Friday 3rd May 1980
The hubs – a return to collegiality?
The recent publication of the Tomorrows Schools Review hasn’t seemed to have hit the headlines and Allan and Bruce were wondering how schools have reacted to it. The main premise of
the review was to develop greater equity in our school system for children who come from disadvantaged homes. There is no doubt that schools from higher socio economic areas have done well – their BOTs are able to call on all the expertise they need.
Bruce attended a meeting to hear the views of the opposition (Nikki Kaye). Few local educators were present nor adults with school aged children. The main issue was focused on the idea of developing Education Hubs to provide services to schools – it was felt by those opposed as an unnecessary layer of
‘bureaucracy’ that would take away the independence of schools.
The idea of groups of schools under the support of a ‘hub’ relates back to the days before Tomorrows Schools when primary schools were administered by Education Boards. Bruce worked as a school adviser for an education board and was a principal during the change over to the self-managing system we have today. Allan moved to the principal ranks in 2002, having taught and developed his skills in the education board days. As the school
advisors had not been axed in 2002 he made full use of them in developing his principal skills and the school’s learning programme.
Very few current principals or teachers experienced the education board system and possibly can’t see the point of making any changes. Few would not say that the education board concept didn’t need to be ‘modernised’ and that schools needed to be given greater ‘self-management’ but in the change process many good ‘babies were thrown out with the bathwater’.
The one area we both feel has been lost is collaborative nature
|Time for some real learning
of schools working together sharing expertise through having the professional support of school inspectors (reframed today as ERO) and the advisory services.
The inspector’s role was to ensure all school were providing a suitable education (now ERO’s responsibility) and to grade and appoint teachers (now a BOT responsibility).
In later years inspectors also took responsibility for professional development, elected teachers to go on courses and created curriculum groups in areas not covered by the advisory services – notably in language and social studies to share ideas.
They also gave advice for those interested in principal positions – and appointed them in association with the education board. While Allan concedes that there were some useful aspects of school inspectors, he was rather pleased to see them go.
The loss of the localized advisory team, who visited all schools to prove help and, equally importantly, identify and share the work of creative classroom teachers, was the greatest loss. There were advisers in art and craft, science, Maori, music, physical
education, reading, rural schools and junior schools. No doubt areas like ICT could have been added as required. The winding down of the advisory service was arguably the greatest loss of the move to ‘self governing schools.’
It is the provision, in some form, of such advisory service the ‘hubs’ would provide that is most exciting and, we think, would return schools to a collaborative and sharing educational environment. An advisory service would also provide exciting career opportunities for teachers. We both believe that creative
classroom teachers ought to be the source of real innovation. And, we both believe, it will ensure localised curriculum and diversity and not the conformity the critic suggest.
Not all schools might require financial and building assistance etc., but all schools would benefit from supportive advisory services?
The Review, we believe, is not about imposing control over schools as critics suggest, but all about cooperation and creativity – a move away from standardisation and compliance of the past decades.
Sadly Kelvin Smythe died shortly before the report was released, so we will never know what he thought. However he had some main hopes when the review was established: no more National Standards, a return to the ‘holistic curriculum’ of the pre Tomorrow’s School era, the replacement of ERO in its present form, reducing the role of Boards of Trustees, and the re-establishment of the advisory service. Given that, we think he would have given his general approval to the review.
Worth thinking about?
We think so.
Allan Alach and Bruce Hammonds
|See if you can find this inspirational book in your school
Readings – a return to the creative arts
More and more people are writing about the importance of art and creativity as technology take over our lives. Time to make personal discovery and creativity central to our curriculums – through the arts humans creates themselves.
National Poetry Day? Week? Month? Year?
‘Most people will know about Michael Rosen who wrote ‘We are going on a bear hunt’. He provides ideas to introduce poetry to your class. If you’re a teacher reading this, Rosen suggests that you think up as many different ways of ‘serving up’ poems as you can.’
Why an education in visual arts is the key to arming students for the future
‘Visual skills are essential for a sophisticated workforce, yet we offer so little education in the vital skills of learning to see and developing the ability to interpret and critique our image-saturated world.’
10 Points About Arts Education by Elliot Eisner
‘Elliot Eisner was a visionary in the field of arts and education. He maintained that the arts were critical to developing skills in young students.’
Standardisation broke education. Here’s how we can fix our schools
‘We are all born with fathomless capacities, but what we make of them has everything to do with education. One role of education is to help people develop their natural talents and abilities; the other is to help them make their way in the world around them. Too often, education falls short on both counts. We have the resources and the expertise, but now we need the vision and commitment.’
Play-based learning: producing critical, creative and innovative thinkers.
‘Go inside any primary school classroom and look for the ‘play’. Where is it? When did we become so serious with our students and forget to include play? It was only 15 years ago that we could go into any Year 1 classroom and find children playing with play-dough and creating the most
spectacular creatures, painting a masterpiece or gluing together toilet rolls to make a spaceship. They were engaging with each other, negotiating, sorting out arguments and establishing friendships. They were imagining, exploring and inventing. It was through taking risks, discovering new ideas and putting these ideas into action that learning took place. Now it seems such acts of play are a thing of the past.’
Playing to Learn
‘How a pedagogy of play can enliven the classroom, for students of all ages.’
This is what powerful professional development looks like in an Australian School
‘It’s the start of the school year here in Australia, and most schools schedule one or two days of professional learning for all faculty before students return. Princes Hill runs an inquiry-based
program for students 5 to 12 years old. Both days of the retreat were focused on the school’s Principles of Learning, and the implications they had for the school’s programs for the next twelve months. The agenda simply said “2018 Princes Hill Primary School Collective Inquiry: A Community of Learners Developing an Evolving Community of Practice.” Everyone certainly knew what to expect.’
Four Inquiry Qualities at the Heart of Student-Centered Teaching
‘Whether it be project-based learning, design thinking or genius hour, it’s easy to get confused by the many education buzzwords floating about. But at their heart these pedagogies are all student-cantered and there are commonalities across them that are the key to their success and far more critical than keeping the jargon straight.’
Yes, we know what great teaching looks like — but we have an education system that ‘utterly fails to support it.’ What’s wrong and how to fix it.
‘You could be forgiven if you have gotten the impression that we are still trying to figure out exactly what great teaching looks like. In recent years, the teaching profession has been under assault by those who have sought to deprofessionalize it.’
Make your mark: the enduring joy of drawing
‘Drawing is democracy. Everyone does it. You doodle in the margins of this newspaper. I sketch the view while hanging on the phone. We draw on our hands, on walls, on the back of envelopes (like Monet), on office notepaper (like Van Gogh), on restaurant napkins (like Picasso and Warhol). We draw to pass the time, to catch the moment, to remind ourselves what we saw, felt or thought. We draw to see what life looks like in two dimensions. We draw because we can.’
Three of Bruce’s ‘oldies’ about the creative arts
Creative teaching – an alternative to the political press for standardisation
‘The authors write that we need to look to the creative work going on in real classrooms, particularly in the writings of New Zealand’s pioneer creative teachers, rather than importing
failed overseas programmes such as National Standards and Charter Schools. The authors write that ‘we know that students’ learn best when engaged, challenged and inspired. We know that many important skills in numeracy and literacy are learned in various contexts and not in relation to set targets. We also know that integrated and negotiated curriculum provides students with ways to achieve ownership of their learning. Children have an innate curiosity about the world around them, and learning invariably follows when their curiosity is piqued.’
What has really changed on our school the past 50 years?
‘The other day I had the opportunity to visit a school I began my career visiting in 1960. During a discussion with the principal she mentioned the classrooms had been developed into innovative (or flexible) learning environments. I couldn’t help suggest that I bet the daily classroom
programmes/timetables haven’t changed much since I first visited the school 40 plus years ago ( with exception of availability of information technology). If anything the current emphasis on literacy and numeracy had reinforced the timetables of earlier times taking up the morning time with the rest of the Learning Areas squeezed into the afternoon period. Hardly flexible teaching? Hardly progress?’
Why art is important in education? A talk to student and parent
A while ago Bruce was asked to give a talk to teacher, parents and students at a students art opening – it forced him to think about the importance of the creative arts.