School improvement – what matters most?

On Friday 10 May, Education Ministers from across Australia endorsed the Initial Teacher Education: Data Report, complied by AITSL.  

You can read a summary from the AITSL website – Initial Teacher Education – or the full report here  Initial Teacher Education: Data Report

Trying to reconcile this with the views of Pasi Salberg What if Finland’s great teachers taught in U.S. schools?

I enjoy a healthy debate and it is good to weigh up the different viewpoints surrounding school improvement.

This post and the previous one from Dr Jackie Gerstein encapsulate many parts of it – student family context, initial and ongoing teacher education, teacher effectiveness, school leadership and school climate.

What other things do you think are important to consider in terms of school improvement?

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The Other 21st Century Skills

What a post! So much information here to digest.

User Generated Education

skills

Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination   http://www.tonywagner.com/7-survival-skills

Today I viewed a slideshow created by Gallup entitled, The Economics of Human Development: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

Here are some slides from this presentation.

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This presentation sparked my thinking about what other skills and attributes would serve the learners (of all ages) in this era of learning.  Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Perseverance
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global…

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New Bill of Rights for Students

The New Bill of Rights for All Students

Excerpts from Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education

Gallup has a silver bullet for solving many of the world’s problems. Here it is: Every student in the world, from pre-K to higher ed, needs:

  • Someone who cares about their development 
  • To do what they like to do each day
  • To do what they are best at every day

That’s it. It should be the new bill of rights for all students — and frankly, all people — worldwide.

This insight is rooted in Gallup’s most important findings — everyone in the world wants a good job, and no one ever became successful by trying to improve their weaknesses. They became great by playing to their strengths and leveraging their innate talents. These two findings have absolutely everything in common with the new bill of rights.

and

 Imagine what the world would look like if we found a way to maximize human potential by everyone doing what they are best at every day. The impact is unfathomable.  

Gallup estimates that — at most — 30% of the United State’s workforce is actively engaged in their work. We also know the outlook is pretty miserable in schools; in elementary school, engagement peaks at 76%, but then decreases each year students are in school — down to 61% in middle school and then 44% in high school. If schools focused on students’ strengths rather than their weaknesses, students would be more engaged throughout their entire education.  

The excerpts above gives a real focus to the purpose of positive education and the reasons why we should pursue it at the system level. The three rights may sound like motherhood statements, but it challenges me to stop and think for a moment before every lesson I teach – Do they know that I and others at school care about them? Will they do something they like in this lesson? Will they feel the success of doing something they are good at?  If 44% is reflected in Australian statistics then we each have a part to play in lifting engagement in schools and positive education practices are a great place to start.

Twitter for educators

I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter.  Since it’s inception, I think I have ‘tried’ it half a dozen times but never really stuck with it.  Increasingly, I have found that conferences for educators are running Twitter feeds live as the presentation proceeds.  At first I found this quite odd.  I mean – aren’t you supposed to be paying attention to the speaker? Taking notes?  But as I have become more used to it, I have reopened my account @katecutts and joined in.  What drew me in was the sharing between the silent. Being at one with a group of other people. Being in the moment with them and learning from their observations.  It’s like a multiplier of my learning.

Then today I read this blogpost from George Couros: What should a networked educational leader tweet about? It gives a great snapshot of the kinds of learning and professional networking that comes from tweeting.

Love to hear your thoughts on Twitter.

 

Breakfast Club 2.0

After spending the day at CEGSA Masterclass with George Couros and 4 of my colleagues, it’s time to dive into the water and write my first blog post.  You see, the posts below are just practices, little reminders for me of the way you add and change things in the blog.  And now they remind me of my new Breakfast Club 2.0.

The original Breakfast Club movie in 1985 involved locking students in detention on a Saturday so they could understand what teachers want from them.  In my Breakfast Club 2.0, a large group of teachers voluntarily locked themselves in on a Saturday so they could understand what students want from them.  Oh how times have changed!

So today I have subscribed to as many of their blogs as I can and followed them on Twitter.  Connected myself. Put myself out there.  And now I’m doing what George suggested – Publish then Filter.  Don’t get hung up on the content. Just get in the game.

What I want from my Breakfast Club 2.0 is to learn.  To connect with people who really care about what’s happening in our classrooms and schools.  I’ve always thought that I have learnt one new thing from every conference I’ve been to, even if it’s never to go to a conference like that again!  But the beauty of what CEGSA is trying to do is bring 2.0 to a really diverse cross section of teachers.  You don’t need to be a ICT teacher or leader to tap into what they have on offer.  I’m sure that the things I have learnt yesterday will enable me to connect better and wider in my teaching interest areas – psychology, positive education and educational leadership to name a few.

So, call me crazy, but I’m hoping that by putting myself in detention on a Saturday, I will have opened up my world.

Welcome in.