Our educational canon

As our state and federal governments prepare for upcoming elections, it’s been interesting to examine their policy positions on education. 

As always, the incumbent  party’s position is rejected by the opposition with no middle ground. The rejection usually focuses on cutting (mostly) or increasing (rarely) funding for a range of programs. Never do we have a carefully crafted policy framework that reflects the best we know about good education theory and practice.

This is a poor approach to developing a sustainable and effective educational policy framework for schooling in today’s world.  Like all systems committed to improving student learning outcomes, we have built our own ” educational canon” that informs our understanding of what makes the difference to improving student learning and builds teacher capacity.

The canon becomes our touchstone for good practice and represents two decades of good educational theory and research. It continues to expand as we learn more about student learning and teacher practice.

In most cases, educational policy is not often developed from the canon but from ideological preferences and a traditional understanding of learners and the process of schooling.

Schools learn from exemplar schools; systems learn from exemplar systems because good theory is actually good practice. While implementation may vary at the local level, the fundamental elements of improving schooling should be common to all education systems.

Our canon:
Bransford et al – How People Learn
Michael Fullan – Six Secrets of Change
John Hattie – Visible Learning
Jim Collins – Good to Great
Helen Timplery et al – Teacher Professional Learning and Development
Viviane Robinson et al – School Leadership and Student Outcomes
MCEETYA’s  Learning in an Online World
NSW and ACT Bishop’s Pastoral Letter – Catholic Schools at a Crossroads

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