The ALP’s much publicised ‘education revolution’ is a welcome approach to supporting quality learning and teaching. However, we undersell the promise of a ‘revolution’ if it is simply about more ‘hardware’ in schools. As important as hardware is in a knowledge age, it fails to address the fundamental challenges of learning and teaching in today’s world.
What is required is a revolution of the mind based on new ways of thinking that lead to new ways of schooling. We know good teaching, not computers, is the major factor in improving the learning outcomes of all students, which is why it is critical to build teacher capacity and capabilities.
If we are to prepare students for careers in the knowledge-age, then we need to support teachers in their capacity to “develop high level knowledge and skill in their work.” (Elmore, 2007).
A true revolution in education will only succeed if schools become true learning communities and education systems and governments have a clear and unified focus, a sharp vision and the commitment to support innovation and ongoing teacher professional learning.
We have already begun a revolution in our system of schools. We are bringing our resources to bare on supporting the teacher in every learning space in every school. This means a clear alignment between what the teacher does, how the school is led and how system resources are delivered in supporting schools. This is underpinned by a commitment to ongoing professional learning and conversation, critical reflection on what is good learning and teaching and collaboration across learning networks (both physical and virtual).
If the Rudd Labor Government is to deliver on its promise to Australian students, then we must work together to develop new models based on sound theory and research (respectful of past experience) that captures the imagination of learners and teachers alike.