Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Who'd have thought?

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  • sandra,

    erm ..

    note to PM: Data are plural (that's what a good education does for you :) )

    And how great would it have been to headline this one:

    Who'd of thought?

    Just been talking to a group of teachers, several of whom were going to be affected by the technology cuts. Not amused by any of it, from start to finish.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Stephanie,

    And just to add to the excitement, the Dom Post is indeed seeking data from Wellington schools on their national standards results. My sons' school received an OIA request during the last week of term for "all data sent by your school this year to the MOE relating to student performance against National Standards". My DomPost subscription is quivering in its boots, knowing it's about to have its life brought to an abrupt end.

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to sandra,

    note to PM: Data are plural (that’s what a good education does for you :) )

    I think I actually knowingly committed that sin in the post. It can be a hard line to hold, that one …

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18807 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Yamis,

    You can work out ways you might ‘teach’ those things or facilitate them but at the end of the day you’d have to go back and interview every single student a few years after they left and get their opinion about how well you did.

    A few years ago when Western Springs College was losing students to certain other schools -- causing it to consider the known success strategy of imposing a school uniform -- one of the things that turned it around was research showing that its students did far better than many others after they'd left school and had to think for and motivate themselves.

    As you say, you can't test for that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18807 posts Report Reply

  • Stephanie, in reply to Lilith __,

    And I would say it's more than that - I don't simply trust my children's teachers (though just let me be clear - I do trust them). I visit the school, I talk to my children's teachers from time to time, I read the ERO reports, I read the material and newsletters that are sent home, I talk to my kids about what is going on at school (admittedly it is increasing difficult to squeeze information out of my eldest as he heads for his teen years), I am involved. Can everyone do this? I'm not sure, others may have greater time constraints, less confidence, less willingness or ability to front up and be involved. I don't need some crappy meaningless appallingly-badly implemented piece of tripe (with apologies to the teachers at my kids' school who are doing their best with the sow's ear that is national standards) to feel confident my children are doing ok with their reading, riting and rithmetic. And I definitely don't want any reduction in emphasis on the other things in the curriculum that are just as important but are reflected nowhere in the national standards.

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A few years ago when Western Springs College was losing students to certain other schools – causing it to consider the known success strategy of imposing a school uniform

    Ah yes, the conservative educational version of pandering to the lowest common denominator. Sprinkle illiberally with same-sex classrooms and you have the recipe for success.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Stephanie, in reply to Scott Chris,

    And it is really a work in progress – or a trial if you like.

    Most would agree with you here – what bugs many is that the National Standards were half-baked (if one is generous), then implemented all at once across all schools across all New Zealand. If this was an IT project, it would have ‘major fail’ written all over it.

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Stephanie,

    Edited my post to remove my claim that NS do indeed have 'major fail' written all over them. I'm so exercised by this topic that I get all twitchy and shouty with very little provocation...

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephanie,

    Most would agree with you here – what bugs many is that the National Standards were half-baked (if one is generous), then implemented all at once across all schools across all New Zealand. If this was an IT project, it would have ‘major fail’ written all over it.

    There are two comparisons to make here:

    1. NCEA, which was trialled for years before being implemented -- and delayed when necessary.

    2. The secondary school curriculum, which was developed in a really wonderfully open process that included real consultation with parents. I remember being really fucked off with a Joanne Black column where she moaned about it -- and it turned out she hadn't looked past the front page of the dedicated website.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18807 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    A colleague and friend has his daughter in a kindergarten here in Beijing, and if you ask him about it, he's not happy. Lots of "sit down, shut up, listen, obey!", precious little letting the kids explore and discover for themselves. Like me, he's determined to get out of China before his daughter needs a primary school.

    I just like watching my daughter banging away on her xylophone and singing incoherently, stopping periodically to spin around in some kind of 'ritual' dance, or giving her paper and a pencil and letting her scribble, or watching her run around the garden just exploring.

    All of which is a roundabout way of saying I really like your philosophy. I think I might try and find your kindergarten if we get back to NZ early enough.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2050 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster, in reply to Stephanie,

    + 1.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Scott Chris,

    I like the idea because it is compatible with my philosophy of education which is, in a nutshell, setting clear educational aims and expectations and measuring the level of attainment relative to those stated aims and expectations. Makes assessment and evaluation of performance so much easier on a broad scale as well as an individual scale.

    I think you'd like the Chinese education system. It does a great job of stuffing kids with facts they can regurgitate in tests. But it's quite depressing seeing how woefully ill-equipped for life my students are by the time they get to university. Trouble is, people aren't machines. You can't just install the reading, writing and arithmetic apps then test them to make sure they're working properly. But everybody else has explained all the bits of education missing from your philosophy better than I could. So how's about we persuade this government to stop trying to force failed experiments onto our kids?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2050 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Indeed. The last thing NZ needs is the 学習塾 model. Not even a Clayton's version of it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    >Data are plural (that’s what a good education does for you :) )

    I think I actually knowingly committed that sin in the post.

    No sin: in modern English, data is commonly (and IMHO correctly) used as a mass noun. As such, it fits into the pattern of many other words in the same semantic field, e.g. information .

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 885 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene,

    Next item on the agendum...

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to DeepRed,

    What concerns me more than the juku (and in that wikipedia article they don't sound so bad... ) is the government taking a step towards a system where success and failure or almost mathematically defined and measured purely and simply by tests and schools are ranked. It's a sick system that does nothing to produce mature, capable, well-rounded citizens.

    And so many have already pointed out that NZ already has a curriculum, ERO, and consistently good results in things like PISA. Seems to me the system ain't broke, but the government is determined that it will be.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2050 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A few years ago when Western Springs College was losing students to certain other schools -- causing it to consider the known success strategy of imposing a school uniform -- one of the things that turned it around was research showing that its students did far better than many others after they'd left school and had to think for and motivate themselves.
    As you say, you can't test for that.

    Our school careers dept. calls every single student who has left school a few months later and asks them what they're up to in terms of employment, studying or unemployed so we at least track that information but yeah, we can't keep calling thousands of students every few years to make sure they're not in the slammer, living under a bridge or running for mayor somewhere. If they're beating their partner, volunteer at the SPCA, or have 500+ facebook friends.

    As somebody else said upthread at the end of the day you just have to trust yourself as a professional and the public and government need to trust us as professionals that we are largely getting it right.

    The principal at Western Springs is an old family friend of my family's. He's a good man. Stems from his rugby league playing past :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Stephanie,

    I'm so exercised by this topic that I get all twitchy and shouty with very little provocation...

    Do it! Twitch and shout, let it all out.

    I feel the same, I have to stop talking on the subject in company.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8432 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to DeepRed,

    Not even a Clayton's version of it.

    What exactly does everyone have against that campus at Monash?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8432 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Yamis,

    but yeah, we can’t keep calling thousands of students every few years to make sure they’re not in the slammer, living under a bridge or running for mayor somewhere.

    I think the focus was this one was how well they did at university. And -- surprise! -- the kids from the liberal high school with a great pastoral culture and no uniforms (or even a really a discernable dress code) did very well in comparisons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18807 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the kids from the liberal high school with a great pastoral culture and no uniforms (or even a really a discernable dress code) did very well in comparisons.

    Most of the guys and gals who went to Seddon, that I know, have done just fine. I was in zone, but went to Selwyn instead. Not really sure it was worth all those bus trips, but sticking with mates counted for a lot. Still my bffs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8432 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Scott Chris,

    my philosophy of education ... is, in a nutshell, setting clear educational aims and expectations and measuring the level of attainment relative to those stated aims and expectations. Makes assessment and evaluation of performance so much easier on a broad scale as well as an individual scale.

    Not to pile on here, but ... this isn't a "philosophy of education." It's a regime of quantification masquerading as a system of value. It's part of the same long, slow cultural tragedy that sees managerialism eventually destroying the ethos and, well, point of every institution it invades.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    It’s part of the same long, slow cultural tragedy that sees managerialism eventually destroying the ethos and, well, point of every institution it invades.

    Ae, yes indeedy, many +1s

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

  • Lilith __, in reply to sandra,

    note to PM: Data are plural

    I think for any Star Trek fan, there can only be one! Appearances can be deceptive, though!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3438 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    this isn’t a “philosophy of education.” It’s a regime of quantification masquerading as a system of value. It’s part of the same long, slow cultural tragedy that sees managerialism eventually destroying the ethos and, well, point of every institution it invades.

    +1

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3438 posts Report Reply

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