Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Knowledge still valued.

I would love Auckland University's Elizabeth Rata to go into a secondary school and talk with the teachers and the students about what is being taught and what is being learned because what she will see is that knowledge is as important and valued as it ever was.
I am wondering how real the view is from inside the university. My reading of the New Zealand curriculum document(and I have read it often and am working with it) suggests that students absolutely need knowledge. If you are to investigate as a mathematician then there is knowledge that you require and there are skills that you need. The teacher has to be an expert, there is no way around that.
At the same time the students need to be able to use the knowledge and that is the exciting dimension that the curriculum represents. It is not a decision that the schools have made - it is a responsible response that schools are making to prepare students for the world they are entering.
Andreas Schleicher puts it well :  "You get paid not for what you know but for what you do with what you know."

PS  This was a letter to the Herald that was published - Because I read the Herald on my phone I didn't have access to the letters so I didn't know it had been published.  - I wonder how many other people read the Herald online and how effective letters are in changing the world.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

To do a doctorate or not to do a doctorate ????

I started to think about doing a doctorate and so started reading research on professional learning in schools. Gosh! I have to say I get pretty frustrated ! These experts ? saying over and over how you need to set up professional learning groups for teachers so that they can share good practice etc etc. They all say the same thing !

- It just seems so shallow. The questions I want to ask are

1) So who sets the group up ?
2) Are the groups set up artificially OR do they serve a function in the school ?
3) Who decides what is worth spending time on ?
4) Who does the teaching or is it enough to be learners together ?
5) What kind of rigour is put in place to ensure that the learning groups make a difference to the students ?
6) Where does achievement data fit with the groups ?
7) Who checks on the quality of the learning ?
8) Who teaches teachers about giving feedback to each other in a way that will make a difference ?
9) Who teaches teachers about accepting feedback that is given ?
10 ) What is the role of the senior leadership team ?
11) What is the role of the students in all of this ?

Maybe I have just not read the right books yet.

The thing is that all these questions are being answered every day in our schools. I am not sure that I can face any more of the literature.

Any Suggestions ?