexible national curriculum) because

a) teachers were totally unable to cope with the workload it generated

B) In many schools basic sections of the curriculum such as Science, History, Home Economics, Vocational Technology etc were subsumed into the "Organisers" often becoming unrecognisable and in quite a few schools completely non-existent because their absence could be covered up by all sorts of jargon. It was discovered that some schools had dropped Science and History/Geography entirely.

c) The above was particularly tempting in schools where students were loath to do those subjects, difficult to cope with in labs, or experienced teachers were unavailable or workshops/kitchens were becoming expensive or where "progressive" teachers thought that Climate Change and the Environment were complete substitutes for these subjects.

d) so much time had to be given to the new approaches such as Critical Thinking and Cross Curricular Learning that basic literacy/numeracy were being neglected and parents started noticing that.

e) children of lower ability and/or social disadvantage were disadvantaged by the emphasis on high level skills and methods

f) balancing content with skills was extremely difficult to manage and to get equitable across schools

I could go on but our teaching staff were surveyed after 4 years of implementation and the majority were against continuing it. An interesting research paper is here: I think I get a mention in it.

http://www.eric.ed.gov:80/ERICDocs/data/er...80/2b/c2/ac.pdf

Michael did not include some of the problems that I've listed above but as the union president at that time, these were what our teachers were telling us. BTY We only have one national govt school union here and 90% of all our teachers are members.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this contribution Jean. Too few policy makers neglect to anticipate the impact on teachers working conditions, workloads and general levels of stress of their grand schemes.

'Essential Learnings' sounds horribly similar to something we have here called 'Opening Minds' - suspension of formal curriculum, curriculum led by extraordinarily vague things called ' drivers' - loads of teachers teaching way outside their subject specialisms, children getting short changed in terms of the quality of what they are receiving.

Interestingly failed initiatives never seem to subjected to proper evaluation. ...... I wonder why that is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andy

If it's any consolation, the Minister for Education who relentlessly drove this reform lost her portfolio over it and her hopes of becoming Premier. There was eventually so much criticism of it in the media and by parents that she copped the blame which was fair enough but as you might expect, the bureaucrats who fed it to her remained in their highly paid posts.

Now we have just had our tertiary system revolutionised and it is receiving almost as much criticism, as it was badly planned and implemented and appears to be doing nothing to achieve its aim of increased retention but is driving teachers mad. It's based on what I understand occurs in Ireland (our Sec for Ed is Irish!!) and Singapore with Polytechnics and Academies for Yrs 11 and 12 in separate institutions. These are the students who went through the failed ELs and are now being experimented on once again. Many have lost out in basic skills and consequently find senior secondary work difficult. Previously we had senior colleges for Yr 11/12 with a comprehensive intake where counsellors and teachers nurtured all manner of students through a wide range of courses from pre tertiary to pure vocational and everything in between. I (and the majority of our current teachers) believe they did a pretty good job at this and that we shouldn't be going back to streaming kids off to Academies and Polytechnics at 15/16. But do they ever take notice of practising teachers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But do they ever take notice of practising teachers?

Unfortunately not!

Many of the ills of the UK education system could be cured with a proper commitment to comprehensive education, the abandonment of market focussed reforms, the abolition of selection and the rejection of the crack pot notion that getting schools to 'compete' with each other drives up standards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apart from selection which we don't have, you could be talking about Australia.

Oh, and I forgot to mention - guess what our federal govt has just this year introduced nationwide???? LEAGUE TABLES. If it wasn't serious it would be funny!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, and I forgot to mention - guess what our federal govt has just this year introduced nationwide???? LEAGUE TABLES. If it wasn't serious it would be funny!

These will distort every aspect of educational practice - have your authorities not noticed what disarray UK schools are in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Deputy PM, a woman who I originally thought had more sense, has been convinced by "experts" in the UK and the US that this is the way to go. She says they will be different and won't rank top to bottom.

Article here:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/gillard-...80816-3wrg.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And another one here. Do you think there is much difference from the UK?

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story...5013871,00.html

Do you know Jean I sometimes despair when faced with the stupidity of government when it comes to education policy? With League Tables inevitably will come the distortion of practice where those schools and authorities in the more challenging situations desperately try any means possible to raise their league table position.

Here's an interesting example;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/20...medicalresearch

Maybe you'll be shovelling fish oil into unsuspecting children soon? Its either that or elect a government which is willing and able to tackle the complex social issues which we have known for generations really cause underachievement in schools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Further to my comment about our senior college reforms here, a vote has been taken and the colleges will start rolling strikes next week. Also one of the Yr11/12 colleges has written a public letter from every one of their 70odd staff, appealing for their college not to be reconfigured in to this new system. Our beloved Premier has stated he will not change his mind on the reforms. In 10 years time people will be discussing why it was allowed to happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0