Building from the ground up

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.

6 thoughts on “Building from the ground up

  1. yeah but it the quality of his input that grabs you. love your website Greg, great links and a great resource for other leaders.

  2. Mick, Stephen is speaking to our staff at Rooty Hill RSL on Wednesday, 18 February between 4-6pm. As numbers are limited, public attendance at the event would be on the basis of a) genuine interest and b) first in best-dressed.

    If you are keen on seeing Stephen speak, then please register your interest with Pat Bentham ( by COB, Friday 13 February.

  3. While resourcing for school buildings is welcome and many schools will benefit from this, what concerns me with this push for change driven by infrastructure and buildings is that it is driven from the ‘top’. While this all has to be managed, extra staff employed to deliver on this, we must not lose sight of the where the learning is heading and who can effect the change.

    My interest is in working with and supporting teachers/educators in their own contexts and settings and with them developing reflective practices that lead to great insight into learning for the 21st century.

    In my work we have recently spent time understanding what a collaborative professional learning environment is like and how will we know if we are being effective. Throughout our work we will regularly reflect on our experience of this, as part of our Action Research. While this reflection will occur face to face much of it will be conducted in an online environment where will be able to enter into the reflective process at any time. We will also have a rich and dynamic history of our reflections as we move towards change; as we engage in learning for the 21st Century.

  4. “The focus must be on people – new ways of working, collaboration, sharing, publishing and learning.”

    – indeed, we need to continue searching for new ways since everything has already changed/evolved.

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