Being a profession?

It seems that almost every day this week in some forum or another I've heard reference to the need to 'recapture the profession' of teaching. Is this the case? Is teaching no longer a profession? Have we lost the right to call ourselves professionals? This debate has been around for a long time and never seems to be fully resolved, and may never be as long as we have a situation where teachers and teaching is subject to so much direct political influence and interference. There is hardly a day goes by when we don't see teachers and/or teaching represented … Continue reading Being a profession?

Leading with guilt

I was asked recenlty to present a keynote to a group of principals, the topic I was given began with "Leading Without Guilt…". It's not difficult to imagine how this topic may  have been arrived at, given the constant barrage of messages we see through the media and other sources about the 'failings' of our education system and where its weaknesses are. Inevitably, the relentlessness of these messages can build up a 'guilt complex' among those responsible for providing the quality teaching and learning that exists in our schools.  Pondering how I might approach the topic, I went to my … Continue reading Leading with guilt

ICTs and Teacher Workload

I've been in a number of meetings recently where I hear a lot of the same old comments from teachers and school leaders about the use of ICTs in school, and the fact that this whole area seems to absorb so much time and thinking – and for what? Much of the conversation appears to be focus on the imact on teacher workload than student learning. This sort of issue often goes un-resolved in staffrooms, with the 'evangalists' on one side gushing with enthusiasm and assumptions, and the 'stick-in-the-muds' on the other, complaining of no time for PD and too … Continue reading ICTs and Teacher Workload

Youth Voices Forum

I had the privilege yesterday of listening to the presentations made at the Youth Voices Challenge here in Christchurch. The event was jointly organised by the NZ UNESCO Sub commission in conjunction with the WE SPEAK 2011 event run by the White Elephant Trust and Otautahi Youth Council. The event sought to bring together 25 young leaders from ‘generation Y‘ to ensure that the voices of young people are heard in the process of visioning the future of Christchurch after the earthquakes here. They’d worked together from 6pm on the Friday evening through to lunchtime on Saturday to pull together … Continue reading Youth Voices Forum

eLearnings – a history of ICT in New Zealand education

At the recent hui for the National Aspiring Principals Progamme (NAPP) I had an opportunity to reflect on the history of the adoption of ICTs in New Zealand schools and the significance of this for school leaders and aspiring principals. When we are in the midst of such rapid change we sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture and some of the things that have happened which in turn set the scene for where we are now. These sorts of understandings can be very important for us to be able then to chart some sort of trajectory for the future. … Continue reading eLearnings – a history of ICT in New Zealand education

Rise of blended learning

Blended learning is the ‘buzz’ word around the world at the moment it would seem. It appears regularly through recent Ministry of Education documents on eLearning and effective teaching, and is a centre-piece of the latest round of eLearning professional development contracts. We’ve certainly seen a rise in blended learning approaches in some NZ schools in recent years, particularly within the Virtual Learning Network, and now within some of the UFB schools, such as the GCSN in Christchurch. A report just out from the US brings a timely perspective to this phenomenon, focusing specifically on the schooling sector. Titled, The … Continue reading Rise of blended learning

Leaders lead

I had the privilege of hearing Scott McLeod speak at our CORE Breakfast yesterday morning here in Christchurch. Scott provided a provocative and informative session, sharing his perspectives on how educators worldwide are struggling to adapt to the digital, global era in which we live. As co-creator of the wildly popular video series, “Did You Know? (Shift Happens)”, Scott used many of the concepts in that video in his presentation – making effective use of data from the NZ context to provide a compelling picture of how the ideas are impacting us here. Through the session he provided many opportunities for feedback … Continue reading Leaders lead

Government priorities for 2011

Yesterday’s Statement to Parliament by Prime Minister John Key provides an insight into what we can expect as priorities in education in 2011 – high on the list are ECE and National Standards. Early Childhood We value early childhood education (ECE) because we know it helps prepare children for future learning and assists parents to participate in the workforce. However, we are concerned that New Zealand won’t be able to afford record ECE funding increases into the future. Furthermore, we are concerned that in recent years these increases have not achieved the results we would expect, particularly in terms of … Continue reading Government priorities for 2011

Learning for the future

I read a blog post this morning by Brian Khun on Preparing students for education futuristics. Brian starts with a quote from (US) President Barack Obama’s Sep. 8, 2009 speech in which he says: What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. It’s a pretty compelling challenge. Think of the things that the students in our schools of today are likely to face as issues that they will be responsible for … Continue reading Learning for the future

Reclaiming our profession

Every day in schools throughout the country, teachers are entrusted with the task of ensuring children’s intellectual growth and preparing them to meet the challenge of the future. As a result, one might expect that such important work would enjoy high status and respect in society, such as is afforded doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. This is the case in some countries such as Finland, but, I fear, is not the case in New Zealand. A key issue here is whether teaching can be considered a profession – a debate I was first introduced to in my teacher training some 30 … Continue reading Reclaiming our profession