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The Forum > Article Comments > School's out all summer > Comments

School's out all summer : Comments

By Ian Keese, published 17/5/2007

The Federal Government's plan to run summer schools for teachers is educationally and economically irresponsible.

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Ian Keese has nothing good to say about summer schools for teachers which leads me to question everything he has to say. Given the very low quality of teacher education I received (under a Labor government) I would have welcomed an opportunity to genuinely upgrade my skills at a summer school. While a certain amount of mentoring can go in schools, especially for new teachers, other teachers need quite different sorts of assistance to upgrade their skills, learn about new curriculum requirements and meet with other teachers outside their own schools. It has been done in the USA and Europe for years.
I no longer teach but I know many, many teachers and their reaction has been that they would welcome opportunities to upgrade their skills but they also believe that this will not happen because the AEU will refuse to cooperate. Another positive initiative will not get off the ground because the ALP and the unions will not acknowledge its potential worth.
Posted by Communicat, Thursday, 17 May 2007 11:04:30 AM
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Communicat, I think you missed the point. Ian Keese was asking some pertinent questions about how the summer courses will be conceptualised, planned and programmed. And whether they will be good value for the amount of money allocated.

It seems a reasonable thing to do. After all the Government has form, as they say. 'Plans' to spend $10 billions on water without clearance from Cabinet or input from the key interest groups should make us all a bit wary of rabbits pulled from budget hats in an election year.

Responsible citizens have a duty to ask questions, just as you do about the quality of your teacher education. Politicians have a duty to provide answers. That's part of the social contract, isn't it?
Posted by FrankGol, Thursday, 17 May 2007 6:54:38 PM
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I have recently seen a document from a training firm for small business owners. It recommended that a small business owner should work 10-12 hr days for 6 days a week, and only has 10 days of annual holiday per year.

The work load of teachers seems like seventh heaven in comparison, but I would agree that teachers who are achieving good results from their students should be passing their teaching methods onto other teachers who are not achieving good results from their students.

Maybe a summer school is the place to pass on those teaching methods
Posted by HRS, Thursday, 17 May 2007 7:15:14 PM
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HRS, so small business owner should work 10-12 hr days for 6 days a week, and only have 10 days of annual holiday per year.

That sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Apart from the burn-out factor which ultimately makes workaholics totally inefficient and pains in the bum for work colleagues (and employees) , there is surely more to life than making lots of money.

Where's the time for spouse, parent, friend - not to mention your own quality of life? Where's the personal growth and fulfilment?

The best all-round people and the most effective business people in my experience are those who work efficiently within a reasonable time frame and make adequate time for the rest of their life. The old 8 hours work, 8 hours play, 8 hours rest formulation has a lot going for it in human terms.
Posted by FrankGol, Thursday, 17 May 2007 7:51:43 PM
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Thank you Ian for another article reflecting relevance to current teaching issues.

Unfortunately, education always attracts imposing comments from the ignorant claiming to once have been a teacher or know teachers and therefore their comments are relevant.

Ho Hum ... such is life.

'With only six months ... It is, for example, going to be interesting to see who are given the lucrative contracts to run these summer schools.'

This comment is interesting because last year we had the most pathetic professional development program forced on our school. The blokes who managed to get the federal funding couldn't scrape a degree together between them and were rabbiting on about the sort of rhetoric you get from those who attach themselves to education issues without knowing what the issues are.
Posted by Liz, Thursday, 17 May 2007 7:53:06 PM
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Communicat, I am sorry that you immediately jumped onto a party political platform. I specifically quoted Kevin Donnelly, who I have disagreed with on many matters and who has been an advisor to the Liberal Party, but who has similar ideas to me on this particular issue. I have worked under State Liberal and Labor Governments in NSW, and find that once they are in power their political stance played little part in their policies (although my impression is that the effect of Jeff Kennet in Victoria was quite significant. However I am critical of what I see as the illiberal market-driven policies of this particular Government. Robert Menzies, on the other hand, was a great supporter of public education.

To my regular correspondent HRS, when I was teaching I arrived at 8:15 am at the latest, left school at 4:00 pm after tying up loose ends and spent 2 Ė 3 hrs each on Monday to Thursday evening on marking and lesson preparation, plus 2 to 4 hours on the weekend doing the kind of work that was impossible to do during the day. Yes, not every teacher did that, and those who arrived and left on the bell were paid the same amount, but I got a lot more satisfaction out of it. How you differentiate between these two teachers is a complex question I tried to look at in my previous article. And I agree that Teacherís Unions, while serving an important function, donít, and can't, always represent the best interests of the profession.

Thank you Frank Gol, and my colleague and regular correspondent Liz. I try to write to encourage debate, and not close it down.

Ian Keese
Posted by Ian K, Thursday, 17 May 2007 8:50:27 PM
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