Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash “Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.” Rick Warren My previous post on transformation vs reform has attracted lots of feedback in a variety of forums, so I thought I’d follow up with this one, posing the question, ‘why is transformation so difficult?’ On the face of it there appears to be growing agreement around the need for transformation in education. The UN Transforming Education Summit in New York … Continue reading Why is transformation difficult?
With nearly 45 years of experience working in education, I find myself reflecting on exactly what it is I have achieved in that time. With each of my own kids now pursuing their own life ambitions, and now my eldest grand-kids at the age where they’re thinking about the ways they might contribute to society – there are often times we find ourselves discussing exactly what’s important in life. Generally we arrive back at the same place – we all want to have ‘made a difference’ in some way. I didn’t really think of doing anything but becoming a teacher … Continue reading Building – and sustaining – innovation
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Chinese Proverb Whether we’re talking about climate change, the health system, education or environmental issues, a common refrain in much of the current rhetoric is the urgent need for action. This sense of urgency belies the fact that what needs to be done should have been started a long time ago, but by ignoring the signs, we’re now faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges in terms of the scale and complexity of the problems that lie before us – and our children. Consider the … Continue reading We all want trees – now!
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history… The crisis is exacerbating pre-existing education disparities by reducing the opportunities for many of the most vulnerable children, youth, and adults…. On the other hand, this crisis has stimulated innovation within the education sector”. UN Policy Brief August 2020 Many of us are familiar with the phrase ‘feet of clay’ – referring to a fundamental flaw or weakness in a person who may be otherwise revered. The phrase originates from the book of Daniel in the Bible where Daniel interprets a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. In … Continue reading Feet of Clay
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” Peter Druker The announcement of the closure of the Ministry of Education’s head office in Wellington, Mātauranga House, due to earthquake risk came as a big surprise to everyone – in particular, the 1000 employees for whom that is their regular place of work. They were given just a few days to retrieve what they need and prepare to work from home for an unspecified period of time. Déjà vu the 2020 lockdown! We all remember the sudden changes in our lives … Continue reading Pivot
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
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
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
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
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