Just a teacher

Another school year has ended with some great results in the Higher School Certificate.  Well done to the teachers who have laid the foundations on which our departing Year 12 students will build upon next year.

Behind every successful student is a great teacher supported by a collaborative team of other professionals and instructional leaders.  This is is a simple formula that is difficult to implement, not because it is intellectually complex, theoretically unproven or sound educational practice.

It is difficult to implement because it is a challenge to the prevailing culture of schooling where the schooling process is focused on the transference of knowledge by a single teacher to a defined group of students in defined classes at specific times of the day.

We know the good theory and practice, we are not strong on changing culture!

4 thoughts on “Just a teacher

  1. the Jesus teacher model notwithstanding;
    the challenges of providing quality in-depth analysis and interconnections
    imagine and metaphor-make…
    critical investigative tasks are established by parents, teacher-guides and ‘the village elders’, but the instructive medicine person is wandering among linked interconnections of the internet search tools and points its information (e.g. task = how does one ‘find out’ about ____ and now that that part of the task has been resolved, show that you understand what ____ tool offers you to undertsand yourself or the world better ). Now the culture brings responsibility to the searching student as well (with guides).
    Any search has necessary practice which assures all the ‘instructional stakeholders’ that the student has done the journey, has made the passage walk-about and has complete that portion of ‘knowing’, and has linked with the powers and clues of the instructive medicine person (who happens to be in many places simultaneously)
    it’s new tribal learning method, but now it includes the entire open internet.
    Teacher-guides take on some new roles, students become involved beyond being ‘required’ to attend a specific instructional episode at the same repeated site

    it’s just a seed of an approach, knowing the dangers that Nicholas Carr warns about
    yet in David Brin’s “Earth” the net becomes a conscious entity that dynamically engages simultaneously with all who encounter ‘it’

  2. Good Morning Greg. We just had this very conversation yesterday, at a Northwestern Ontario PLC Hub session with teachers from both elementary and secondary schools. While the secondary teachers recognize the theory behind “collaborative teacher inquiry” driven by the needs of their students, they also acknowledge that the culture of the secondary panel does not yet embrace this way of working. One plan of action includes secondary teachers beginning this practice by choosing one partner within their PLC grouping, with whom to do some co-planning/co-teaching or even just classroom observation. The teachers articulated their belief that this would be a step toward initiating this change in culture. I am pleased that this idea came from the teachers themselves – a sure sign to a greater chance of successful implementation!

  3. In the words of George Bernard Shaw…
    “What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge
    in pursuit of the child”.

    Indeed it is a tricky thing to change culture of teaching and learning because most teachers have been educated hrough this industrial narrative. This is safe and comfortable for most. What is at the root of change (in my mind) is seeing children as capable learners. This will take time… but take heart it is happening.
    Interestingly, UWS , Nepean have been using Community of Practice Circles (CPC’s) as part of their Prac structure. This means that a university liaison person will take a LGA and request schools host meetings. The prac students, supervising teachers and liaison from uni all meet to deconstruct readings and discuss application to practice. This builds networks and provides foundations for further discussion, debate and challenging ye olde discourses about teaching methods, the way we perceive children and ourselves as learners. It also models the power of sociocultural practice. So… there are graduates who will be better prepared for the shift towards this new narrative.
    “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand”, is a Chinese proverb
    relevant to contemporary teaching. Change can occur if we involve colleagues in the process of change. The rationale for change just isn’t enough for many teachers, they need to gently be made a part of it by being involved in the process. Inspiration is the key. It is fascinating to listen to colleagues who go on school visits and come back completely inspired. It’s happening… it takes many drops to fill a bucket then the trickle effect begins. It just takes a bit of time to create sustainable change…

  4. I think I understand your point Murphey. Learning, and therefore by definition, teaching is a collaborative process in today’s world. It always has been I think but as the final pillars of the industrial model of schools fall away and we understand the world in a new way new more powerful models are emerging.
    A fundamental change is the co construction of information and knowlege. The industrial model saw learning and teaching as a process of tresferring information and knowledge. In today’s world it about itds creation. And of course this brings a new set of challenges!

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