Tag Archives: trusting teachers

Good-bye Michael Gove!

Michael Gove Although I (Clare) live in Canada I am well aware of the challenges teachers and teacher educators in England are facing. We have a number of literacy/English teacher educators in our study of teacher educators who have recounted the  challenges they are facing (e.g., funding reduction, stringent/ridiculous accountability measures). At our Symposium on teacher education in London participants recounted how demoralized teacher educators felt.

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, who was instrumental in bringing in a number of draconian measures in education has been demoted to Chief Whip. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/jul/17/steve-bell-cartoon-michael-gove-first-day-chief-whip He wanted to reshape education based on his own experiences in elite private schools – or as I see it, drag education back to the 19th century. He seemed to be waging war on schools of education by creating so many alternative routes into teaching that he was stripping teacher educators of their place in preparing teachers. His inability or unwillingness to listen to reason and research led to him implementing a number of measures that are so wrong headed it is mind-boggling. He was never a teacher nor did he do research on teaching and teacher education so how did he think that he knew how to prepare teachers?  When you compare his approach to the one used in Finland (see blog post on Thursday, July 17) the contrast is glaring. Respect and trust were not his modus operandi.

On his first day of his new job as party whip he got stuck in the toilet! Hmmmmm…….. Read into that what you like!

Let’s hope that the path he set for education will be altered by his successor so that education and teacher education can get back on track and become relevant and appropriate for the 21st century. There is a growing body of research on teacher education which should guide policy. It is time for policy-makers in England to refer to it.

Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland’s Success

I (Clare) read a fabulous article, Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland’s Success in Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/06/24/ctq_faridi_finland.html?tkn=XTXDqgQYqARkH8OSadND1VkL5PvV%2BGHkxJFc&intc=eschildren reading

A teacher, Sophia Faridi, visited schools in Finland where she was so impressed:

Perhaps what struck me most about schools in Finland was the relevant, genuine learning taking place right before my eyes. For example, I had the chance to sit down with a group of high school seniors working on a project examining U.N. extradition trials. Without any teacher present, students were engaged simply because the subject was important to them.

She identified 13 features of this remarkable school system.

1. A heavy emphasis on play.

2. No high-stakes standardized testing.

3. Trust.

4. Schools don’t compete with one another.

5. Out-of-this-world teacher prep programs.

6. Personal time is highly valued.

7. Less is more.

8. Emphasis on quality of life.

9. Semi-tracked learning.

10. National standards are valued.

11. Grades are not given until 4th grade.

12. Ethics is taught in the primary grades.

13. Collaboration and collaborative environments are strongly emphasized.

This article would be a great resource for discussing the big and small picture of education. It shows that in a system where teachers are valued, respected, and trusted, high quality education results.