Thoughts on Recommendations

Yesterday, in my This Week in Ontario Edublogs post, Bill Ferguson shared a post about “What The Best Educational Systems Do Right”, shared his thoughts, and then extracted the recommendations. I found it a very interesting read and go me thinking about it. Subsequent to that post, he wrote another sharing his thoughts about the recommendations.
I’d like to take some time to share my own thoughts on them here.
  • Within 5 years every teacher graduating from teacher’s college should have a masters degree.

This would be based on the assumption that more paper breeds better teaching.  I’m not sure of that.  There are a number of concerns that I have.

    • So many after school activities for children (which we agree is an important part of their education and growing up) is coached/handled by new teachers.  What’s the price to be paid if they have to rush off immediately after class for their further education?
    • Younger teachers are also lower on the salary grid and this would put an extra strain on their personal budgets.
    • Are universities prepared to offer an influx of educators?  Who would do the teaching; it would largely be done in the evenings and typically those positions are not filled by tenured professors but by sessionals.  
    • But, we do get better the more we learn.  Is a degree necessary for all to accomplish this?  What about school districts take on the process of working with new teachers longer than the mandatory NTIP program?  What about offering credentially using badges throughout a teacher’s career.
  • Every memorandum/ correspondence from the educational body should reflect a positive attitude demonstrating support for their teachers and schools. Parents need to become aware of this too.
    • There should be no argument on this one.  In the classroom, we know that a positive attitude breeds a better mindset and better engagement with students.  This approach should apply to everyone in the system.  It’s easy to take out the club and start swinging.  Does anyone think that a negative approach encourages improvement?
  • Assessments should in the area of application of knowledge. When this occurs we can better understand the students growth.
    • We know this.  We all know this.  Yet, tests, examination periods, standardized testing, and the lot still remain the focus for many systems.  It’s a pedagogy that perpetuates itself.  Shouldn’t the standard of success be based on a student’s ability to do something rather than to regurgitate facts proving that they know (or more likely can memorize) something.  The education system needs to come to grips with this.  We’ve been talking about it for years but has anything really changed?
  • That schools should become the home base of social services that children can receive all the support the need to succeed. This should include parental support where necessary. If schools are the soul of the community then all the resources to ensure the success of children should be found there.
    • This makes so much sense but will require so much in order for it to happen.  Change in this area will have to come from the top where we have Ministry for this and Ministry for that and society picks away at items.  What would happen if we abolish all this and just have a “Ministry of the Child” or “Ministry of the Family”.
  • Every school should make inquiry research the basis for their education with the interests of the children being the springboard for their education.
    • Many of talked about this for years.  We’ve seen successful inquiry elements in various places.  What’s been missing is universal acceptance and an understanding about how it works on a big scale.  
  • That two years of special education training should become mandatory to help teachers understand how to help weaker students become the best they can be.
    • This will absolutely help teachers with their understanding of weaker students.  But, done properly, everyone will benefit.  The practice of identifying strengths and weaknesses in students allow the teacher to fine tune her craft and address the needs and goals for all.

    These are great recommendations.  I don’t know that there’s much new here, we all know it, but have we addressed them?   Can we actually pull it off?

    Think of your own situation and how you currently ply your trade.  

    Could any/all of these recommendation make you a better teacher, in a better system?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

    OTR Links 02/18/2017

    Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.