A recent article caught my attention in the Times Educational Supplement (TES Connnect) that highlights the disparity in thinking between German Mathematician Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the OECD’s PISA study, and Michael Gove, the Secretary for Education in England.
Michael Gove argues the need for better qualified teachers, but Schleicher, who incidentally is also described by Gove as the ‘most important man in world education’, believes that what is needed is quality ongoing teacher training now!
Schleicher’s four points for successful education reform
To lead successful reform requires 4 things, according to Schleicher:
- Quality Professional development
- Adequate career structures and diversification
- Teachers willing to reform, and
- Ensuring that outstanding staff and schools lead PD
New Zealand rates high on PISA scale, but can’t be complacent
While the plight for New Zealand is not the same as England—after all, we are among the top performing countries on the PISA scale—we do, however, have a long tail of under-achievers.
There is no room for complacency. Professional development must address this issue. But how do we do this effectively?
Excellent foundations laid…
Initiatives and imperatives have been put in place, to improve outcomes for all.
For example, Digital Horizons, Enabling 21st Century Learning, The New Zealand Curriculum, Ka Hikitia, He Kakano, and Te Kotahitanga to name a few. Common phrases, weighty with perceived appropriateness, circulate in educational gatherings – lifelong learning, connectedness, student voice, relationships, key competencies, a sense of community, meaning-making, critical thinkers, problem solvers, risk takers, and ownership, indicate the level of thought teachers are putting into the issue.
…but is this far enough?
Nevertheless, do we run the risk of missing the boat through being unable, as yet, to condense these valuable documents, initiatives, and phrases into good teaching and learning and assessment that allow all students to achieve to their potential?
Do we run the risk of putting too much emphasis on one initiative or one focus at the risk of minimizing others?
What does matter?
What is important here?