Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Education Thoughts

In 1877, adopting the approach developed in Nelson province our Parliament established a nation-wide system of ‘free, compulsory and secular education’ for children between the ages of 7 and 13. Maori need not attend but they had the right if they wanted to. Introducing the Act, Sir Charles Bowen said, ‘the higher branches of education may be taught upon payment of a fee. … and there is provision for scholarships which enable children of unusual attainments and ability to carry on their education. It is not intended to encourage children whose vocation is honest labour to waste in higher schools time which might be devoted to the learning of a trade.’ Well-intentioned this two-way division fastening different expectations has bedeviled our system ever since.

Just as the industrial revolution changed society and education, so will the information revolution.

This revolution assumes mobility, flexibility, and the capacity to change, to adapt, and to be innovative. It means knowing that the shelf life of much learning is short, that the knowledge base is increasingly complex and that society will increasingly be characterised by continual upheaval and dislocation.

New Zealand’s best educational practice is along the needed lines for the future - group work, projects, ownership of learning, skills across the curriculum, inter-disciplinary studies, greater linkages to enterprise, portable qualifications, holistic learning, and collaborative knowledge creation.

Education is a human system devised to help people, especially young people learn. Schools are the devices that have been developed to assist this process, to facilitate learning. They reflect community values, needs and pressures. American research finds students spend over four hours daily in front of screens, (computer or TV). Peer pressure is stronger than it used to be. Schools are caught in the crossfire of a pluralistic society.

Authority now has to be earned. When I started a teacher had it - could lose it, but they had it as of right. .

I consider the teaching profession is devalued and underpaid Admittedly, teachers are sometimes their own worst enemies, especially secondary teachers who advise their students not to go teaching.

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