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The Forum > Article Comments > The illusion of schooling > Comments

The illusion of schooling : Comments

By Phil Cullen, published 27/2/2012

When it comes to teaching, teacher knows better than anyone else.

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I like your hypothesis that teachers are in the best position to build on and sustain our kids' need to construct complex knowledge and apply this knowledge to identifying, critiquing and addressing real world problems.
However some vested neo-con interests would find the prospect of hordes of highly productive, critically literate graduates emerging from a school system a wee bit threatening.
Posted by Cambo, Monday, 27 February 2012 8:16:59 AM
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Teachers in Australia have already fully embraced US style education, by buying so much US software, hardware and textbooks for Australian schools.

The author is correct in some other areas, but handing the education system over to teachers is the worst thing the public can do. Teachers will attempt to do as little as possible, while at the same time asking for as much public money as possible, while putting as much as possible into their own bank accounts, or spending as much as possible on imports, such as US software, hardware and textbooks.
Posted by vanna, Monday, 27 February 2012 8:25:08 AM
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Vanna, you are falling for the neo-con trap that "teachers are inherently lazy" (though they would more generally say that "workers are inherently lazy").

I am a retired school principal, and I have been through the processes of dealing with low performing teachers, so I know that there never was and never will be some golden age when all teachers are wonderful (the union position). However, I do know that most that I dealt with over 35 years in the profession had the best of intentions to serve well the children in their classroom.

Often, as is normal in any field or profession, there are new enthusiasms and other forms of quackery that take hold for a time, but I tended to find that these enthusiasms were pursued by teachers who were more interested than most in finding a better way to achieve positive outcomes.

I also found that older teachers who had lost the spark had been those whose enthusiasm when young had been burned by the bureaucracy of school systems.

My wife is still teaching and is still enthusiastic; she works with a group of teachers who are busting themselves to find the best ways to facilitate student engagement and learning in a school of disadvantaged kids.

I would be happy to trust them to filter out the New York nonsense. And I know that they are not unique in the public school system. I adjudicate debates in public primary and high schools, and I deal with many great teachers and their students; I assure you that when teachers are trusted and encouraged, great things happen. It may not necessarily be shown directly in NAPLAN results, but it shows in real life.
Posted by jimoctec, Monday, 27 February 2012 8:45:09 AM
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jimoctec,
So often, teachers are asking for more and more money from the taxpayer. That money is for early childhood education programs, increased teacher pay, incresead use of ICTs in education, decreased student to teacher ratios, more buildings in the school etc.

As the author has noticed, early childhood education is normally a waste of money as the student is not mentally capable of organised learning. Increased use of ICTs has had no improvement in student marks in the US, but teachers want more and more software and hardware from the US. Increased teacher pay has no effect on how a teacher operates in a class. Decreased student to teacher ratios do not necessarily increase student marks, and more buildings in a school do not equate to increased student marks.

So if left to teachers, more taxpayer funding would be spent for no improvement in student marks.
Posted by vanna, Monday, 27 February 2012 3:24:30 PM
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Is there a place in this teacher dominated vision for the students and their parents? Once again, we have the proposition that experts, in this case teachers are better placed to know what children need than do the parents who love and nurture them. And they will know these things without the benefit of objective assessment and detailed analysis of students progress? It beggars belief.

If I hear teachers talking again about teaching as their main responsibility rather than faddish nonsense such as being facilitators of student learning or, even sillier, empowerers of students, I might be prepared to assign teachers an equal place in school education with parents, who really should control what happens in schools.
Posted by Senior Victorian, Monday, 27 February 2012 4:40:07 PM
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I was treasurer of a P&C when our old mate Goss came into power. He had promised teachers a substantial pay rise during his campaign.

The teachers union, & many local teachers had been clamoring for "more money for education" for some time, & were incredibly noisy during the election campaign.

Goss kept his promise to the teachers & they got a huge pay rise.

There was only one problem, that pay rise was unfunded. All the extra money for the teachers to take home, had to be pinched & squeezed out of the existing budget. The fact that there was not enough money there did not worry teachers one little bit.

Having got their pay rise, they immediately dropped their campaign for more money for education, after all, the most important part of the education system to them, had got lots more money.

Trouble was, many things previously supplied to schools, really high tech things like paper & pencils, suddenly became no longer available. We of the P&C found we needed to raise an extra $140 per student to supply the simpler things lost to the teachers salary raise.

So sorry Phil,you'll have to do a much better job to convince me the majority of teachers are doing their best for the kids. Unless we keep testing the kids, to judge the teachers by their results, & weed out the worst, our education system is going to continue its slide at an ever gathering pace.
Posted by Hasbeen, Monday, 27 February 2012 4:45:21 PM
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