Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: And so it begins

139 Responses

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  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Jane Pearson,

    I hope any articles on teachers are written with some focus above the recent focus on the supposed self-interest of the teachers themselves. If he wants to destroy the collection process he surely could have done it another way. Oh well.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    John Hartevelt went to school a million years ago.

    He was in high school after 2000 I believe. Completed an honours degree mid-2000s.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    And my advice would be to get the school’s students to transcribe the data by hand. And assume it is transcribed correctly and then send it as is.

    Ooh, and they could transcribe the data by hand in Māori. Or even better, draw pictures of NZ sign language! That would be fun!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 396 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And he’s not a bad journalist either.

    This will be a test of that. Seriously, the journalistic challenge in this is enormous.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3436 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    He looks older in his cartoon picture. Still he probably would find the world of the 5 - 10 year old very different to his usual environment, and its fair to say these kids aren't gen x or y derivatives but students being prepared to face quite a changed playing feild and an increasing number of problems.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Steve Withers,

    I don’t see how anyone can compare schools at all.

    You can compare schools. But it takes considerable effort and sophisticated methods. It is precisely because our education system has compared schools that we have improved the system over the years. Qualified educated people have compared schools and discovered why some schools do better than others and learned from them. They've then passed that knowledge on to other schools where it has improved the outcomes. And they've also noted where changes haven't worked and tried to figure out why.

    Our schools now are an enormous improvement over the schools of 50 years ago or even 20 years ago. That came from intelligently making comparisons. It came from making and recognizing mistakes. It came from identifying success and failure honestly and in detail.

    It's not that you can't compare schools, it's that you can't reduce that comparison to a simplistic metric.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3436 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One of the big improvements in schools has been the move to smaller class sizes. The ability to answer individual queries from the class is a massive prerequisite for more productive learning.... yet only recently we saw are very uneducated move to increase class size.

    The teaching to the test principle and this bigger class size ideology are examples of a cabinet that needs quite honestly to go back to school. The fact that we have senior politicians still grappling with climate change makes you wonder whether these citizens really should be going anywhere near the education of our youth.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    The fact that we have senior politicians still grappling with climate change makes you wonder whether these citizens really should be going anywhere near the education of our youth.

    It could be worse...
    Kentucky lawmakers shocked to find evolution in biology tests

    Representative Ben Waide, who demonstrated his lack of scientific knowledge by saying, "The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science—Darwin made it up." Waide went on to say that "Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny."

    Sometimes national standards are a good thing and teaching to the test means actually teaching.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I think recognising that a sizeable minority of students are coming out of modern schools worldwide with limited reading, writing and maths skills is important and a measurement of that and its symptoms is sensible. Why is writing so difficult to some students? A lot of reasons.

    Teaching to a test literally means teaching the answers to a known test to push up pass marks for politicains to use in their re-election bids.

    Incidentally where does the science of climate change fit into national standards or evolution, maybe to set an example for the kids the inability to comprehend the idea at an adult political level should see some serious flags come up for that individual , as we would for a youth unable to add or spell.

    National standards are fine but what are the standards and what are the measurements. Cirriculum is a field that does need some urgency, that's where we should be putting our energy, cirriculum and delivery.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    National standards or not, how do we measure that the teaching that you are doing is working? I still haven't seen a satisfactory answer on this. "Just trust us" doesn't cut it.

    You mean aside from parents noting their kids improving skills, the child's achievement in national assessments, the reports you get, the parent teacher interviews, the times you spend in the classroom, the PTA meetings you attend, the conversations you have with other parents, the ERO reports, the TIMMS and PISA results?

    A lot of effort is going into a measure which I think has little merit when (a) better measures exisit, again check out Australia's myschool and (b) there's possibly enough already and perhaps also (c) people with concerns could (if they're not already) spend time at their kid's school. </rant>

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2239 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Agree Paul, if your child is struggling with reading and writing the parent needs to help formulate new strategies towards those tasks. They have much more sway than a teacher.

    Also to be fair to John Hartevelt , I have read more of his articles and can see he is a good journalist. It's just a big move to grab data from a sector who have explained at considerable lengths on the shortcomings of the tabling of it.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Our current govt has better things to do than weigh the pig.

    Ms Bennett said the Government was focusing on addressing poverty rather than measuring it, and so was putting its efforts into other areas.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Sacha,

    Our current govt has better things to do than weigh the pig.

    Let alone putting lipstick on it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Bennett's got all the swagger of a person who know's they're wrong. The Speaker chastises here towards the end of this exchange and frankly saves her from further embarrassment. Later she gives an equally weak answer to the Green's Jan Logie. I know elsewhere in the blogosphere, Labour is coping criticism for Shearer's comments on sickness beneficiaries, which I'll not rehash here, but I do think Ardern's been consistently strong on poverty and Bennett simply doesn't have credible answers.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2239 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    One of the big improvements in schools has been the move to smaller class sizes. The ability to answer individual queries from the class is a massive prerequisite for more productive learning.... yet only recently we saw are very uneducated move to increase class size.

    I don't know when this move to smaller class sizes was.

    I started teaching in an NZ secondary school in 2006 and my classes are the same size now as they were then.

    Roughly 27-28 average when 20-24 would be sensible. Especially given how there is WAY MORE weight on internal assessment now than there used to be, Remember when subjects ould have 20-40 percent internal assessment? Like year 13 Geography was 34% internal and 76% external???? Well now at my school it is currently 67% internal and 33% external so we do all the fucking assessing and marking work and don't get paid an extra cent!!!!.

    I'm all for some monitoring of the achievement of students at primary school because we have SOOOOOOOO many students coming to our school who are 12-13 years of age who have a reading and writing age of 8, 9, 10, who we cannot catch up (because we don't have sufficiant resourcing) so that they can realistically get to Level 1, 2 and then 3 before they leave school.

    It actually fucks them up and fucks everybody else up in their class because we are constantly having to waste our time explaining simple shit that should be obvious, or behaviour management because kids aren't 'getting' it.

    And I'm at a decile 5 school with a range of ability (we literally have decile 1 criminals to decile 10 scholars).

    By god I would hate to be at a decile one school. I've been to some with sports teams and it's a bit scary. Those that work there deserve gold medals but all they typically get is either sympathy or abuse.

    Since Nov 2006 • 879 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Yamis,

    By god I would hate to be at a decile one school.

    My husband teaches at one and no one has yet presented him with a gold medal (which we would of course melt down and sell, because have you seen how much teachers get paid?). On one hand I think their reputations precede them as Schools of Terrifying Doom, when it's actually a lot less scary and a lot more community-oriented when you're in the thick of it. (At least, where he teaches it is.) On the other hand, I have heard a few hair-raising tales from him, and there's a bit of hollow laughter at the thought or sight of kids quietly paying attention in class and handing work in on time. The pastoral stuff he and his fellow teachers have to do is fairly extensive and lack of parental involvement is a real problem. (Poverty, poverty, poverty. It's all poverty's fault.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3663 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Yamis,

    Yes, on the class size issue.

    There needs to be a further push to reduce class size, which makes the treasury ideological policy of an increase look even more bizarre and out of touch.

    When even the PrimeMinister admits it. He saw it as a major condition of better education when reflecting on the attractiveness of his sons private education.
    .

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call, in reply to Yamis,

    Our decile 8 high school HOD Maths told me that only 38% of our year 9s were at the level they should be for maths when they started at our school this year.

    I agree about class sizes. I could never figure out why John Hattie put one-on-one time for teacher/student interactions as being very important but not class size. In my experience class size directly impacts on the amount of one-on-one time I spend with my students. I have direct experience of this - for example this year my smallest class has only 12 students in in and my largest has 30.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Danielle,

    Excellent, Danielle!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2331 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    And on charter schools, I knew this was going to happen.

    Fairfax: School faith plan raises doubts

    When even the PrimeMinister admits it. He saw it as a major condition of better education when reflecting on the attractiveness of his sons private education.

    From my private school experiences, wealth and intellect aren't always proportionally related, and they're inherently Socially Darwinistic. Completely the wrong place to send a borderline autistic to.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    NatRad has been covering the issue of religion in schools, from the secularists' viewpoint as well as the faith-based viewpoint.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to DeepRed,

    Completely the wrong place to send a borderline autistic to

    Many of them will have problems at public schools. They're fast, overcrowded places.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    Therein lies the rub. Public school - get pulled down from below. Private school - get pushed down from above. Bright and gifted students that also happen to be square pegs, such as Aspergians, seem to be in a position of educational statelessness in NZ. Charter schools still won't fix it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to DeepRed,

    The best school thing that ever happened to me – at a state primary school – was when, after minor burglary, including theft of keys, the school headmaster *gave me the keys to the school library.* I was 11.

    I handed them back to Fred Price (bless the man!) when i was 18 & had won my first literary prize.

    You can be a round peg in a square hole – and have the gaps catered for-

    I am not ‘normal’, am on the asperger’s syndrome profile, and have been very berloody lucky- be it so for all others like me-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    John Holley has just tweeted that his school has received an email from ERO saying that schools decile rankings will no longer appear on ERO reviews. I might be wrong, but I don't think the minister has said anything about this. What on earth?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

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