An Education Revolution?

This week Premier John Brumby announced a so called ‘new’ direction in education for all year 9 students.

Herald Sun November 16

Premier John Brumby announced plans for a radical overhaul of secondary school education curriculum to provide “real experience for the real world”.

Mr Brumby said the new $210 million policy – called “Education for life, the Year 9 experience” – would take students out of school and provide life skills for an entire term of Year 9.

He said it would include a two week “living away from home experience for every Year 9 student”.

Even though many schools are doing this in some form already (Euroa, Shepp High and Notre Dame locally that I know of). They have all recognised that many students in year 9 become disengaged. But to think that one term will fix the problem. I don’t think so. It may well exacerbate it as students get a taste for extra learning outside the classroom…and then want more of it.

Does this herald (sorry for the pun) a revolution of education in our schools?

I think not…unfortunately.

Here is a blog post that hits the nail on the head from Will Richardson wonderful blog Weblogg-ed:

Just a quick observation in the midst of my blogging hiatus…

I think it’s official. We’ve got the rhetoric for change down. We’re telling the new story…self-directed, multi-skilled kids with devices accessing content and teachers from around the world using a new literacy, all being assessed through a potent mix of traditional and not so traditional tests. All digital, all the time.  New learners for new times. New schools and classrooms and teachers for new times. It’s all in there. It’s Prego!

That’s at least the impression you get when you read this latest from THE Journal and host of other articles and blog posts and Tech Plans. For example:

The students will lead this revolution if we keep them engaged and give them hope that they can make use of these technologies that they love in their private lives and make use of them for learning. Teachers will come along with that because teachers’ role will change. In my 2020 vision, we’ll have teachers as facilitators and mentors, and the students will be directing, leading, and collaborating, even as early as elementary school. The relationship between students and teachers will be, on a whole, much different and more valuable.

Ah, to dream.

But here is the thing…read between the lines in most of these descriptions and you get the sense that we see it, we want it, but we ain’t gonna get it very soon. Budgets are being cut. The people in charge don’t really see this vision. We haven’t figured out that assessment thing very well. And so on.

Read all together, you get the sense the revolution is coming, just not anytime soon. And even worse, it’s doubtful that when it does come, that schools in general are going to lead it. I know we have pockets of real change, but while the words seem to be scaling (somewhat, at least), the deeds have yet to follow suit.


And a double SIGH from me.

A wonder if we will ever see a viable “No School” choice for parents and teenagers whereby their motivations in learning can be fed by their local community and World Wide Web….


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