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  1. 2017 ACSA Conference – Part 2

    8 October 2017 by shartley

    2017 ACSA Conference

     

    WHAT IF? Embracing complexity through curriculum innovation

     

    Program: https://www.acsaconference.acsa.edu.au/program

    Part 2

     

    “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”, W.B. Yeats

    I ended the previous post with the plea that surely, learning is the point of education (as opposed to the final mark at the end). So let’s dig deeper into what learning entails, putting aside, for now, marks driven education.

    The Purpose of Curriculum

     

    One of the questions raised at the conference was regarding the purpose of education. According to Matthews (2013) Education is fundamentally concerned with the transmission of culture, values, beliefs, knowledge and skills (p.167).

    I object to the use of the word transmission since it implies students are mere sponges. Is our curriculum meant to instil a particular set of culture, values, beliefs, knowledge and skills? And whose culture, values and beliefs are we talking about? Global or Australian? Should education be about the construction of culture, values, beliefs, knowledge and skills? You will often hear me being anti-dichotomies, espousing that education is about balance. Of course there are fundamentals to what young people should know and understand but it is also important that they learn to think for themselves.

    In his Garth Boomer Memorial Lecture at the conference, Bob Lingard argued that globalisation has reduced national control over the economy and in response, governments are grabbing onto cultural sovereignty. He referenced on his slide:

    Appadurai (2006) – two major tropes of neo-liberal globalisation: ‘loss of economic sovereignty’ (human capital framing) and attempted reassertion of cultural sovereignty (Australian Curriculum and citizenship focus)

    This is seen in attitudes towards asylum seekers but also in rhetoric about education and how Australia performs in the global sphere and the citizens our education system is supposed to produce. There is a definite top-down approach to what values should be taught, demonstrated most clearly in the Values for Australian Schooling posters distributed to schools in February 2005. 

    The use of Simpson and his donkey in this poster is particularly contentious for me because there is much more to the story of Simpson than the heroic attributes assigned him in the context of the Anzac Legend construct. National curriculum reflects what is deemed important by those setting it. Perhaps also the global assessments of PISA, and to a lesser extent, TIMSS, is driving our content-heavy curriculum.

    The Role of Teachers

     

    Slide from Dr Phil Roberts’ presentation

    In his workshop, Dr Phil Roberts talked about the ‘State Theory of Learning’ (see slide above). In this state-controlled content driven curriculum, teachers often feel stymied. Many teachers feel disenfranchised from the curriculum and believe they just need to do what they’re told, that they can’t be an integral part of forming curriculum. Some teachers feel so down-driven, time poor, they’re only covering superficial content not looking at the big picture of learning. Phil wondered how much of this has stemmed from an ‘outcomes’ approach to teaching by shifting the concept and focus of curriculum from being a holistic course to end results. He also proposed that it is time to start reclaiming the notion of teacher as curriculum worker, citing Nicole Mockler in her piece from earlier this year, Roll back curriculum constraints and give teachers the freedom to make professional judgements. For further reading, read Phil’s views on curriculum and Gonski in his 2013 article for The Conversation.

    Bob Lingard pointed out that on top of the curriculum, teachers are further downtrodden with teacher standards under the quality teaching framework used to bash teachers for their shortcomings.

    Instead teachers need to be respected for their expertise and given a stronger voice in policy.

    Bob also wondered how much the ever-expanding high-stakes testing regime would become increasingly commercialised through the outsourcing of tests, curriculum, support materials and tutoring agencies. Thus, reducing teacher input to the construction of education even further.

    General Capabilities

     

    I must admit I’ve been a fan of Alan Reid’s approach to curriculum for a few years now. For my major assignment in Curriculum Studies (MEd), Collaborating and connecting: Making capabilities the core of curriculum, this was obvious. Just in case you don’t want to read all 2500 words, here is an excerpt and some direct quotes from the man himself:

    Before the Australian curriculum was written, Professor Alan Reid (2005) wrote a comprehensive report which included compelling arguments for a “capabilities-based approach” (p.6) that “would take the emphasis off the subjects” (p.8). One argument involves that capabilities lie upon a never-ending scale of attainment whereas knowledge is more of a binary concept, either the facts are known or they are not (Reid 2005, p.54). It therefore goes part way to meeting the Melbourne Declaration goal of equity by allowing students to strive to the extent of their capabilities instead of judging them on how successfully they have acquired the prescribed knowledge. (Hartley 2013)

    A central purpose of curriculum should be the development of capabilities for living in a democratic society… (Reid 2005, p.38)

    …if the purpose of education is to promote human development through experience, then the starting point for curriculum work should be the identification of the capabilities that people need, individually and collectively, to live productive and enriching lives in the 21st century. (Reid 2005, p.53)

    An official curriculum should reflect the kind of society we are and want to become, and should seek to develop the sorts of capabilities that young people need to become active participants in our political, economic, social and cultural life. (Reid 2010, p.31)

    Earlier this year at an ACEL event, the NSW Minister of Education, Rob Stokes, said the purpose of education, based on Greek philosophy, was to prepare children to make a living and make a life. He acknowledged the social aspect of this as being almost impossible to measure. Is this difficulty in measurement behind the tick-box approach of the implementation of the general capabilities in many of our schools?

    If schools are not being judged on the general capabilities of their students there is a lack of impetus to dedicate precious time to doing it properly. Instead, programs come under Learning Areas first, with the General Capabilities tenuously linked with existing material or superficially slotted-in where there are gaps.

    The Real World

     

    This cartoon was part of Bob Lingard’s slideshow.

    The real needs of learners for the jobs and the global society of today and into the future was beautifully presented by Jan Owen, CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians. She described education as an ecosystem with complex, disparate, yet symbiotic elements. The research FYA has conducted illustrates a gig economy world that has disrupted the workplace. Our students are expected to have 17 jobs in a non-linear jungle of career progression. The jobs of the future are broken into seven clusters where the skills in one job are for the most part easily transferable to other jobs within the cluster.

    The student panel conducted after Jan’s talk expressed excitement over the proposition that they can create their future, not merely accept it. The panel, however, also showed that to a great extent the students are a product of their school. The student from a prestigious private school preferred the linear progression of textbook learning and the straight-forwardness of exams. He also argued social justice education should be left to primary school so academics could be more thoroughly covered in high school. The other two liked being engaged in meaningful learning, including social justice, throughout their school life.

    The wonderful Omar Musa performed several of his powerful poems about identity and place in Australia. He spoke of an Australia often unacknowledged by those in power. All aspects of Australian society should not only be acknowledged but be an integral part of our curriculum. In response to questions from the audience, he argued for relevance in education, that there is a need to attract students to the beauty and power of words through hip-hop music and the like. Of course, as someone in the audience pointed out, there are risks involved with teachers treading in unfamiliar territory, such as misogynist lyrics. Let’s leave that quandary there. Omar also presented a good case for teachers to focus on the talents of individuals, to recognise sparks in students and ignite them, like a teacher encouraged him to develop his use of words by expanding his range of reading matter. He also warned against teachers killing off free-thinking in their students, for example, a teacher berated him for reading Trainspotting and damned his parents. for allowing him to do so. I am grateful this teacher failed to curb Omar’s enthusiasm for words. For more Omar Musa, see his website and Ted Talk.

    Our world is so much more complex than our curriculum makes it appear. We therefore need to address contentious issues in schools. As Prime Minister, Julia Gillard wanted to focus on human rights within our schools, so in response UTS (Burridge et al, 2013) investigated “the place of human rights education in the school curriculum in each state and territory and the extent of the opportunities for teaching and learning about human rights across the school years” (p.5) in a report called Human Rights Education in the School Curriculum. This report was co-authored by Nina Burridge, who was asking at the conference, how far teachers can go as activists within schools. Teachers generally feel they are meant to be politically neutral in class, but when human rights, social justice and viewpoints of history are involved (for example), it is basically impossible to be neutral. I believe teachers have a responsibility to address a variety of global and local issues. However, parents and politicians complain about teachers indoctrinating students, forgetting young people have minds of their own and their right to make their own (informed) decisions. It seems there is a fine line between this responsibility and being considered irresponsible radical activists. Yet again, teachers’ professionalism is called into question.


    The next post, the last in the trilogy, will:

    1. Address how schools and teachers can reclaim some aspects of the curriculum, partly through changing their pedagogical practices
    2. Cover the TeachMeet held during the conference
    3. Present other parts of the conference that haven’t neatly fitted into what I’ve written elsewhere

    References

    Matthews, J. (2013). The educational imagination and the sociology of education in Australia. Australian Educational Researcher, 40, 155-171.

    Reid, A. (2005). Rethinking National Curriculum Collaboration: Towards an Australian Curriculum, Department of Education, Science and Training, Canberra.

    Reid, A. (2010). Working towards a ‘world-class’ curriculum. Professional Educator, 9(2), 30-33. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/

     


  2. TeachMeet: Solve For x

    20 October 2016 by shartley

    Phillip taking a selfie before presenting. I'm the one waving up the back.

    Phillip taking a selfie before presenting.
    I’m the one waving up the back.

    * This blog post is also found at http://squibsandsagas.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/teachmeet-solve-for-x.html

    I have been to several TeachMeets.  This particular TeachMeet was held at Google headquarters in Sydney which was one of the main attractions for me.  I missed out on one two years earlier and as I searched for the Twitter hashtag for this evening I found an exchange that occurred about the use of #TMGoogle – the issue being that TeachMeets are supposed to be teacher ran and teachers as presenters, no sponsorship.  However, to host a TeachMeet in a cool location such as Google HQ there is a trade-off.  Tonight I felt the trade to be rather unequal.  The hashtag was not #TMGoogle but perhaps it should have been. It seemed every second speaker represented Google and was promoting something, useful somethings, but advertisements nevertheless. An extra grating factor was that teacher presenters were held to their time limits, albeit poorly, speakers not being deterred by soft Star Wars toys being thrown at them when their time had expired, yet Google presenters had limitless time.  And trust me, the teachers were much more interesting than the Google employees.

    The stated theme of this TeachMeet was ‘Solve for x’, thereby promoting problem solving in education, that students solve whatever issue ‘x’ represented for teachers and/or students. The evening was officially launched by Kimberley Sutton through a YouTube video to explain the concept: Moonshot Thinking: Solve for x @ Tribeca Film Festival. Our first teacher presenter linked a goal to this theme nicely.

    I have known Phillip Cooke through TeachMeets and Twitter for many years.  He is a passionate secondary school educator and declared this evening that his moonshot concept is teaching for life instead of for exams, a policy I am also passionate about.  I have enjoyed seeing Phillip present on this theme in many variations before. He is always interesting because not only does he and his colleagues come up with the ideas but they actually implement them, although I’m sure he wish he could implement more.  Phillip was intricately involved in the complete rebuild of his school, a school often seen in the industry as an alternative option for the misfits in our education system and thus had a poor reputation for a long time for drugs and disruptive behaviour. However, its hands-on practical approach to education is becoming more dominant in industry discourse and it has featured on a TV show for doing things a little differently.

    Phillip’s attitude towards authentic learning is borne out by some of the initiatives he has shared:

    • Establishing an annual Creative Careers Day where the future implications of their learning come to life through the people operating in creative enterprises
    • Implementing cross-curricular activities, such as Design and Technology with English and Drama to create wearable art costumes for a production of Othello, “Students didn’t just read Othello – they lived it
    • Printing art designs of students on tea towels and selling them, simple but effective (also make great thank you presents at Teach Meets)

    If I was to give my own moonshot for teaching and learning is that I desperately want students to be thinking for themselves. As a senior school teacher, I hate how much teaching is about preparing for HSC exams, such as artificial artifice that it diminishes authentic learning.  This is why I always like what Phillip has to say.

    Dominic Hearne set the tone of his talk by quoting Gary Stager, “Schools have a sacred obligation to introduce children to things they don’t yet know they love”. In line with this philosophy, Dominic’s school has introduced a series of compulsory critical thinking courses, which I absolutely applaud. These include:

    • Future Problem Solving
    • Visions of Leadership
    • The Art of War / The Ethics of Peace
    • Epistemology (how do we think, why do we think, what influences our thinking and perception)

    My daughter is currently studying International Relations and Human Rights at university. She would have loved the opportunity to examine some of these topics at school.  Her response being:

    screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-03-05-pm

    One of the students undertaking this course used several sources to investigate the Jewish holocaust and, as might be expected, referred to movie representations of the holocaust such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. He also had access to his grandmother’s letters and other documents depicting her time as a Jew interned by Hitler.  The result was not just a well researched product but the rest of the class had a new insight into the atrocities.

    Nick Brierley hooked me by not only emphasising the thinking skill of problem solving but linking to the TV show Stranger Things, where the children in the show are constantly having to solve problems, not always successfully. He advocated the use of BreakoutEDU, a resource for creating engaging problem-solving games in classrooms. This is definitely a tool I will investigate further.

    Technology definitely has a role to play in developing students’ critical thinking skills. A primary school teacher, Alfina Jackson commenced with the statement that she hasn’t heard students say they need PD before they can use technology, so if they can do it, teachers can do it too.  Glib, but mostly true. I have come across many teachers who are so ingrained in teaching the same way, with the same worksheets, year after year, that they truly struggle with making more than the occasional change to their regular modus of operation.

    Alfina has her own YouTube Channel, mainly consisting of videos made by K-2 students.  These videos demonstrate learning in an authentic and meaningful way for our modern age.  Without many of us realising it, children are learning all the time through YouTube.  Actually many adults too.  I recently used YouTube to learn how to cast-off my knitting.  Alfina is therefore not only teaching students a particular topic, she is teaching digital responsibility.  Creating public videos also motivates students through the hands-on activity and real audience feedback.  All of this requires several higher-order thinking processes.

    Another initiative Alfino implemented was Year 1 completing book reviews on Google Slides. For the content, the teacher taught students to use three simple sentence word-starters:

    • I liked the part…
    • I disliked the part…
    • I would change…

    However, after a quick introduction to using Google Slides, the students worked out for themselves and taught each other the various creative features of using the slides.  After the first drafts were completed the teacher provided feedback through the comment feature which prompted students to comment on each other’s reviews, leading to a discussion of how to write positively, particularly in a public domain.

    On the other hand, I don’t believe technology should be used for simply its own sake.  Alfino showed how students learning to write could trace the letter on an iPad.  I’m not sure how this particularly improves on the pen and paper version except simply for the hook that it is on an iPad.

    The highlight of the evening was the dynamic Kathleen O’Rourke. Kathleen is learning to become a Primary School teacher at Macquarie University after a decade or so in the workforce. She is passionate about many things and her LinkedIn profile reveals she is not only an advocate for education and the marginalised but she walks the talk.  At first I thought she was also going to emphasise technology due to her tagline, “Is it OK to ask students to do something that we are not comfortable to do ourselves?” Instead, Kathleen answered that question with, “If we don’t pursue our x’s how can we expect our students to?”

    As part of being a pre-service teacher, Kathleen decided there wasn’t enough professional development on offer, beyond the regular uni courses and practicum experience so out together some events and now the concept has exploded.  As a full-time carer for her grandmother, Kathleen found it difficult to access working disabled toilets, particularly in medical institutions.  Consequently, she has an aim to develop an app that lists and user-rates them. I spoke to Kathleen at the end of the evening and found just how determined she is to put theory into action. Earlier that day she had been at a school presenting to teachers and discussing with them a university assignment. This was not part of the set work.  She has also tutored primary-aged students who are newly settled refugees on a volunteer basis.

    I was not the only one who thought Kathleen was amazing. This was the reaction on Twitter:

    screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-6-25-15-pm screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-6-25-30-pm screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-6-25-47-pm screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-6-28-48-pm

    All in all it was worthwhile attending this TeachMeet.  I learned about some new Google products and enjoyed hearing how other teachers are implementing problem solving and other critical thinking activities.  However, I’d prefer it if future TeachMeets adhered to the no sponsorship ideal, even (especially?) if it means returning to the pubs and clubs where they began.


  3. Globalisation and Education

    17 October 2013 by shartley

    SkypeWithPalestine

    Photo by author: Skype to Palestine (ex-student converted from Christianity to Islam)

     

    Globalisation has had a profound effect on education.  The breaking down of political, trading and geographical barriers, strongly influenced by the development of the Internet and advanced communication techniques, is altering education from being inward looking to being more world focused.  Instead of peering into textbooks, students are beginning to connect with the wider world through technological processes.

    Curriculum is being prescribed for a globalised world but it is politically motivated with too much attention placed on the economy and the students’ future role as a labour resource.  The influence of a capitalist economy is also apparent in the political promotion of “choice, competition and performance” in Australian schools, evident in the enforcement of transparency of test results and in the development of national curriculum (Buchanan 2011, p.68).

    An example of economic language involved with curriculum is in the discussion of the environment and in particular climate change.  The word ‘sustainable’ is used often but in relation to a sustainable economy instead of having the emphasis on sustaining people’s interaction with the environment.  For instance, in the draft ACARA Geography Curriculum (2013) the word ‘economy’, or its derivative, appears 66 times.  Lambert (2013) argues for Geography to play a greater role in British curriculum, by linking “economic, environmental and educational crises of our times” (p.85) to present a case for a curriculum of survival as opposed to sustainability. Emotive and economic language is all too common in current literature about curriculum (Ditchburn 2012).

    The economy, globally and locally, is important but it should not be the dominant force influencing curriculum.  There needs to be more emphasis on students being actively involved in all aspects of community, globally and locally, not just the economic component.

    The more I examine curriculum the more I am convinced that we should be moving to capabilities as a focus in curriculum (ACARA 2011, Reid 2005). Lambert (2013) is arguing the opposite. He views the shift to ‘competences’ and the integration of subjects causing the “contemporary erosion of trust in specialist knowledge, and increased emphasis on students’ experience” and changing “the emphasis of the curriculum from content to skills and to favour more open ‘facilitative’ pedagogies” (p.89). He then concludes that this shift “almost signals that schools should give up on knowledge” (p.90).  Personally, I’m tired of extreme rhetoric.  What we need in curriculum and pedagogies is greater balance.  There is a place for specialist knowledge, a place for experience in active learning and a place for skills as well as knowledge in modern curriculum.

    As technology comes to the fore through globalisation, teachers are as important as ever due to the skill required to balance the numerous influences on education with each unique student that comes before them.  I believe in having a structured curriculum and thus resist the term ‘student-directed learning’ which makes me think of ‘free schools’ where students themselves organise learning activities or self-select from the activities provided (Galley 2004).  I am an advocate for technology and student-centred learning but there needs to be a balance.  I would like to see teachers who generally want to remain traditional, expository in nature, to learn to yield some of the control, place some of the learning process into the hands of students and connect to a community beyond the walls of the classroom.  Again, I call for balance and sensibility.

    Just as there are an immense variety of students in our education system and a wide range of resources available, each and every school, class and teacher need to adapt accordingly.  My dream is of schools, rich and poor, around the world, connecting, allowing all of us to think critically and gain deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. We need to think what is best for our students and community, not necessarily our economy.

     

     

    Reference List

    ACARA (2011). General capabilities. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/general_capabilities.html

    ACARA. (2013). Draft F-12 Australian Curriculum – Geography. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum_1/learning_areas/humanities_and_social_sciences/geography.html

    Buchanan, R. (2011). Paradox, Promise and Public Pedagogy: Implications of the Federal Government’s Digital Education Revolution. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(2), 67-77. DOI: 10.14221/ajte2011v36n2.6

    Ditchburn, G. (2012). The Australian Curriculum: finding the hidden narrative?, Critical Studies in Education, 53(3), 347-360. DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2012.703137

    Galley, M. (2004). Free Rein. Education Week, 23(36), 27-31. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/ehost/

    Lambert, D. (2013). Geography in school and a curriculum of survival. Theory and Research in Education, 11(1), 85-98. DOI: 10.1177/1477878512468385

    Reid, A. (2005). Rethinking National Curriculum Collaboration: Towards an Australian Curriculum. Department of Education, Science and Training, Canberra. Retrieved from EDCN812, Macquarie University iLearn, http://ilearn.mq.edu.au/course/view.php?id=13878

     


  4. Managing change effectively

    3 September 2011 by shartley

    In Business Studies students learn about Managing change effectively.  They look at how a business must:

    1. Identify the need for change
    2. Set achievable goals
    3. Deal with resistance to change

    The business may also engage management consultants to help it through this process.

    To meet these outcomes I asked students to write a business report about a change they would like to see in their school.  My favourite (reproduced without corrections) is advocating student involvement in the hiring of teachers:

    Introduction

    This report will discuss the processes that are required for a positive change at Northern Beaches Christian School. The positive change that is considered is the idea of having student input in the process of hiring staff. This report will identify the need for the change, set achievable goals, and discuss dealing with resistance to change. It will also list all the consultants that would be needed to implement the change and address how stakeholders of the school would be affected by the change. The report will conclude with a recommendation on how the change could be implemented and the benefit to the school.

    This report is being written because a recent study has concluded with the results that students work harder, more efficiently and have the will and  right attitude to work because of the teacher that is teaching them and the way they teach. Therefore, from large amount of student support it is necessary that this change is implemented one way or another, because ultimately it is the students being taught and therefore why not hire a teacher that they approve of?

    Identifying the need for change

    An effective principal would always be scanning the environment, attempting to understand factors that will have an impact on their school. In this way, they may better identify current trends and predict future changes. Achieving such a vision requires a holistic view of the school community and awareness of the potential impact on the business from a variety of factors. Correctly anticipating these factors greatly assists the principal in identifying the need for change. To better understand the changes that need to occur, the principal needs access to accurate and up-to-date information. This would include the recent study completed, which investigated the impact a teacher had on the work completed by their students, and included how the students worked as well. From this it seen that that the way students work is largely impacted by their teachers, which includes their drive, ambition, will and efficiency. For example, an enthusiastic, innovative teacher that explain concepts in a way that everyone understand would definitely have a positive impact on students work ethic than a teacher that reads out from the text book and orders students to answer questions from the textbook. Therefore, for the benefit of the school, it would be better for students to have an input because it is them that are learning and they should have an input on who teaches them.

    Set achievable goals

    Usually goals are directed towards the employees of a business, however in this case, as the change is directed towards future employees and the senior executives and the principal of the school, it is they that the goals will be directed towards. A vision statement for the proposed change must also be created as it states the purpose of the change, indicates how the future employees should act and states the key goals.

    Vision Statement:

    To have student input in the hiring of staff, as they are the people who are being taught and therefore must be able to choose preferences for the best learning experience possible. All future employees must be focused, enthusiastic, innovative and have exceptional communication skills.

    Key goals include:

    • Having students participate in the interview with the future employee and principal.
    • Having future employee being assessed by students and senior executive in a practice lesson.
    • Having a questionnaire created by students that is to be completed by the future employee and having questions such as what drives and motivates them, why are they enthusiastic about teaching, why approach this particular school, what teaching style do they think they possess.
    • After all of the above has occurred, students should sit with the principal and senior executives, for the final discussion of their position.

    Measureable goals include:

    • Having different but same number of students at each interview, practise lesson, final discussion, etc.
    • Creating a system on how and which students would be chosen to participate in this important selection.
    • Having an assessment created for the practise lesson, to which the LAM would be marking them off.

    Deal with resistance to change

    With any amount of change, there would always be some resistance from teachers, senior executives and even the principal themself. The common reasons to why they would resist change include:

    • Disruption of routine. They may resist change because they are worried that they cannot adapt to the new procedures that threaten established work routines.
    • Time. In some circumstances, not enough time is allowed for people to think about the change, accept it and then implement it. In other situations, the timing is poor.
    • Inertia. Some managers and employees resist change because it requires moving outside and away from their ‘comfort zones’. In this case, it would include having student input in a normally senior executives and principal area, and the future employee would think that students would take advantage of their position and negatively use it.

    Resistance to change can be dealt with having strategies put in place. The first step in reducing resistance to change is to ensure that the senior executives and principal understand to main reasons why change is resisted. Once these factors have been identified, each senior executive can put in place strategies to reduce the resistance. Two of the most effective are creating a culture of change and positive leadership.

    Culture of change: A strategy includes having the school identify individuals who could act as supportive change agents, which are people who act as catalysts, assuming responsibility for managing the change process. This could also not be possible without the strong communications of the leaders and the encouragement of teamwork.

    Positive leadership: A principal who acts as a leader and has high expectations of employee’s abilities to initiate and implement a change process would generally be rewarded with people who are willing to embrace change. There may still be some points of resistance, but this resistance can be productively dealt with because the employees believe that they have the support and trust of their principal.

    The consultants that would be needed to implement the change

    To implement the change, the consultants that would be needed are:

    • Education consultants-who help people that want to find a career in teaching. They would be used to inform those who want to teach at Northern Beaches Christian School about how they would apply at the school and the processes they would need to undertake before being hired.
    • Management consultants, which are people who have specialised skills within an area of business. They can provide further strategies to smoothly manage the introduction of business changes by:
      • Undertaking change readiness reviews
      • Creating a supportive business culture
      • Actively involving all stakeholders in the changing process
      • Gaining and recognising early achievements.

    How stakeholders of the school would be affected by the change

    Students: They would be positively affected, as their valuable input in teacher hiring would be recognised, and they would feel as if they making the school better for everyone.

    Teachers: Depending on the person, they would be either negatively or positively affected because those that were teaching before the change was implemented, would believe that the students do not like them and positively because of the benefit to the school.

    Principal: They would be positively affected because it is new innovation that the school could embrace, especially giving the students an active role in the development of the school.

    Senior executives: With the support from the principal they would be positively affected by the change because they have student opinion on a very important decision.

    Parents: They would be positively affected because they would know that their children would be more engaged, focused and enthusiastic about learning because they have a teacher that they like and work better with.

    Community: The school community would be positively affected because of the development of the school and would be supportive about students having more responsibility by having an input about teacher hiring.

    People considering to be hired: The change would bring more pressure upon themselves, however a great teacher would learn how to use the pressure and turn it into an advantage for themselves.

    Conclusion

    It can be concluded that implementing the change of having student input in the hiring process of teacher is beneficial to the school. It is recommended that this change occur gradually with a systematic approach, to be created by the principal and management consultants, with education consultants being informed about the change, so they could inform those wanting to be hired about the processes to being hired. This change will be beneficial to the school because it gives students a place where their input is valued and used for very important decisions. As the principal wants to be innovative, this change is one more step towards it and the future development of the school.


  5. Hot desking

    15 November 2010 by shartley

    Newsroom panorama

    Newsroom Panorama by Victoria Peckham

    • What if some staff became semi-itinerant in terms of the staff room location?
    • What if each staff room had a table space for collaboration – as well as a couple of comfortable chairs and perhaps less desks and/or privately managed work materials (aka clutter)?
    • What if ‘mobile’ staff could choose which staff room they wanted to work in from day to day?
    • What if some staff would like to trial using the Hub (even with its open access and senior students) as their home base for work and meeting with students or staff (if a GLM or LAM)?
    • How might we provide secure space for them in the Hub? – possibly a locker or a mobile mini-caboose?
    • Are you a ‘change’ junkie? Does any of this strike a chord with you? Are you interested in putting your hand up to try something different?

    My Principal emailed around the above questions and I knew I had to respond.   If I don’t respond how can I ever argue about any changes that are inflicted upon me.  This was my chance to influence the working situation I would like to be in.

    Currently I am not completely happy with my staffroom.  There is one phone shared amongst 7-8 staff.  As an online teacher I am often at my desk answering on everyone else’s behalf.  That said, I am also often responding to knocks on the door from students, looking for items teachers have forgotten to take to class or to see one of the other teachers in the room.  Music students are particularly frequent visitors sincethey need to book rehearsal times, fetch instruments out of storage and just generally more needing of support.

    One of my really good friends is approaching retirement and at times she can be a little negative.  She is a great teacher but is not very flexible with changing attitudes towards education, particularly regarding technology and student-centred learning.  As much as I love her it is becoming harder sharing such close space with her.

    So, to escape this situation the Principal’s offer looks appealing.

    I actually like the idea of the Hub in many ways.  There would be more interruptions but they will be more for me instead of someone else.  I worry about the security of students’ work, since it is a place senior students use.  As I mark papers I would need to secure them every time I left my desk for even short periods of time.  I like communicating and collaborating with teachers across the whole school, being in the centre of activity. But not all the time.  I can see working in the Hub being appropriate some of the time.

    There will be occasions where I will need to work with staff in my faculty on activities such as programming and assessment writing.  A meeting room where we can spread out and not be interrupted would be ideal in these situations.  As a head of faculty I would also need somewhere private to talk one-on-one with a member of staff or students.

    However, to be very productive in my individual work, I like quiet.  Recently I shared a quiet office for a couple of weeks with just two other occupants.  One, a non-teaching member of staff, is quite a reserved person, although he received many phone calls (each desk had its own phone) and the other was away teaching most of the time.  I achieved a great deal of work during this time due to the lack of interruptions and the room being what we dubbed ‘a cone of silence’.

    I’m not one for personal photographs or artefacts at my desk but I like my own stash of stationery and resources to call upon.  If I had a large locker for these items plus my files and folders it would be an adequate solution.  I would love to have a business/economics/culture area within the school where all the associated resources were stored with some comfy chairs and a round table to spread out alone on or to hold meetings around.  Every time I went to teach a class I wouldn’t want to lug around my lap-top with me.  It would need somewhere safe and secure, away from where students could read my email or tamper with files, although a locking mechanism could work.  Many students could hack through it though.  I am not yet willing to trade a lap-top in to totally rely on an iPad or some other Personal Digital Device.

    I like to change where I work.  At home I have a desk but more often I am in front of the TV on the couch or in bed.  Once a week I stay at my in-laws and adapt to being in a different location, packing for me and my children each week.  I am a very busy person and take my iPad to conferences and my lap-top when I stay at houses of family and friends (just about everyone has wireless access).  When I have a looming due date for a writing gig I stay at a hotel for a weekend to have peace and quiet and room service, alone, away from all the domestic demands of my own house.

    Overall I like the concept of not having a permanent desk but it would have to be managed carefully and securely.  I would need a large locker space or an area of storage that was easy and attractive to access.  I started a pro and con list but the list was coming out with many more cons than pros, the most prominent ones being noise, lack of storage and lack of privacy.  The pros being a more collaborative atmosphere, more flexibility and you know what, sometimes change is good.  I did a bit of Google, Twitter (thanks @SimonBorgert and @BAFDiploma) and academic database research and found we should also be concerned with hygiene, RSI and other ergonomic factors and practicalities such as how one is to be located when there is a phone call or how to print.

    Yet my deepest concern is the divide it could cause amongst staff. Already there is a bit of divide between those teachers who embrace technology and are flexible within their classrooms and those who are more traditional in their approach.  I am concerned that it is perceived as an ‘either you are with us or against us’ attitude from the top.  I am willing to try it but am scared that once a few of us say we are willing to try it leads to a headlong rush into doing it for real, for everyone whether they like it or not, no turning back.  Sometimes at our school trials are really an easing-in of a new idea, not trials at all.

    I wouldn’t have described myself as someone who embraces change.  But yes, I will respond to the Principal’s email, putting up my hand to say I am willing to try something different.  But I will also send him the link to this blog.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/office-warfare-20090429-anfm.html
    http://www.computerchairs.com.au/computer-chairs-articles/2000/8/30/musical-chairs-for-adults/
    http://www.squidoo.com/hotdesking
    http://www.darktea.co.uk/blog/13-tips-to-successful-hot-desking
    http://www.bnet.com/blog/teamwork/is-hot-desking-a-cool-idea-or-a-catastrophe/224
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/4493463/Mind-how-you-move-that-chair-its-hot-Hot-desking-is-a-growing-trend-bringing-a-new-culture-writes-Violet-Johnstone.html


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