Responses to I had a dream
- John Carrodus says:
Live your dream Kelvin, go the whole round, break the nose and go for the knockout! The Hogarths are with you, we need an official Bolshie! Keep on swinging that feather claymore Kelvin Gandalf. The Darth Vaders of education hate your ink, the lifeblood of democracy. Long may your keyboard run hot! This new chapter of education is shaping up nicely. Money, corruption, violence, large multi-politic business, dreams and new beginnings; pity no sex? Oh hang on … that will come later as our youthful Rock Economy slides into geriatric Crock Economy status.
- Kelvin says:
John: I hope the teachers enjoyed your off-beat humour when you were principal as much we do in your retirement.
- Stephen says:
Kelvin, keep up the good fight my friend. We need you and here’s why …
About 15 years ago I visited a new school that been set up down the road by an ultra-orthodox religious group. The students sat at desks and worked through a series of structured work books. This was the curriculum. They worked at their own pace and held a little flag up when they needed help from the teacher. The curriculum, books, support material, and so on, came from the U.S.
Recently after visiting one of the new ‘modern / innovative learning environment’ schools I was immediately struck by the incredible similarity to what I had seen 15 years ago. Lists of exemplars, objectives, outcomes, and so on, hanging on a wall or on a computer and the kids working through them at their own pace ticking them off as they completed tasks demonstrating ‘learning’. Somehow the fact that these prescriptive lists were on a fancy wall or on a chrome book was seen as some wonderful achievement. That student progress through the ‘list of learning’ is publicly displayed and on view to parents and students is nothing more than a manifestation of the appalling American ‘Data Wall’ concept. These new environments are an educational wasteland. The buildings that house them are a cheap answer to new school demand and the teaching within them a response to the building structure, national standards, and an idiotic faith in IT rather than any sound pedagogy. The curriculums are the most highly defined of any I have seen and stifling of any creativity. Really the dealers in this stuff need to be taken behind the bike sheds and have the crap kicked out of them.
- Kelvin says:
Stephen: that is so good it should be put to music, perhaps, given the ending, the soundtrack to Clockwork Orange.
- Jennifer Andrew says:
… and I’ll suggest something for nothing Kelvin. The clusters will huddle over THE national standards assessment framework, sharing recipes for their high spots, giving advice to remedy the low points, writing up cookbooks guaranteed to fill those gaps and fatten the scores.
The curriculum will be the assessment framework.
Keep on writing for so many want to keep on reading you.
- Stephen Daedalus says:
Hi Kelvin, great piece of writing. I have escaped to a refreshing 4 days of PD all based on our great science curriculum. Great ideas, great chats, great sharing, great hands on, amazing science in our NZC and what a way to drive our literacy and numeracy. Not a mention of those NS zzzz; no BS about management, lots about switching kids on to science. I recommend the Sir Paul Callaghan Academy… all free except you if need a reliever… my escape … darn it finishes tomorrow!!!!
- Alice says:
I don’t know how you keep going, Kelvin. As a teacher on the wrong side of sixty, I came away from an NZEI meeting on the joint initiative this week thinking, ‘You teachers deserve everything you get,’ and resigning myself to it not being my problem anymore. I can just zombie it out for the rest of my years and hope I don’t get too fired up again when I see it’s my grandchildren who are suffering.
In spite of being told in no uncertain terms what we needed to vote for, the climate amongst those of us who spoke out suggested that there was going to be a proud revolt at this meeting, but no, the vote went 3:1 in favour of the ‘Community of Learning’ – basically a ‘we’ll just roll over while you go ahead and pee on us’ message to the Minister.
With national standards now being for five years old, I realise that a good number of my colleagues know nothing different, and maybe with the attitude most of them have that they are highly unlikely to stay in the job more than a few years, they just don’t care, but in that room the 30–50 year age group was well represented. But wait! They were same faces I saw at the NZEI meeting that voted to just give national standards a trial and then the ministry will listen to us when they go wrong.
- Kelvin says:
My readers in their comments are inspired. Teachers, in a world that doesn’t love them, have retained the hope that the NZEI still does. But the NZEI betrayed that trust and, even worse, another generation of children, especially from certain groupings. I hope the faces of those children haunt the rest of the teaching lives of those executive members. They have handed them over to bullshit artists, the self-servingly ambitious, and the profoundly ignorant. The government at the beginning of Tomorrow’s Schools set up an unstated but obvious deal with the principals, and would-be principals: forget what you know of another way of teaching, forget that past, and act on what we assert and you will be rewarded and lauded. Pure Orwell. And so we are where we are today, in decline, and set to continue to be so. Give your children to the Toby Curtis’s and Hatties of this world, don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine. You have made adult deals on adult concerns, and betrayed children. Twenty-five years of a failed prescription and you voted for twenty-five more. Oh champion!