2020 always felt like a vision on the horizon of perfect. Never a year I would live to see – well it is here.
And what does it herald for schools around the world?
Sir Michael Barber speaking at an Osiris ‘In Conversation’ five years ago was asked what he thought of the overt political interference in education. He said that we should hope it continues as we will notice it when it has gone. More specifically he added that when education is not being talked about, neither will its funding.
In the UK, education has slipped from the agenda and so has the funding. This is in stark contrast to so many other nations who see the youth and education as their future.
Wish 1 – please can we take the UK foot off the windpipe of educational funding before it’s too late.
We must get a lot savvier about the way we implement if we are to save teachers and learners time and stress. Top down and focus on efficiency have been proven time and time again to only get you to ‘good’. The UK has long been at ‘good’, it has technically proficient teachers, good organisational systems and much-admired standards (in diverse areas like extra-curricular, inclusion, assessment practice).
It can get growth and get you to ‘good’ if that is the planned destination.
What gets you to ‘great’ is not what gets you to ‘good’.
If not look to models, social network theory, building internal evidence bases, leveraging learners and evaluation as central tenets of your journey, then ambition and destination can be so much more exciting.
Wish 2 – can someone establish an implementation centre in the UK to enable schools to become more efficient in the hugely important process?
30 years ago, Sir Ken Robinson published All their tomorrows. It was a plea for lifetime learning. His message has become one of creativity, strengths and employability. Whenever he speaks, teachers love his message, but the everyday reality has become one of exam passes and inspection fear.
One damning piece of research suggests that by year 9 only 37% of pupils enjoy learning. Outside many schools, large posters proudly trumpet Ofsted grades and pass rates. Rarely if ever do I see love and learning. Maybe it’s time for a rebalance?
Wish 3 – can we bring learning back on the agenda, teaching can be grinding without the learning.
It’s time to move on from research-base to evaluation as a central process in education. Significant funding and massive human resource over the past decade have largely failed to unearth new findings. Those findings that have surfaced remain largely ignored due to their complexity of implementation (collective efficacy, disrupting expectations and instructional leadership).
Evaluation offers huge potential gains from initial teacher training through school-based innovation, intervention testing across in early years and SEND approaches.
Wish 4 – look to your own evidence-base in your own schools. Is it robust, predictive and reflexive?
It’s crazy to reflect that we emphasise certain fads over others based on perceived wisdom. Teaching has once again become more important in focus than learning. Writing has become more important than breathing. Recall and memory now more important than expression and rhetoric.
All are important and we need to find balance, to reclaim the basket of good by which education is measured. The new quality of education judgement and emphasis on curriculum may allow this, so it remains on the wish list.
Wish 5 – breathe, dance, laugh, sing, meditate, create and stop taking life quite so seriously. It’s preciously short.
In the past six months we have become heavily involved in some fascinating international projects. Apologies for the fall off in blogs.
Next year will see the launch of our new online training series. It’s been quite a journey into pedagogy and andragogy to realise that machine learning is now capable of augmenting human process. It’s been a 14-year world-wide search but finally we have found a platform that pushes it to its limits to create a worthwhile experience. Look out for KMb1.
Have a great 2020 from all the Osiris team!
Osiris Educational is the UK’s leading independent training provider for teachers.
We work at the forefront of innovation in education providing pioneering, challenging and effective training solutions in teaching. We use the best and most renowned trainers to help teachers improve their ways of thinking and approaches to teaching.