Heppell Part 2

We’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Stephen Heppell back to the diocese. Stephen spent three days during the last week of term 3 at one of our secondary schools to challenge teacher thinking and deepen student engagement.

DSC_0219bIt’s always engaging to hear someone as passionate as Stephen talk to teachers about the opportunities and challenges of learning in today’s world. Ask Stephen and his response is that students can do anything if they are challenged, engaged, inspired etc. Ask many secondary teachers and they will tell you how constrained they are by rigid timetables and syllabus requirements.

These are the realities faced by teachers everywhere and until governments change the policy from testing and assessing to learning and teaching it will stay the same. This is a clarion call to stop playing the game – to develop our own policies and use the expertise, experience, and professional judgement to look beyond what has always been in schooling.

We don’t need excuses, we need action. The government wants an education revolution then let’s give them a real one. As someone once observed, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste! And let’s start with teachers sharing their own practice of what is good learning and teaching. This has to be our policy framework.

I am not sure why there is still such trepidation to change schooling – perhaps it is the fear of not having all the answers or a single road-map! The good news is we have the tools, the experience of innovative teachers and the voices of students to forge our own paths.

As Stephen says the curriculum requirements are just one corner of the classroom so what is happening in the other three? I believe the greatest challenge for systems and leaders and the profession itself is giving teachers the green-light; supporting them to take risks and to experiment with new learning tools.

There is great liberation in realising that you don’t have to be an expert in IT to be a good teacher. Good teachers will continually look for new ways of improving learning outcomes using the tools available including the design of learning spaces.

Stephen told our teachers that the only way to move forward is to work in partnership with students – to involve them in decision-making; to  challenge them to set (and reach) their own targets and to see what is possible rather than what is expected.


4 thoughts on “Heppell Part 2

  1. All – good to see this blog post.

    You are spot on. You absolutely do have the tools, your experienced innovative teachers and those reflective students voices to forge your own paths…

    …and as you say “to stop playing the game – to develop our own policies and use the expertise, experience, and professional judgement to look beyond what has always been in schooling”

    I look forward to with working with you all to see how far – and fast – excellent schools might go. Exciting times.

  2. Thanks Stephen I think that the narrative is changing the story and thus driving a sustainable learning and teaching agenda.
    We want to share and celebrate these stories and the technology is a great support

  3. I can’t agree more: we have just had the privilege of skyping with Stephen Heppell this morning and both the students and staff present had the opportunity to ask questions about how we can do the things we want to do. We are committed to being a learning community where everyone can be the best that they can be. As Stephen said to us, we just don’t know how good our kids can be, how far they can go. One of our big questions is around bending the curriculum and we are committed to finding ways to make it work for us. I love hearing the students talking about learning, what it is for them, what they would like it to be. It is about doing this together. Watch this space.

  4. I would also like to acknowledge Stephen’s work. The climate in the UK is somewhat bleak but my hope is that there won’t be a ripple effect here in Oz. We have had a history of following the UK’s trends, but this is not the time to be following. Stephen inspires us to be the leaders. His Listen2Learners conference http://www.education.vic.gov.au/researchinnovation/events/listentolearners/default.htm in Melbourne was awesome. We had students from our NSW schools represented there and it was such an honour. Thank you Stephen.

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