Having engrossed myself in Twitter and dabbled in professional blogging, it’s time to get serious. My big questions are:
How do we maintain the focus on teaching well with good pedagogical practices whilst bending under the pressure of high stakes testing?
What are the good pedagogical practices which should be present in all schools and how does the use of digital technology add to it?
How do we ensure that classroom practice through the whole school reflects what educators know is evident?
Educational literature for many years has clearly maintained that inquiry learning and collaboration are the hallmarks of excellent teaching practice whilst the reality of schools is the prevalence of chalk and talk/fill in the worksheet default practice. The Australian government mandates testing for Years 3, 5, 7 & 9 under the false pretence that it is diagnostic, and that schools are ever more under pressure to use this as its major benchmark for school performance. Unfortunately our education system is rushing to emulate the UK experience while ignoring that the UK is coming to understand that it’s a dead end.
What particularly irks me is the constant rhetoric from Canberra that we aim to be the best school system in the world (in itself a nebulous aim – what does that actually mean?) yet the presence of our two top-ranked educational politicians (from both sides of politics) at this year’s Australian Council for Educational Research conference was non-existent. So much of what was presented at the conference grated against the prevailing ‘wisdom’ of our education system. Where are they getting their information from when making decisions about schools. Would they not expect the medical profession to base what they do on research. Why not the teaching profession?