The Federal Government is making a huge investment in improving/modernising school infrastructure as part of its $42 billion jobs and national building plan.
Most Australians would agree that education is a sound investment for our country’s future as industrial sectors decline and emphasis is placed on creativity, adaptability and technology.
While we welcome the Federal Government’s investment to ensure the built environment meets contemporary standards, we shouldn’t let this distract or replace the work that is currently happening in our schools to improve learning outcomes. The focus must be on people – new ways of working, collaboration, sharing, publishing and learning.
It’s interesting that Stephen Heppell (who will be visiting our schools this month) in his learnometer project is seeking answers as more governments make significant investment in education.
Heppell says two fundamental questions recur – “is the investment taking schools in the right direction for today’s world and if so how do we know how effective the investment has been?”
While Heppell and other educational leaders are seeking the answers – we have to ask are teachers also on the same journey of discovery?
I believe if we are to build a level of trust within the profession and contribute to the national agenda, we must each be prepared to ask the hard questions and seek honest answers.
As Professor John Hattie says, we need to create a culture of trust within learning spaces so that the questions can be asked and answered and meaningful feedback given.
We have been encouraging teachers to share their practice and experiences through virtual and physical networks. Our goal this year is to widen the reach of the learning conversations.
Mike Anderson, principal of the Waimairi School in Christchurch explains it this way…
I believe we are heading in the right direction but bricks and mortar alone won’t deliver the change we seek – it has to be built from the ground up.