Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Hekia's waynebrave

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  • linger,

    * wreaks of > reeks of
    (Language errors are kind of inevitable when writing on education :-/
    Still not quite as embarrassing as Parata’s incompetence, though.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1791 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    These are all good arguments about the advantages of being physically present in a classroom and a school.

    I think there's also another set of arguments around just how bloody hard on-line teaching, and on-line learning is. As a teacher, I know that it takes an enormous amount of work to prepare distance materials, far more so than preparing internal courses.

    And as a former student, I know that the big issues are motivation, and getting immediate feedback. People in a classroom have someone they can ask, straightaway. People learning on-line don't. They have ways of contacting a tutor, but not that immediate individualised response.

    My guess is that there are some kids for whom on-line learning could be great. But for many it would just be another step towards disengaging from education altogether.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    For those who haven’t seen it this week’s John Oliver is particularly appropriate – skip forward to 15:20 ….

    “that’s just crazy, you’re basically giving kids a box containing video games, pornography and long division and claiming 100% of them chose the right one”

    “One major study found that ‘Students in online schools lost an average of about 72 days of learning in reading …. lost 180m days of learning in math during the course of a 180-day school year’ …. and 180 minus 180, as those kids might put it, is ….. 3”

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2575 posts Report Reply

  • Julienz,

    I home educated three children who are now adults. They are well adjusted and accomplished young people who function very well socially. They are good citizens who contribute to society as workers and as volunteers. They coped well at university. Two have very good degrees and the third is well on the way to achieving hers. We used a range of resources including online courses (some of which were tutor moderated group programmes), the Correspondence School, homeschooling support groups, paper resources, volunteer organisations and sport to assist our children in becoming well rounded citizens. We did this for the most part without them attending face to face school. I totally accept that every child is entitled to an education but this does not mean every child needs to attend a school. Children can and do thrive in alternative environments. Minister Parata's proposal is a very welcome additional option in the range of resources which I believe should be available for parents to choose from when making educational decisions with their children. The view that children need to attend school in order to be socialised as functioning citizens is frankly incorrect. I know dozens of home educated children who are now adults who succeed perfectly well socially and in the workforce without having attended a traditional school.

    Since Aug 2016 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Deborah,

    it takes an enormous amount of work to prepare distance materials, far more so than preparing internal courses

    Absolutely – for one thing, you have to parse everything in minute detail for possible miscommunication, as there’s no chance to clear up ambiguities or errors. One of the courses I’m currently teaching has both physical and online students. I try to cover all the material ‘live’ in class before sending it online, so that the online students can also get an account of the in-class discussion. But essentially it means doing everything twice over.

    For students, well… it depends. It depends a lot on whether the student has people or forums available for interactive discussion. Homeschooling can work well for some students, but either the student has to be incredibly motivated to follow up ideas themselves, and/or the parents have to be well-educated and involved.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1791 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Julienz,

    I home educated three children who are now adults.

    It's the word "I" that makes the difference. Yes, kids with committed carers can and do thrive with home schooling, and on-line delivery of home schooling is can surely be part of that. It's far from clear that kids without that committed carer supervising their education will do well with on-line education. And in fact, the evidence with respect to on-line charter schools in the US shows that most of the schools are abject failures.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Isn’t this just another way of outsourcing? ‘Education is a service – let’s put it out for tender.’ Charter schools were a start, but haven’t really done the biz yet.
    It has the additional benefit to Hekia of letting teachers' unions know they are still in the cross-hairs. And it puts the correspondence school on notice that private provision is just around the corner.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2071 posts Report Reply

  • Sam M,

    Proposals like this scare me deeply. Why do they think it acceptable to experiment with young people's lives in such fundamental ways.

    The closing of this post is right. It is another route to privatisation of education which frankly is just wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    Not that I place any value on these, but interestingly, Stuff comments were running nearly 100% against the idea. Trial balloon fail!

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I suspect this is one way to get rid of those pesky kids with behaviour or learning 'issues' which schools do their best to dissuade from attending. If there is a 'cool' then that is an official option to send them to. Tidy solution for the Ministry and Minister.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3138 posts Report Reply

  • Sam M, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I had the exact same thought.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The timing of Parata’s announcement could not have been more poignant. John Oliver’s piece (linked to by Paul above) was damning and should be compulsory viewing for anyone in the education field. Then the very next morning Hekia announces her latest brain fart as if it was April 1st on Planet Key.

    I can see that it fits the Nats' ideology by transfering wealth from the education budget to private (did anyone say American?) providers, and it would allow her to close more schools. At the expense of thousands of children’s education and socialisation. But only poor people’s children, obviously. So that’s O’K.

    Having taught specialist subjects (to adults) online for a few years I can testify that it works really well for some people – those who are already motivated. For the rest it can be a bit of a struggle just to get work completed on time. And some choose to just blob out on Facebook and inevitably fail the course.

    This is not an education policy… it’s a dumb, dumb idea. Seriously unCOOL.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1342 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I was listening to a discussion on RNZ the other day essentially saying that the nats are out of ideas and that Key's been pushing his ministers to come up with new ones .... apparently good ideas are so thin on the ground that this one bubbled to the top.

    and "sCOOLs", who thought of that one? JK must have figured it would make them seem all modern and down with it, the whole thing sounds like a Simsons plot, you can just imagine Principal Skinner announcing "we're going to call the sCOOLs" ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2575 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I suspect this is one way to get rid of those pesky kids with behaviour or learning ‘issues’ which schools do their best to dissuade from attending. If there is a ‘cool’ then that is an official option to send them to. Tidy solution for the Ministry and Minister.

    Ironically, we had the opposite problem – an insistence that the only acceptable path for our younger ASD son was for him to stay in school, even if that required him to be put on antipsychotics. It was basically bullying. That was primary school – the intermediate school was happy to hand him over in the end, but we were stuck with the same terrible GSE caseworker.

    Correspondence School didn't really work for him (he correctly determined that the website sucked and was unwilling to use it) and it was actually only a British-based online learning environment called NotSchool, backed up with an external enrolment from a local high school, that kept us clear of the truancy officer.

    Of course, we would have preferred having the option of an onsite learning environment that met his needs, but there really was nothing appropriate (and I'm still pissed off about that). Our nearby high school was also inflexible about reduced-hours attendance.

    It does make me think that had there been a suitable COOL available to us at the time, we'd certainly have tried it. In the event, he has missed out on socialisation, but that is better than the path he was on, which I'm pretty sure would have led to mental illness and lasting trauma.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    …. apparently good ideas are so thin on the ground that this one bubbled to the top.

    They may have found it in some lost baggage!

    The way I see it is that if mass-implemented it would be the ultimate Public Private Partnership for schools – the parents supply the buildings!
    Then leave the kids to ‘their own devices’!
    - like that works well on average…
    …and what happens to the access of the newly created Ministry for Vulnerable Children, and wraparound services, when the kids are taken out of daily sight of the newly interconnected schools and agencies?

    A system (of sorts) exists for those who needs to use it now, that could be improved, but no need for all and sundry to do it.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7701 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Wouldn't it be great if the Correspondence School had the innovative capacity to do that 'NotSchool' stuff. There are many people out there who could provide input about how to do it well. That would be an educational project we could support.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3138 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    RB said:
    It does make me think that had there been a suitable COOL available to us at the time, we'd certainly have tried it.

    Private hospitals send their difficult cases (i.e. expensive cases) to the public health system. I don't think COOLs will be any different - there is no profit in it.

    Since Oct 2012 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • Julienz,

    Having experienced alternative education I would like to see much more option to mix and match. Part time school, online courses and recognition that socialisation happens through many channels other than school.

    Since Aug 2016 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Deborah,

    It is worth considering the limitations of the model that you’re basing your argument on here. I taught ESL online on and off from 2006-10 and full-time from 2011-14, I’ve written about my experiences with that company on this site previously and the biggest issue was not the concept or technology but the administration of it, which placed a number of unnecessary hurdles between the students and teachers, undervalued the work of teachers etc.

    it takes an enormous amount of work to prepare distance materials, far more so than preparing internal courses

    One of the key advantages of online learning is that distance materials can be prepared by highly qualified groups for use with 1000s of students and reused year in year out as a curriculum dictates. This:

    NZ First has slammed the idea saying it"s “dangerous” and the “final nail in the coffin in devaluing trained and qualified teachers”.

    In our case Immediate feedback was supplied by teachers in the online classroom which was in essence managed in a way not dissimilar to how one maintains a RL classroom, the opportunities and avenues being largely identical as one expects in brick and mortar schools, bar the use of technology to transmit the voice/ images. A truant is a truant whatever the platform.

    Though Rob states:

    And there’s a very good reason for that – in an in-person school, students learn at least as much from other students as they do from the teachers. Both inside the classroom and in the playground, kids at a traditional school learn about meeting new people, friendship, sharing, scheming, new skills, winning, losing, and so much more besides.

    I don’t think this proposal should be taken as a sign that there is any plan to outlaw parks, playgrounds, sports teams, messenger apps or friendships. It’s not that I don’t see a number of issues in what Hekia is proposing but I do believe that these can be easily dismantled point by point. By contrast a knee-jerk opposition to the immense potential of online education based on perceived limitations within current models may indicate that our education system’s purported emphasis on developing creativity and imagination is still inadequate.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2155 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to mark taslov,

    I'd say the negative response is based on the obvious limitations of the current govt as much as what's on offer. Piss-up, brewery, etc.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19481 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And from experience, Eton-esque private schools are hotbeds of applied Social Darwinism where classmates tread on anyone perceived to be weak for the fun of it. My folks thought it was a good idea at the time.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5380 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Deborah,

    It's the word "I" that makes the difference. Yes, kids with committed carers can and do thrive with home schooling

    So we're replacing one teacher per 20-odd pupils with one parent per 2-3 pupils. That sounds like the sort of economic good sense I associate with the National Party and Key in particular. I mean, shave costs all you like by not training or resourcing the "home teacher", it's still hard to get around the raw numbers. The benefit to the government coffers is that the home teacher isn't paid by them, and for the edumacasian depardmen in particular is that even the parents on benefits are not paid out of their budget. Better, the costs are unlikely to become obvious for *years*.

    As with all home schooling, part of the load falls on whoever deals with at-risk children, because very single one needs to be checked regularly to make sure the "carer" is not an abuser who can't afford to let outsiders see their kids.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1101 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Julienz,

    much more option to mix and match

    "More options", here as in healthcare and every other domain, just means more options for the already privileged, coming at the expense of an adequately funded national system. Bugger that.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1791 posts Report Reply

  • Julienz,

    Moz, I believe we are talking about choice not compulsion. Nothing I have seen suggests that the Minister's move to facilitate online education amounts to compulsory home schooling. The proposal seems to me to offer resourcing which is currently not available to homeschoolers or children in school as an option that may be utilised in conjunction with or in substitution for 9 to 3 face to face school.

    Since Aug 2016 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Sacha,

    Absolutely, but considering the Labour connections on this thread, I’d be feeling far more optimistic about our country’s future if political movers and shakers were countering bad ideas with better ones rather than flippantly dismissing online education so broadly. After all, drastic remedial steps will surely be required upon Labour’s inheritance of Parata’s legacy.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2155 posts Report Reply

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