The ‘how’ agenda

This year, I’ve had the privilege of being able to speak at education conferences both here in Australia and abroad. These experiences give me the opportunity to share with other passionate educators my ideas about schools and learning. There are so many people thinking differently about learning. I come away from these events excited and … More The ‘how’ agenda

Can we raise teaching standards by imposing standards?  

In response to the above question, the answer from most politicians is yes.  In NSW for example, the politics of standards has led to the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) being renamed and given greater powers. The newly announced NSW Education Standards Authority will be charged with ‘lifting’ school compliance and teacher quality in an effort to improve … More Can we raise teaching standards by imposing standards?  

Good practice shapes theory

Michael Fullan has said that good practice often shapes theory not the converse.  A theoretical understanding is necessary but theories don’t always translate into effective classroom practice. Theories don’t provide teachers with the ‘how to’ and although most teachers recognise the need to continually reflect on their practice in order to improve, there is an assumption that … More Good practice shapes theory

Collaborative competition

We live in societies where the culture of competition exists everywhere and it is no more evident than in education. Schooling has become big business and learning is competitive.  At an international level, we rank education systems and encourage them to ‘beat the best’.  At a local level, there is a growing demand for coaching and tutoring … More Collaborative competition

The autonomy argument

It is well documented that the success of Finland’s education system has been in part due to the autonomy granted to schools. The decision to trust teachers and the communities to make their own policy decisions has lead to increases in student achievement not to mention a rewarding working life for teachers. Autonomy needs to be understood … More The autonomy argument

It doesn’t make sense

The prophetic Steve Jobs said: It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. What happens when we replace ‘smart people’ with ‘teachers’ is the recognition that we are still hiring teachers and largely telling them what to do.  Unfortunately, this is the reality of the current … More It doesn’t make sense

The radical centre

On Monday night I had the pleasure of hearing Noel Pearson deliver the annual Bishop Manning lecture.  Pearson is founder of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership.  In discussing the complexities and challenges facing indigenous communities, Pearson explained that he saw himself as a radical centralist – someone committed to left wing objectives through right … More The radical centre