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Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Dominie, Mar 28, 2012.
Absolutely spot on. And as ever, much food for thought in the comments, this one in particular, which I quote in full because I am chuffed that this guy reiterates exactly what I have been saying here for years about the inherent and necessarily negative effects of your external inspection system, which keeps British education in the "stone age" compared to other countries.
Note, these are not my words, this is from "teacherman 24", and even though he's talking about England, his comments apply equally to Scotland, IMHO---
Having taught in both Ontario and London, it is easy to spot the differences. While teachers in Ontario still moan about work-related issues (pay, hours, cut backs, etc.), issues like planning scrutiny, book scrutiny, lesson observations, learning walks, drop ins, APP, marking and next step comments are NEVER on the table. Teachers in Ontario are left to get on with their job. They participate in professional learning communities, become reflective practitioners able to identify their own areas of strength and weakness and believe in collaborative efforts to engage students and develop professionally. Teachers in London are constantly under the microscope, using a lens that is intrusive, increasingly evaluative, and decades old by current Canadian standards; a great way to turn intelligent, passionate and qualified people away from education. The current process of staff development - even the word 'scrutiny' - is insulting and is absolutely keeping education in this country in the stone age. The scary part is that many head teachers and local authority officials actually believe that this works - as if years of research and success in Ontario and elsewhere is inaccessible? That is the worst part - no one is asking the UK to be front runners in education. But, knowing that other nations have sorted a lot of this out, and not responding, is shameful. The world gets that there are cultural differences and economic factors that play a role in any society's education system - that trying exactly what Finland does or Canada does would be a lethal mutation if applied in exactly the same way in England...but, it doesn't take years of research to understand that fear, stress and scrutiny lead to under-performance, dissatisfaction, and a general loss of inspiration. It isn't 1960. While the UK can take more than 1 page out of Ontario's book, at the very least take the page about treating teachers as professionals - let us move away from the microscope and into a community of collaboration, inspiration and reflective practice that drives England back to the top.
First step: get rid of HMIE. You really really really don't need 'em.
Yes, I found this one interesting:
Very good article but a little disingenuous ... a few things from an unemployed teacher in Ontario
the UK and ON is apples and oranges largely because there is no
'proper' exam system, no post-complulsory phase, no indpendent
inspection regime and no league tables based on Value Added.
Furthermore, the new assessment Regime 'Growing Success' is very much an
anathema to what is/was thought to be 'good teaching' in the UK in that
is there is much less interest in the stuff they learn compared to the
skills they acquire in so doing - narrower and deeper are the big key
words. There is going to be a lot of bedding in issues with this and, I
suspect some unhappy campers among older teachers (if only the stock
market was better than they good retire and give all of us waiting a
Moreover, teachers in ON (and Canada) are education
specialists (most have both a B.Ed and BA/BSC and a lot of have masters -
largely cos they get paid a lot more ) compared to the UK where they
are subject specialists that teach. Teachers here are from my experience
of working last year are better and more professional and more serious
about their work and they have a much more inclusive attitude to
students and that is partly to do with the 'constitutional culture' here
but also the lack of an embedded class system (though don't think for
one second that is all equal and level, privilege is very much alive and
well in ON).
Finally, the real problem is there is such a huge
over supply of people. Approximately, 20,000 people graduate from
teacher's college each year (and, admittedly, not everyone goes into
teaching), but last year there were just under 3,000 jobs - as they say,
you do the math. Unlike the UK, university funding is not tied to
throughput in the profession so for universities it is a licence to
print money. Added to that the likely increase in class sizes will mean
few jobs. AND if you are retired, you can stay stay on the supply list
and teach. There are regular stories of well qualified teachers (like
me) taking over five years to get a permanent gig - unless you are
prepared to live in the ass end of nowhere.
So, not all let's not
caress our derrieres too much. It is a good place to have your kids
educated but it is system riven with flaws and beset by regulatory
requirements that would make a Brussels apparatchik weak at the knees.