Supply and Demand – the big issue for schools of the future

I’m currently attending the ConnectED conference of principals in the Newcastle region in Australia, exploring the theme of professional learning communities and enjoying hearing from speakers with a wealth of experience in this area including Alma Harris, Michelle Jones, Helen Timperley and Peter Goss. A constant theme in the presentations and workshops is change, and how, as educational leaders, we need to be disciplined in the ways we work with teachers to embrace and deal with change, empowering them through the process of inquiry and professional learning groups. Many times in the discussions with secondary teachers in particular the challenge of providing … Continue reading Supply and Demand – the big issue for schools of the future

Schools, COOLs and Kids

Let’s face it – schools are primarily about kids and their learning. Sure, we need buildings, teachers, furniture, timetables and the like to support that, but the primary focus should be on them. This is why I am personally very pleased to see the recent announcement from the Ministry of Education regarding the Education (Update) Amendment Bill. The current Act under which our education system operates places huge emphasis on the structures and governance of our schools, but less on the kids themselves – in fact learners and learning are barely mentioned. This would work well enough if all of … Continue reading Schools, COOLs and Kids

Innovative Education Experiences

There's been a lot of discussion among my colleagues at CORE Education recently about the nature of transformation, and what this looks like in education. Stories emerge daily in our media of how our existing education system is failing to adequately address the needs of current students such as this one about Auckland's education story or this one about our 'broken' assessment system.  So where are the stories of where innovation is challenging traditional educational systems and models in a practical sense? We do have some great examples of innovative practice here in NZ, as highlighted by the Prime Minister's excellence awards, or browsing … Continue reading Innovative Education Experiences

Driving the skills agenda

I've just been browsing this recently released report from the Economist Intelligence Unit titled The skills agenda: Preparing students for the future which draws attention to the challenge in education to prepare our current students with the skills and knowledge they'll require to participate fully in the future, in particular, in a digitally-enabled future. The EIU embarked on a research programme, sponsored by Google, to examine to what extent the skills taught in education systems around the world are changing. For example, are so-called 21st-century skills, such as leadership, digital literacy, problem solving and communication, complementing traditional skills such as reading, … Continue reading Driving the skills agenda

Rethinking education

I currently have the privilege of participating in and contributing to a variety of working groups and reference groups that are concerned with the future of education, each addressing various aspects the traditional education system, including the future of assessment, the development of modern learning environments, the impact of technology etc.  A central premise of much of this work focuses on just how well education is managing to keep up with the pace and scale of the rapid change that is experienced in the world in general, and how effectively we are equipping young people for life in a constantly evolving work environment. … Continue reading Rethinking education

Examining our educational beliefs

As schools and teachers embrace modern learning practices there inevitably emerge a range of different beliefs about what works and why. Some of this becomes a part of the popular culture of education, and some of it even makes its way into policy at a national level. Not everyone forms the same view, often leading to debates about what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. What it really reflects is the differences in values and beliefs that drive our practice as educators. I read this week a Herald article about the decision of Auckland Grammar to stick with a more traditional approach … Continue reading Examining our educational beliefs

Learner Orientation

The latest of CORE's Ten Trends has just been released, focusing on the issue of placing the learner at the centre of all decision making and activity in our education system.  A learner oriented system requires reversing the “logic” of education systems so that they are built around the learner, rather than the learner being required to fit with the system. The video above is available on EdTalks, and provides a useful introduction to the issue – great for use in staff meetings or other gatherings of educators interested in re-conceptualising how our educational institutions and programmes may better serve the … Continue reading Learner Orientation

Innovating to create 21 century learning environments

 The International Summit on the Teaching Profession is under way this year in Banff, Canada, with a contingent of NZ educators attending. Last year I had the privilege of attending this event when it was held here in NZ, and it provided a a great opportunity to hear from a variety of international 'experts' and leaders from a range of countries in the OECD.  Among them was Andraes Schleicher who is the OECD's director of the Directorate of Education and Skills, and the person most will associate with the research behind the PISA results. He is also author of a … Continue reading Innovating to create 21 century learning environments

Defining success

I was working with the staff of a local secondary school yesterday, and in the context of our discussion we shared our thinking around the question of 'what is success?' in relation to the purpose of school and schooling, and the focus on assessment that currently dominates much of the thinking in our school system and drives most of our curriculum design and delivery. We were specifically thinking about the issues raised in the NZCER publication, "Swimming out of our depth" where the authors suggest… "We need to think differently about what schools are for, about what students should learn in … Continue reading Defining success

The disruptive power of collaboration

Collaboration is a hot topic in many areas of education at the moment. My work in describing and explaining the key changes for teachers as they develop their Modern Learning Practice places this pretty high on the list. So too with the work I'm involved in my home city of Christchurch, as school leaders and the Ministry of Education seek to explore more collabortive forms of 'school' and 'schooling' as they rebuild after the earthquakes here.  in the video interview above, New York University professor and author, Clay Shirky, explains the disruptive impact of technology on how people live and work. While … Continue reading The disruptive power of collaboration