[Guest Post] What Teaching Could Be?【客座博客】高中教育的未来?

Thanks Baz Caitcheon for this valuable blog on teaching.

I’ve always considered John Banks to be crackers, and that’s on a good day.
My ears pricked up when he recently posited the idea of putting untrained teachers in front of school pupils.

The teaching fraternity howled, and while I wouldn’t call the motives behind charter schools educationally pure, JB may have sown the seeds of something that teachers could turn to their advantage.

First they’ll need to grasp an evolving change in role. From teacher to facilitator, or learning guide … choose your own title here.

I know loads of people that aren’t trained teachers, but have oodles to offer our young people in schools. They’re business entrepreneurs, accountants, scientists, mechanics, public office leaders – you name it. They’re not trained teachers nor do they wish to be – they have their own careers, but many have kids at school, and despite busy schedules would be keen to help if asked.

I’m not advocating replacing trained teachers, rather the opposite. I’m suggesting hooking up each teacher with ten or more adults in the community, that can actively lend a hand.

My particular interest is high schools, one because I have a pod of my own teens currently attending, two because I used to teach in them, and three, I think high school process needs to change to stay useful.

I’m suggesting that on any school day there are multiple members of the community in school helping teachers in classes, and working with teachers to take groups of kids out for real life experiences. I’m not suggesting a community free-for-all, rather, targeted members of the community invited in to aid teachers and mentor kids. Police checks all round, signing in and out through reception.
And if need be for objectivity, keep parents out of their own kids classes.

Some high schools are already onto this, various with special character specialise in it – but compared to what could be, most of them are slow out of the blocks.

Yes but as parents, are we not all working two jobs without a hope in hell of finding the time to get into our local high school to help out ?
In my experience of both asking – as a teacher, and being asked – as a parent, I’ve found my students parents happy to come in and do what they can, and the numerous times I was asked in during my own childrens primary school yrs … I made the time whenever possible, chuffed to be asked, happy to share.

At high school level we tend to drop our kids off and leave teachers to it. I’m guessing for lots of schools that’s the way they like it – ‘we’re the professionals, leave it to us – make sure they do their homework, bring the oranges on Saturday, otherwise stay out of it ‘

Though teachers may be rightly defensive of their profession, changes like these take nothing from their portfolio, on the contrary they stand to enhance their status and credibility in the community.  Liasing and overseeing additional resource, outside real-world ideas, forming useful networks and relationships – these opportunities have to be good for both them and their students.

I’m guessing some teachers will love the idea; others will resist. Some are ill at ease with another adult in the room. Teaching can be a private thing – one adult, 30 kids. My experience of another adult in the class ? … whether parent or another teacher, they helped moderate behavior – both the students and mine, broke down the ratios and added to the learning environment – never anything but a positive experience.

These are fast changing times; our online children source information and largely ‘teach’ themselves – begging the question, what is education, what is learning, what is teaching, or the role of a ‘teacher’ ?

The clients here are our kids, and by association, we as parents. I know my children benefit from as many windows out of the classroom as they can get, and I’m always curious when I get a window into my child’s schools.

So where am I coming from?
I see high schools as an enormous waste of potential – at it’s core level you’re getting together hundreds of teens and some adults to guide and steer, but what goes on and more to the point how it goes on largely remains something from the industrial age. I honour teachers hugely – but they’re doing it all wrong.

I’ll push my own boat right out here by suggesting that high schools are way too focused on class-based academic learning and results – often contextually void, and those cooked books we’ve come to know as league table standings. Stand back guys, see the forest for the tree’s.  A degree no longer guarantees a career opportunity – and while higher learning is a grand thing, there are cleverer ways to help our children find their direction and access further learning opportunities.

I could get really extreme and suggest that we are doomed as a species if we continue to lockdown/bully, standardize & socially manipulate the teenage mind – our future, in dated environments that often lead resilient kids to disengage.
In fact any kid. Ask the kids what they think of it all.

School Principals barking on about high expectations, are often caught in their own Orwellianspeak. Their expectations are blindingly low if they consist largely of teens jumping pass-rate style through the schools pre-ordained hoops.

Have we learnt nothing?

In many cases our kids, fluent with facebook and X-box, have ‘already left the building’, even if their bodies have to be round to satisfy the rollbook. If you’re not up on it, facebook and X-box excellence are valuable skill indices where etiquette and prowess doesn’t come easy. Not just a few employment opportunities demand such experience.

Consider this picture – the average age of a high school teacher in New Zealand is now 50ish. Attrition rates are high – 50% of newly trained teachers are lost from the sector within the first 4 years of their practice. The profession could do with greater social standing.
It’s not easy actively focussing and engaging 30 different kids 5 times a day – John Banks should try a term or two. And the money should be better. Way better.

JB’s words about untrained teachers lifted enough ears to start a debate. And with it an opportunity for the teaching profession – especially high schools, to take the lead and change what they do and how they do it.

What needs to happen to make best of this opportunity?
One key thing. The will and commitment of high school principals with their Board’s backing, to invest in their community resource – feel confident that if they get it right, they’ll get it back in spades. Great leadership is relational and empathetic. They must show vision and courage by leading their teams of teachers into redefining who, what and how they operate. It’s about building a culture.
Boards of trustee’s would do well to support their senior management teams with skill-set builders like shared leadership training.

Teachers may well feel challenged or threatened, so the will of the leadership must be passionate, focused and well referenced. Schools will need to actively prospect across business and community, networking and shoulder tapping individuals and organizations, formalizing mentoring programs, and in doing so provide kids with fresh faces and experiences.
Individual schools can make these calls – how they prioritise their resource – human and financial, is up to them.

Lastly and most importantly, we as parents …  what choices will we make?  Will we continue to enjoy the custodial convenience that schools afford us, or are we prepared, if we’re not already, to actively get in and assist teachers to mentor some of our own childrens peers.

John Banks plays fast and loose with his political mouth – could be the medication.   Either way, he got a reaction. Lets use it.

Baz Caitcheon has three children at high school and one at university.
His high school teaching years included a stint for the Ministry of Education as an advisor.
He currently lives on Waiheke Island

 

感谢Baz Caitcheon与我们分享这篇关于教育的博客 

最近,新西兰政治家John Banks建议为新西兰小学生们配备未受专业训练的教师。

新西兰教师联盟会对此番建议表示愤怒,我认为John Banks言论背后的动机并不单纯,但是教师们却可以利用这条建议促进新西兰高中教育的发展。

我知道许多人并不是经过专业训练的教师,但是他们却有机会在学校教课。他们之中有创业家、会计、科学家、商人、公务员等等。他们从没想过有一天可以从事教师这份职业,因为他们已经选择了自己的职业。但是,由于他们的孩子在学校中学习,当校长邀请其中的成功人士来授课时,他们很乐意助其一臂之力。

我并不认为他们可以取代真正教师的地位,但是我建议教师可以与这些人保持联系,以备不时只需。我对于学校改革,尤其是高中改革的兴趣有三点:①我自己的孩子在上高中;②我曾经教过高中;③我认为高中的改革势在必行。

我建议学校在开放日时,可以请家长前来协助,运用他们的职业敬业帮助孩子们了解更真实的生活经验。同时,我希望家长在教授孩子时,可以选择教自己孩子之外的学生。

我们以往理解的高中生活就是将孩子交给老师,我们家长的职责就是监督他们完成作业,周末学校活动时给孩子们带上食物,其他的就全权交给老师了。尽管有一些高中已经着手高中教育方面的改革,但是绝大多数的高中还处在观望状态。很多人可能会质疑,学生家长平常是要全职工作的,哪里可能抽出时间来学校给学生们上课?我对于这样的质疑想用我的亲身经历来解答,那就是我周围的绝大多数的家长,在收到学校的邀请后都乐于在百忙之中抽空参加,而且很享受这份教书的过程。

许多老师赞成这一改革,当然也有相当一部分的老师抵制这项改革。想象一下,以往的高中教学都是一位教师三十个学生,这时候凭白无故多出一个成年人,学生和老师可能都不会习惯。但是我的经验又让这样的怀疑成为空想,当我亲身体验时,老师和我一起合作帮助学生学习,同时学生也给与了积极的反馈。

现在我们正处于一个飞速发展的时代,我们的孩子可以在线享受丰富的免费教育资源,那么,教师的职责是否也在随之改变呢?

以我之见,现在的高中都在浪费资源,成千的学生聚集在这里,又有许多学生家长乐于为学生提供有关社会经验的课程,但是教师们所做的却远远低于预期。俗语道,一叶障目不识泰山。当今的高中把升学率和学科教育看得如此重要,却失去了赋予学生将来胜任工作的能力。学习成绩高,远远不能保证将来就有能力在工作岗位取得成就。

学校的校长总是期望学生可以取得很好的成绩,却忽视了教授他们做人道理的课程。我们学习下来究竟学到了什么呢?很多在学校迷失道路的孩子们转而去玩Facebook和X-box,这些Facebook和X-box能手却对他们将来的职业道路毫无帮助。

新西兰高中学校的教师平均年龄为50岁,每年有50%的新入职教师在四年内离开了自己的工作岗位。John Banks的言论并不是无道理可言,因为在当前高中教师短缺的形势下,他的计划值得一试。

那么,如何才能更好的利用这样的机会呢?校长和教师都应该承担起责任,建立属于自己的领导能力,与社区保持好联系,保证自己的人际交往圈。校方的董事会应该建立自己的组织文化,不仅仅是在人力资源管理方面,在财政方面也应该有所作为。

最后,作为家长我们也应该在孩子的高中教育中发挥作用。尽管John Banks经常说一些莫名其妙的“蠢话”,但这一次的提议我们不妨一试。

Baz Caitcheon有三个在高中学习的孩子,一个上大学的孩子 。他曾经是新西兰教育部的顾问,现在居住在激流岛上。

2 thoughts on “[Guest Post] What Teaching Could Be?【客座博客】高中教育的未来?

  • Paora Howe

    Excellent blog Baz. The notions of greater whānau (extended family) and community involvement in education, and school leaders developing a more strategic and inclusive approach to both – and to their students – is a ‘no brainer”. Sometimes it requires articles like this to remind us of the need (and of the potential we all have)to make radical changes to the current system. We can all win from this approach.
    Respect!
    Paora

    Reply
    • Simon

      Kia ora Paora! Much appreciated.

      Reply

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