Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom.Â To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.Â ~ Tracy Kidder
New thinking on self-esteem
In the 1970s and 80s schools worked hard to make students feel good about themselves. But the early self-esteem movement failed to solve problems of anti-social behaviour, depression and drug use, and may in fact have increased studentsâ€™ vulnerability to them. Helen McGrath suggests that helping students feel capable, responsible and resilient is a more effective way to go.
School Report Cards Failing the Test of Reason
Published in The Daily Telegraph 30/12/99
This is the season for end-of-year school reports. An acquaintance of mine, letâ€™s call him Bill, passed on to me a copy of his childâ€™s Year 6 end-of-year report from a North Shore public school. Bill wants to do the best for his child and takes a keen interest in his education. Research has shown us how important parental engagement is for childrenâ€™s education. Other things being equalâ€”childrenâ€™s intelligence and health , for exampleâ€”parental interest and help with schooling can add significantly to a childâ€™s educational achievement and commitment. Such parents can be a schoolâ€™s best friends if educational excellence is the aim. Read the rest of this entry »
There is little evidence that concepts such as self-esteem provide better results, … felt increasing pressure to adopt more “supportive” grading policies. …Â
Our teaching and learning habits are useful but they can also be deadly.
They are useful when the conditions in which they work are predictable and
stable. But what happens if and when the bottom falls out of the stable social
world in and for which we learn? Is it possible that learning itself – learning
as we have come to enact it habitually – may no longer be particularly
useful? Could it be that the very habits that have served us so well in stable
times might actually become impediments to social success, even to social
survival? This paper explores reasons why we may need to give up on some
of our deeply held beliefs about teaching and learning in order to better
prepare young people for their social futures.