Theory into practice

As the Rudd government strives to make schools more accountable (and transparent) to parents and the community, we are challenged to justify new approaches in schooling – new pedagogies, learning spaces etc.

The questions I’m often asked is, ‘is this a new fad’ and ‘are we pursuing our personal preferences here at the learner’s expense?’  

And my response to these increasingly common questions is that our educational agenda is shaped by quality research on how students learn best and how good teachers teach. 

It is important to be able to refer parents and those with an interest in schooling to our research base, which reflects the best educational theory and research available, which in turn, is supported by the reflected-upon experience of our best teachers.


2 thoughts on “Theory into practice

  1. New approaches in schooling are not only justified but required because the expectations placed on our school system have changed. Schools have had as much a sorting function as an educating function. Primary schools were to find those students suitable for secondary education, and secondary education was to find tertiary students. Along the way, most students were eliminated and found their way into the workforce, with only a small proportion progressing to university. These would be the group best suited to the school system, and the high academic achievers.

    Now that we are the ‘clever country’, schools are expected to educate everybody to university standard. We expect that everybody will have tertiary qualifications. Not everybody is suited to the school system, and the school system is most certainly not suited to many students.

    John Hattie’s research shows that 50% of results depend on having the right students. Therefore the most effective way for a school to increase results is to attract the right students, and eliminate underperformers. Schools do this in a variety of ways, officially as selective schools, or unofficially. Schools use their structure, assessment and other mechanisms to identify and eliminate weak students.

    If we want to truly offer education to every student, we need new approaches to understanding learning process of people who would not succeed in a traditional school environment, and to translate this into effective teaching practice, which focuses on the personalised education of each student rather than arbitrary exam results, or the prestige of the school.

    New approaches in schooling are required because our 19th century model of education is not keeping up with the demands of the 21st century.

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