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Posts Tagged ‘Educators’

Who IS Responsible for Student Learning?

September 5, 2010 6 comments

Of course, I laughed and thought that this video (which has now received over 1 million hits worldwide) ‘had a great message’ and that all parents should listen to it and reflect on their school communication BUT…. it is really only a half truth if considered as anything other than a clever (and funny) SATIRE. As a disclaimer to my following comments; only read on if you are able to consider these comments but STILL ENJOY THE VIDEO. This is not meant as a vigilante on humour. If you haven’t seen it, here is the video…. followed by my ramblings.

Am I being a spoil sport by writing about this in a serious way and objecting to some of its content? (Especially the final comment which shoots inclusivity as an unfriendly footnote!). Well, the fact that the video is now packaged as ‘an actual recording that is used in a Queensland school’ is both dubious and (I would suspect) an attempt to give a tongue-in-cheek, satirical look at parent/school communication a far too considered hearing. I sincerely hope that no one REALLY used this for an actual answering service (as stressed in this posted version).

I was part of a staff discussion once (no school / staff disclosed) in which we discussed the role of the teacher. I asked staff to move to different corners of the room according to their response to certain statements. The room corners to which staff moved were labelled “AGREE”, “DISAGREE” and “UNDECIDED” – we covered a lot of issues over this time but the core intent was to get to the following decision statements:

Teachers are responsible for student learning” – AGREE / DISAGREE or UNDECIDED

and

Students are responsible for their own learning.” – AGREE / DISAGREE or UNDECIDED

I admit the questions could be interpreted as divisive yet I realistically thought that there would be a 50/50 split between the AGREE and DISAGREE categories on this issue. That wasn’t the case. Only 4 of over 50 agreed with statement one and only 5 disagreed with statement two. There were a handful in UNDECIDED. Each group was asked to defend their position, ‘Why” did they believe this was the case?

The discussion was robust, challenging and decisive. Being one of the five, I reflected long and hard about the beliefs of my peers. I knew that they were committed, focused individuals who gave beyond the ‘requirement of the job’ on an ongoing basis; yet I found it difficult to understand what I perceived to be a lack of personal ownership of our responsibility in teaching.

  • Was there any incentive to ‘get better’, as a teacher, if one fundamentally believed that learning was the sole responsibility of the child?
  • Did this belief make staff more resistant to ‘changes’ that created ‘inconvenience’ on the journey to a ‘greater good’?
  • Were staff of the opinion that educators who delivered Professional Learning to THEM were more or less effective in achieving learning outcomes based on an adjustment of teaching style/energy/activity choice, etc?
  • Did this belief impact a teacher’s willingness to support ‘special needs’ in the classroom?
  • Did this belief foster an attitude of ‘giving up’ on students too early?
  • Did this attitude result in a tendency to ‘quickly flick poorly behaved students to someone else’?
  • Did this belief impact the volume of teacher/parent/student communication?
  • Was it WRONG to THINK this way?

I have a simple illustration that I use most frequently with students to help them understand effort and reward. “If I promised to give you $1,000,000 if you got a “B” in English, what would you DO to ensure it happened?” Clearly, they know I will not be delivering on this but the point is clear – behaviour WOULD change. Can’t I ask the same question of our teachers? Our parents?

The truth is, that we are responsible to partner together regardless of how right or wrong any of us are. I will try to the best of my ability to persuade staff that whilst students must contribute a willingness to be present; that we do bear a responsibility to be ‘learning bridges’, to take students as far as humanly possible.

If the point of this video is to remind parents that they can’t flick all responsibility to schools, point well made – but I just don’t want to hear others cheering TOO loudly about it.

Report: WA Teacher Demand and Supply Projections

September 1, 2010 1 comment

I think this report is about a year old, but if you haven’t read it, it makes fascinating reading! The report has been prepared for DET and offers projections on WA Teacher employment for the period 2010 – 2017. 

Under supply will impact WA teaching in both Primary and Secondary with 30% of teachers and administration expected to retire in the next five years. There will be a particular peak as the ‘half cohort’ exit secondary colleges at the end of 2014.  Mathematics, Science (Chemistry/Physics in particular) and Design/Technology teachers will be in very short supply – and Principals should ensure that if staff from these learning areas are on duty during morning tea it would be prudent to secure cake and biscuits for them. In short… treasure them…. even if you may not like them :). Read the report here: http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cpr/docs/WATeacherDemandandSupplyProjections.pdf

A Matter of Merit


My daughter doesn’t know it but apparently she will be receiving a merit award tomorrow at the assembly. My lovely wife commented that teachers make sure that every student in the class gets at least one each year.

That wasn’t my experience at school! I sat through nearly 500 assemblies at school and I never received a merit award, a congratulatory sticker, a trophy or a word of public acknowledgement. I even remember buying my year three teacher a present (I think it was soap) two days before an assembly to ensure I was “on the radar”; unfortunately, it didn’t work 😦 … I hope I didn’t spend much on the soap.

I was involved in a few sports, I cleaned out the pigeon holes, attended after-school recitals, was part of the drama team, debate team, chess team, I stacked chairs, did my homework and helped the canteen ladies carry heavy boxes … BUT………NOTHING!

Those who know me will muse that I am more than compensating for this lack of foundational attention. I could launch into a diatribe about how mediocrity is celebrated and awarded but I don’t want to do that in the context of MY GIRL getting her merit award tomorrow for (clearly) exceptional excellence.

I’m only sad that the young people of today will miss out on the opportunity to be bitter and resentful about their schooling the way that I am.  🙂

Teacher’s TV


GREAT! Now our Teacher’s Lounge has a Teacher’s TV as well.

I jest.

This site goes LIVE on the 1st September, 2010. It is resourced worldwide with plenty of professional videos that have been categorised by topic/subject, etc. Well worth a good look around. The resources provisions are also excellent with plenty of “HOW TO”… and spots for newer teachers.  GO TO: www.teacher.tv and don’t forget to add it to your favourites.

Tell us what you think at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=152204244792561&v=wall  but at least wait until after the launch!