A Crumbling Capitalist Schooling System?

On June 13th I was lucky to attend John Morgan’s inaugural public lecture at the University of Auckland. It was entitled “Schooling the Crisis: Education in the aftermath of the financial crisis.”

John Morgan preparing for his lecture

John Morgan preparing for his lecture

What follows is a synopsis of John’s lecture with my reflections integrated into it.

For the last 3 decades schooling has been thought of as preparation for the real world. So far, the post financial crisis of the last 5 years has not made people question what needs to change in schooling. Yet we need to acknowledge that we are preparing students for uncertain futures.
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Academic Journal Access

This post is a copy of an email I sent this week to the Ministry of Education:

Kia ora tatou,

I am in my 11th year teaching in New Zealand secondary schools. For much of this time I have either been involved in various research projects or undertaking further study or research myself towards a Masters in Education degree. This has meant that a majority of my professional development has been informed by the most recent educational research. I have now, however, been out of university for 18 months and am finding it incredibly difficult to access academic research.

Research has shown that teachers who reflect critically on their practice improve learning a lot more than many other initiatives. It is very difficult if teachers don’t have access to academic journal databases to be able to critically reflect on the quality of our teaching as we are not being exposed to the latest research and ideas.

The Education and Science Select Committee Report “Inquiry into 21st Century Learning Environments and Digital Literacy” also highlights the importance of teachers engaging with current research thinking. The importance of evidence-based decision making and upskilling people for 21st century learning in this report supports my argument that teachers require access to academic journals.

The Education Counts website provides a great synthesis of research ideas and the staff are obviously well connected with the research as I have personally received some of the articles in support of the publications when I have enquired further. These ideas, however, need to be accessed on a more regular basis.

Is it possible to gain access to the academic journal databases that the Ministry of Education subscribes to? I feel this would allow me to continue to pursue improvement in my teaching which will result in better outcomes for my students.

I look forward to your response,

Regards,

Steve Mouldey

What do you think? Am I expecting too much? Am I placing too much emphasis on access to research as a form of professional development? Should I be paying for my own access (note here: One journal wanted to charge me $39.95 just for one article this week!)? What chances of anyone from the MoE engaging in conversation with me on this?

UPDATE 25/6: I have heard back from the Ministry and now have access to their library services. This is available to support teachers and principals in our practice, I encourage you all to read this post about what I can now access or just head to the Ministry of Education Library to find out more.

Key Competencies and Effective Pedagogy

A new section has been added to TKI focusing on Key Competencies and Effective Pedagogy. It focuses on a tool developed by NZCER and University of Waikato who worked with teachers to see what the key competencies looked like in different learning areas. This has led to the 3 sections on the website: a self-audit tool, 14 learning stories and Insights into aspects of the key competencies.

The self audit framework could be used by a teacher, syndicate, department or whole school to inquire into how well the key competencies are embedded into learning rather than an afterthought. The framework is developed around the concepts of initiative, connections and challenge. Initiative is really about student agency – student voice, learning to learn etc. Connection is about meaningful links between activities, experiences and/or learning areas. And Challenge is about using, transforming, critiquing, and generating knowledge for purposes that students recognise as worthy of their effort.

I personally have found the framework to be an effective self-reflection tool (as I was lucky enough to see earlier drafts of the framework) and I would encourage you to utilise this if possible, particularly when planning out or reviewing a unit of learning. Continue reading

Passion, Persistance and Purpose

ICOT was easily the best conference that I have been part of. It provided a mass of ideas and thoughts in a good balance of keynote and breakout sessions. I met lots of great people that I had known only over twitter previously and also had great discussions with completely new people. Everyone of these discussions was a valuable addition to my week at the conference and many of these people have now become part of my wider personal learning network through twitter. There are a string of great comments and blogs coming out (see other blogs on these links by Karen, Matt  and Stephanie) but here is my final wrap up of the conference. Continue reading