Skip to main content

The Future of Education

One of the biggest challenges school leaders face is how to redesign the learning system to have the greatest effect on our students? With researchers such as John Hattie (2012) focusing his lens on the impact of the teacher on the student’s learning there is the push to have teachers identify ways that they can redesign the learning environment, redesign pedagogy and redesign assessment.

How do we re-imagine the concept of school to make the teaching have the greatest effect on student learning in real and authentic ways and what will this look like?

As we drill down into this question the focus is drawn further away from the upfront teaching and redirected firmly to student centred learning. Having a shared understanding of what learning looks like is essential as practitioners we can identify ways of embedding this into practice.  Learning is the essence of what happens in the classroom every day, but when we discover what good learners are and the keys to switch all learners on we unlock their adaptability and willingness to engage with education.

Rennie (2015) adds more insight by drawing our attention to the evidence of leadership. She highlights there are significant links between this and learning outcomes, teacher efficacy and school improvement. As leaders push forward with vision and adopt a reflective mindset they draw the voice and support of those they lead (Fullan, 2001). In a school context this may sound complex; however, it means the core business of learning is the focal point and everything else while important becomes more peripheral.

As learning takes priority (Rennie, 2015), the practices used to engage and build the knowledge and understanding of students develop (Hattie, 2017). Our willingness as educators and leaders to explore and experiment, to iterate and learn through failure as part of the culture of growth increases so to the measurable impact on the students. Learner development can be observed in a myriad of areas, socially, emotionally and academically, moving towards the one year's worth of progress for one year's input as Hattie (2015) puts forth. We see in students a heightened disposition to go through the pit of learning (McDowell, 2017) and come out on the other side as they see their journey is built with the support of others in an environment of trust.

As by-products of this drive towards greater outcomes for the student, we may see recreations of learning spaces, innovative ways of engaging students and the greater inclusion of the “real world”.

Through this realignment onto the core business of learning, we will see collective leadership (Petrie, 2004) increase and create quality learning opportunities for all (students and staff) within the community of learners (Gurr, 2015). These communities will look different at different schools, although shared characteristics will be collaboration, communication and creativity outplaying through actions such as co-teaching, monitoring, mentoring, observations and feedforward coaching (Petrie, 2004). This type of collaboration provides rich and genuine professional development for teachers within an authentic and known context. To do this in such a way that all learners learning is maximised, it will become essential for us to move beyond the four walls.

Tim Bowden identified "Teaching is improved when it's not a solo practice, teachers working in the presence of one another can give each other feedback and support" (2017). Inviting the opportunity for each other to explore how might our capacity and practice could be enhanced to amplify the learning.

School leaders are role models, therefore, as they have the potential to impact the lives of students in positive ways. Their willingness to grow and expand capacity is a must. Any time they can expose themselves to new educational theories and practices, their teacher efficacy increases (Rennie, 2015). To have a culture grow there is the need to have a vision of where schools can position themselves and grow too, the structures and the mechanisms to support this. Technical decisions need to be made to ensure this works. Where I envisage the future of education is heavily driven by the framework of teacher leadership (Harris & Muijs, 2002) under the distribute leadership (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1998) of our principals as it is a pertinent vehicle to empower this goal of placing learning at the core of what we do by creating more effective teachers, revitalising school systems and impacting student achievement.

References:
Bowden. T (2017). Quoted by Singhal, S. & Ting, I (2017) Composite classes on the rise as some schools go even further. Sydney Morning Herald 21 May. http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/composite-classes-on-the-rise-as-some-schools-go-even-further-20170517-gw6jdp.html
Harris, A., & Muijs, D. (2002a). Teacher leadership: Principles and practice. National College for School Leadership.
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. Routledge.
Hattie, J. (2015). What doesn't work in education: the politics of distraction. Pearson.
Leithwood, K., & Jantzi, D. (1998). Distributed Leadership and Student Engagement in School.
McDowell, M. (2017). Rigorous PBL by Design: Three Shifts for Developing Confident and Competent Learners. Corwin Press.
Mathewson, T. (2017). These 7 trends are shaping personalized learning. Education Dive http://www.educationdive.com/news/these-7-trends-are-shaping-personalized-learning/434575/
Rennie, L. (2015). What are future trends in School Leadership?  Perspectives No 3. ACEL

Images:
http://blog.learnfasthome.com.au/blog/prof-john-hattie-what-works-best-and-what-doesnt-work-in-education
http://blog.atomiclearning.com/tags/tags/taxonomy/term/200
http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/05/28/404684712/non-academic-skills-are-key-to-success-but-what-should-we-call-them
http://2011.igem.org/Team:USTC-China/Team/collaboration
https://www.123rf.com/photo_21015503_leadership-as-a-inspiring-vision-word-cloud-or-tagcloud-in-a-magnifying-sphere-with-a-shadow.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What does a post-industrial class look like? Part 2

This post is the second part of a series that I have been working on to identify what does a post-industrial class look like? In my previous post, I looked at using video, collaborative discussion, grouping and student-centred learning.


Why a large display and one to one? The large electronic display is used as it offers many benefits to a given lesson; these include demonstration and modelling as the teacher could showcase the application or video from the board (Moss, et al, 2007). It is easy to show the important features of particular web-based activities and have students interact with the material on their own devices. The board can accommodate different learning styles (Herrington & Harrington, 2006). Interactive boards can help tactile learners by touching and marking the board. Audio learners can have the class discussion and auditory multimedia, visual learners can see what is taking place as it develops at the board and it offers multimodal learning which can be tailored …

The Importance of Educational Dreamers

With 2018 closing and the early days of 2019 on us, I wanted to pen down some thoughts on my journey recently. Coined by one of my colleague I could normally be described as an educational dreamer. An optimist who sees the positive in the educational landscape as well as the trends on the horizon.

However; while there were many professional achievements, I found this year one of the most challenging in my career. For so many years, I have been challenged by those around me and the research to push myself to embed the highest quality pedagogies and learning experiences I could, although, this changed in 2018.

During this time, one of my esteemed colleagues said to me "you need to step back from pushing so hard and let others catch up. You work so hard at supporting people at the shoulder, yet they need to discover and do it themselves". It was suggest that this would allow me the time I needed to complete my higher levels of teacher accreditation showing my proficiency against…

Does using Technology in the Classroom Improve Student Outcomes?

Technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities and our homes. Yet many schools lag far behind when it comes to integrating technology into classroom learning (MYCEETA, 2008). Many are merely exploring the potential technology offers for teaching and learning. Properly used, technology can assist students acquire the skills they need to thrive in the complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy we now find ourselves.
Integrating technology into classroom instruction is more than training students in basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. It also means more than allowing a free for all, allowing students to play with everything. Essentially effective technology integration happens across the curriculum in areas that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. It must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback and connectio…