John Connell’s blog is worth reading.
He’s running a discussion on teaching at a crossroads and has, in my view, made some excellent observations about the challenges facing us all in schooling today. Judging by the comments he has tapped into some key issues. As hard as the comments may seem they have to be named and it’s an approach that I believe needs to be encouraged.
This year, we embarked on a learning conversation with school leaders, which is the core approach to delivering our system intent. We purchased a book called ‘How people learn’ by Bransford et al, which serves as our touchstone for continuing dialogue.
As I’ve said in previous posts, it is important that this theory informs our practice. I don’t think we are going to get anywhere delivering the type of schooling needed in today’s world unless we engage in a serious, rigourous investigation and reflection using contemporary educational literature.
Our literature base is well recognised and respected: Fullan, Eddy, Hargreaves, Sergiovanni, Hill, Caldwell, Timperley, Robinson, Beare and so the list goes on. These educators approach the business of schooling from a unique theoretical view point with profound implications for practice.
We have to move beyond “I think”, “I know”, “this works for me” as the only basis for informing good practice. Too often, the approach in my experience has been to maintain the status quo and to avoid the hard issues in creating a relevant schooling experience.
I believe there is an element of anti-intellectualism that exists within the education sector and it is now time to name it and deal with it. It certainly doesn’t imply that the work of teachers and their involvement in the change process is irrelevant.
In fact, I would argue that never before have we needed greater teacher involvement and active participation in the work of creating knowledge-age schools. However, participation must be informed by good theory not just personal opinion.
It is up to each learning community to identify the theoretical framework, which will inform practice and then engage regularly in intelligent and reflective dialogue on the important issues. This is done by reading, dialogue and exchange. In other words, professional learning at its best.