Comments (12)

  1.' Ali says:

    The earthquakes, and subsequent aftershocks, that have rocked Christchurch from September 2010 have caused disruption to education throughout the city and neighbouring areas. There is much to be done here and now to support our schools.

    At the same time there are new opportunities for our city. Since September educational organisations in Christchurch have thought laterally – sharing sites, changing timetabling, using technologies more powerfully and problem solving to meet the needs of students. How can we build on this to create a new reality for our city?

    A survey regarding the future possibilities for Christchurch Education is now available online.

    1. David Bailey says:

      Very timely, and a great cause, Ali! It’s certainly the time for reflection and assessment. It would be good to get the survey out to as many as possible and get as good response to it as possible. It’s a chance, as you say to create a new reality for our city.

  2. Thanks for this post David – it's important that we are reflecting on, and thinking critically about the impact of these emergency measures on our traditional view of schools and schooling. There will be, of course, two sides to this story – for as many as it suits there will be those who have found it a negative experience. CORE is engaged in researching this on behalf of the MoE, conducting a wide range of interviews with teachers, parents, principals and students – I'm looking forward to what is revealed.

    For me the important thing is that we are able to think deeply about what is revealed, not because we think the models that were set up as a result of the emergency measures are what we think could/should continue, but because we have seen a significant 'disruption' to the existing models, and through that new opportunities are being identified that might inform what our future models might be.

    1. David Bailey says:

      Good points Derek. I am totally with you on the opportunity this experience has provided to robustly explore, examine, test and debate the models—not for its sake, but for genuine improvement.

  3.' John Thawley says:

    Kia Ora,l
    I like the article as I have wondered about the sharing of secondary schools as some of our ex-pupils living in Lyttelton get home very late indeed, according to their parents their daughters and sons don’t mind at all!

    I am a principal at Lyttelton Main School, a full primary. The idea of varying the start and finishing times to the school working day is interesting. Many primary / intermediat schools vary the lunch hours rather than have the traditional 12.00 to 1.00pm, this works well for us, eg 12.30 to 1.30 pm, having the optimum learning time from 9.00am to 12.30pm, our age of student is often exhausted by the afternoon.

    The only concern I would have about either starting earlier / later that parents would probably have “care” issues, it is often difficult enough now.
    Kia Kaha

    1. David Bailey says:

      Thanks John, I'm pleased you like the article.

      It will be interesting what the research finds about those secondary students in that afternoon shift! It does seem, though, as you say, students even of secondary age can become tired in the afternoon. Same with adults, I guess! Who hasn't struggled at a seminar after lunch!

      Your concern about the "care" issues, is a very real one. I'm sure it will provide a lot of debate. 

  4.' Lynette Parish says:

    Many years ago I taught 2 parallel 3rd Form French classes. When it came to choosing subjects for Yr 10, nearly all of one class chose French and nearly all of the other class did not. The difference? One class had 3/3 lessons in the morning. The other class had 1 morning class and 2 afternoon classes.

    This lead to our school's decision to timetable as many teaching slots as possible in the morning. Present school timetables suit all sorts of scenarios EXCEPT educational achievement. Particularly with Year 9-11 classes, we could cut all of our after lunch classes, and students would learn no less.

    1. David Bailey says:

      Hi Lynette. This issue of after-lunch classes seems to be a consistent theme. It's good that there's opportunity to have a close look at this.

  5. I wonder if there is more 'focusing on the essentials' because there exists an extraordinary commitment by students and teachers alike to make this new situation work because they know there is no alternative. We are living in very strange times – there's a new sense of working together and of being on the same side to not let this earthquake business overcome us which is wonderful.

    I do have a wondering about the whole 'essentials' idea – is it possible that this is not all good? That other things might be missed out due to focusing on subject content and passing assessments? There is more to school than just that….

    1. David Bailey says:

      I wondered about this very issue myself, Gina. Extreme circumstances call for new responses and attitudes "out of the norm"—which is what the post says. Is this the right context, then, for making permanent changes? I would hope not. I'm sure that the research being done (and the surveys) will take this into account. Nevertheless, John and Lynette's comments show, the problems of afternoon tiredness isn't anything to do with the earthquake or the emergency measures. It would be interesting to hear from others on this!

  6.' Dorothy says:

    Very interesting post.  Thanks for sharing this.  In the 5 years I taught at international schools in the tropics we had 7.30am starts for primary school kids.  Finish at 1.30pm.  It was great.  In both schools the learning was fantastic.  I am not a morning person, but it still worked for me.  There was enough time after school to get well prepped for the day ahead and arriving to a well organised class at 7am worked fine.

    Back in NZ, the primary school I work in has lunch from 1-2pm leaving only one hour in the (what everyone here seems to agree on) non-productive afternoon block.

    It would be great if creative timetabling as a norm came out of this tragedy.

  7.' Andy says:

    Thank you for these notes David. I attended a school in the UK which changed their timetable in the winter months to put afternoon lessons at the end of the day, from 3.30 to 5pm, giving time for after school activities in the light. Staff and students preferred these later sessions as the long break after lunch also gave chance for students to refresh and refocus.

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