Pondering the questions

We’re edging towards the end of the year; a time of when bold predictions are often made about 2014.  I’m not good at reading the tea leaves but I have been pondering some of the big questions over my morning cup of tea regarding where to next for schooling.

At a local level our focus is on building teacher capacity.  All the research we have shows that successful schools have instructional leaders working with effective teachers to improve learning for each student. We continue the work by doing the work, learning from the work and remaining focused on the work.  Always easier said than done but our data shows that change is happening in across schools and that is encouraging.  We don’t often thank our teachers enough but they are education’s bread and butter.

Professionally, social media continues to inspire and challenge my thinking and it proves just how diverse and impressive the online networks are. William Ferriter and Nicholas Provenzano wrote about social media in terms of their own professional learning in Kappan recently saying “the relationship that develops between blog writers and their regular readers is symbiotic.  Writers publish thinking designed to challenge their peers, and peers push back in the comment sections of posts….Over time, this intellectual give-and-take strengthens the understandings and professional relationships between authors and their audiences.”

Thanks to those who posted comments this year on bluyonder for the intellectual give and take – it has sharpened my focus.  And so next year brings new challenges and new opportunities but until then these are the questions that I have been pondering….

  1. How can we better connect parents into the learning and teaching experience of their children (greater collaboration)?
  2. What are the key elements of a contemporary assessment framework for student learning and teacher evaluation (student performance)?
  3. Are there different ways of thinking about school day (ie. not face to face)?
  4. Is it possible to benchmark learning and teaching internationally (going beyond PISA)
  5. Can quality schooling be delivering in a time when education funding is shrinking in real terms?( doing more for less)
  6. How do we change teachers’ beliefs and attitudes?(can the paradigm change)

I look forward to engagement around these and many similar questions and the challenge of seeking answers as a profession.  I remain very positive about  where we are in terms of schooling and I think it is a great time to be an educator. The opportunities we have to enhance student learning and to learn about our own practice is enough to keep us motivated and focused. I continually see students achieving great things and teachers doing extraordinary work.  Let’s aim to make this the norm not the exception.

Merry Christmas and roll on 2014!

8 thoughts on “Pondering the questions

  1. Thanks Greg for another great year. I have particularly enjoyed your blog as well as other social media as a contemporary source of professional thought and learning. I resonate with your items and would add 5 more.

    1. Further shifting the organisation of schools to the needs of the learners rather than just the educators.

    2. Clarification and articulation of the purpose of formal schooling on a national level as this truly underpins the direction of our work.

    3. How do we make learning more authentic and with real world connections and contexts.

    4. Technology – it can’t simply just be an aide to learning but needs to be the imperative for change.

    5. Funding – does he who funds, control?

    All the best for Christmas and the new year.

  2. Thanks Greg for these very thought provoking posts. I have really enjoyed them. Thank you too for the ongoing opportunity to explore new ways of Teaching & Learning in Music Education. More so, to connect music learning across the curriculum.

    I particularly resonate with your points 1 & 3 in terms of exploring new ways of teaching & learning in my own area of music education and connecting music learning to other areas of learning.

    1. Effective teaching & learning should extend beyond the classroom and the school. Ideally, music learning is a great vehicle to motivate students to extend learning and to also involve parents in that learning as partners. Are we achieving this in our schools? I believe so, but I’d like to continue to explore and extend this through some of the strategies I suggested in my blog earlier this year https://captivatewithmusic.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/engaging-parents-as-learning-partners/

    3. Different ways of thinking about the school day – I really enjoyed the PBL World Forum at Riverside Theatre. Collaborative Learning should be a natural way of music learning – we are in a collaborative learning paradigm whenever we are in a music ensemble rehearsal and it should be the ideal forum for the music lesson as well – I’d like to explore this myself in an upcoming blog post.

    I hope you are enjoying a very blessed and relaxing Christmas.

  3. Attila – all excellent points. I particularly like your points 3 & 4 because I think these 2 points are very connected. How can we better use technology to design learning resources to connect learning to authentic ‘real world’ situations? Certainly a good point to ponder over the holidays.

  4. Hi, just started reading your book, and, so far, I find that it’s put into one place a lot of the reading I’ve done about education, motivation and the way the brain actually learns. Great!

  5. Hi Greg thanks for making the time to keep this forum going. I have enjoyed being part of it in 2013 and look forward to more and better in 2014. Michelle

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