Gillard got this one right

Hey, catchy title for my post, but I think that Gillard had some correct instincts when it came to education and which even involved taking on her mates at the Australian Education Union.  Notwithstanding the qualifications, NAPLAN, MySchool and the insistence that students be marked were all brave and appropriate calls.

But what is it with ‘educational research’?  Read the following assertions and just shake your head.  If the laggards are not made aware of their unsatisfactory performance – please, spare me the stuff about self esteem – then they have no incentive to try to lift their game and make up for their skill and knowledge deficits.

Another thought: do the high performing school systems in Asia believe this guff?  My guess is that students are marked with great precision on a regular basis.

Here is the piece:

Grading students from A to E in their twice-yearly reports can fail to help them reach their academic potential, a leading education researcher says.

Australian Council for Education Research chief executive Geoff Masters said the traditional grading system was poor at lifting the performance of the brightest students and those struggling to meet expected standards.

And the system did not necessarily provide an accurate picture of what students knew and could do at school, he argued.

”It often fails at both ends,” Professor Masters said. ”It fails the least advanced students by telling them they’re poor learners year after year, and it often fails the highest-achieving students by not stretching and challenging them.”

He said many schools still used some form of the traditional grading system, and called for an alternative that provided more detailed information about students’ academic abilities, progress and improvement during the school year.

Research had shown the best-performing students could be up to six years ahead of their least advanced classmates, Professor Masters said. Students’ progress was often obscured by grades that ”pigeonhole” them – particularly those behind expected standards.

”I think we can do better than the traditional forms of assessment and reporting we’ve been using,” he said. ”But I think it’s a big challenge.”

Many teachers tailor lessons to meet the academic abilities of their students in a technique called ”differentiation”. Professor Masters said a similar approach should be taken when presenting reports and assessments to students and parents.

”We often fail to recognise and even celebrate the good individual progress students are making, even if they’re still some years away from where we would expect them to be given their age.”

He said his views on assessment should not be interpreted as supporting lower standards.

Rachael Sowden, from the NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations, said the grading system used in NSW had the potential to be ”very subjective” and it could damage children’s self-esteem.

”We’ve always had concerns with the grading system, right from when it was introduced,” Ms Sowden said.

”What we would say is, do children in primary school need to know they are an E?”

Melbourne University education professor John Hattie said many schools still used traditional grades, but some had introduced more sophisticated reports charting students’ progress more comprehensively.

Professor Masters said schools should still provide reports on progress at the end of each semester, but he thinks ”simply telling students how they’re performing in relation to expectations in their year level is less useful than providing them with more detailed information about where they’re currently at in their learning”.

 

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69 Responses to Gillard got this one right

  1. Andrew

    ”What we would say is, do children in primary school need to know they are an E?”

    Perhaps their parents would like to know, as well as how the result was derived and where the shortfalls are.

    You can do it other ways – in G3 but reading at a G1 level. Is that better?

  2. Greigoz

    I agree, you must never ever tell struggling students how they’re performing without taking into consideration the potential to damage fragile self-esteem frameworks. Also consider: Cultural background, racial identity (real or heartfelt), socioeconomic background, and parents criminal history.

    This will all then fully equip them for life in the global workforce… as long as its within the Teacher’s Union, a role in the Canberra public service, or as a Centrelink permanent visitor. Nice one.

  3. Baldrick

    It’s the progressive congratulatory culture of ‘every 1′s a winner’.

  4. mundi

    This is just a fancy way of saying: Your son is a E for year 6, but a C for year 4.

    In other words, a student could go through school with straight D’s, but really only one year behind one with straight C’s despite having ‘failed’ everything.

  5. johno

    ”simply telling students how they’re performing in relation to expectations in their year level is less useful than providing them with more detailed information about where they’re currently at in their learning”

    Noooo. Spare me from more of the voluminous crapola that currently fill my kids’ school reports. So many words,so little content.

    My brothers-in-law are teachers and they have a software package that can generate those vacuous sentences from a few key words that they enter for each student in their end of term report. Ahhhh!

    The Inquisition have had such cruel weapons of torture.

  6. Mayan

    The only thing wrong with telling them twice a year is that they’re not being told more often. One piece of education research to which I subscribe is the observation that the shorter the time between work and feedback, the better.

    They’re probably also right about the six year gap between the most and least advanced. I remember fondly a couple of teachers who, realising there were three of us who were ahead the rest, sent us outside to continue on with more advanced material while the ones who didn’t just get it plodded along. In later years, I dealt with the drip feed pace of school through truancy, up to one day in two.

    Now, I hear that long division isn’t taught until high school. >_<

  7. CARFAX

    It would be interesting to see if Professor Masters’ plans are based on any empirical evidence following trials of his suggestions, or if they are simply based on his exceptionally perceptive personal opinions and his claims to brilliant personal insight developed through shooting the breeze with like minded experts in education.
    The plan would not have to work very well to eclipse the achievements of the ‘progressive’ education revolution at work in Australia of recent times.

  8. The Pugilist

    Research had shown the best-performing students could be up to six years ahead of their least advanced classmates, Professor Masters said. Students’ progress was often obscured by grades that ”pigeonhole” them – particularly those behind expected standards.

    Yet no one gets held back any more. It seems school is all about going through the motions and everyone gets a ‘participation’ certificate. What is the point of it all? No one gets streamed any more either. How do you stretch advanced students if you have to teach to the average all the time?

  9. Markus

    Yes, there must be something terribly amiss with the old-fashioned teaching model.
    Men to the moon, cars, trains, planes et cetera. OMG, all done by blokes using a slide rule and log tables.
    It all went terribly wrong.
    Thank God things are now getting better with every child thinking about her role as a citizen and saving the planet.

  10. Stick to Economics, Judith.
    Your expertise in that pseudo science is only slightly more evident than your understanding of education. Neither is apparent.
    There is absolutely no research to show any positive correlation between frequent testing and improvement in results.

  11. Walter Plinge

    ”It fails the least advanced students by telling them they’re poor learners year after year, and it often fails the highest-achieving students by not stretching and challenging them.”

    Will any educational method eliminate poor learners? Doubtless even the Asian tigers we keep hearing about have poor learners.

    High achievers are best assisted by streaming students into different classes based on ability. But it’s unfashionable to stretch high achieving students these days. All must be levelled. Mediocrity is the unintended goal.

  12. Annie A

    Why not do both?

    Show progress made, via regular feedback, to encourge and motivate; and show the grade so they are aware of the target to strive for.

  13. What is assessed and how it is assessed is much more important than how often.
    Assessment has to be for learning, otherwise it is a waste of precious classroom time and resources.

  14. entropy

    What’s to bet Numbres was one of those loser seventies’ teachers that wondered why no one with any drive and ambition didn’t seem to want to follow them into teaching.

  15. entropy

    NAPLWN led us, after thorough investigation as to what was going on, to change our son’s school. He has gone from below average to above average between NAPLAN exams.

    Thanks, Julia!

  16. Tiny Dancer

    A. Crock. Of. Shit.

    If my kid’s not up to it I need to know but I expect that, like any normal parent, I would already know.

    Professor Masters sounds like a retard who has excelled at retard college.

    Professor Masters said schools should still provide reports on progress at the end of each semester, but he thinks ”simply telling students how they’re performing in relation to expectations in their year level is less useful than providing them with more detailed information about where they’re currently at in their learning”.

    Is there a drug available that makes this pretentious crap meaningful?

  17. Pete of Freo

    “But what is it with ‘educational research’?” It is a process by which one’s PC mates get a chunk of taxpayer largesse to conduct a dubious and heavily weighted study so that they can print out their per-conceived, ideologically derived conclusions which, most importantly, they themselves will never have to implement.
    I am a teacher in Western Australia who, like my colleagues, has struggled through 20 years of continual curriculum change. It looks as though the struggle will continue for at least another 5 years, by which time it will be time to change again.
    None of this change has altered the steady downward spiral of educational outcomes, it has however made the careers of numerous educational bureaucrats.
    “Another thought: do the high performing school systems in Asia believe this guff? My guess is that students are marked with great precision on a regular basis.” Teachers in many Asian educational systems are recruited from the top 5% of academic performers, they are well paid and subject to stringent performance review. Crap teachers do not last long. Thankfully, they can immigrate to Australia, where crap teachers are not subject to the same strictures and protected by many restrictive work practices which cosset them and make them very difficult to get rid of. Unlike Australia, Asian teachers and their students are not subject to ideologically driven programs of illiteracy and innumeracy in either their training or their practice. Behavioral norms are inculcated by families so the majority of students are socialised to the hierarchical Benthamite factory system of education prevalent in Asia.
    The difference in the lifestyle enjoyed by educated and skilled people in Asia and their less qualified and skilled countrymen is quite marked and education is seen as a way out of poverty. Australia has built a system of welfare which blurs this difference, indeed it puts significant disincentives in the way of educational achievement; this is why well-off Iranians and others have been paying to illegally join the ranks of our “poor”.
    Incidentally, NAPLAN is a joke and any funding model which uses NAPLAN as a basis for disbursement of resources is equally a joke.
    The most unfortunate thing about all educational “reform” is that:
    * until we acknowledge or give kudos to the fact that different students learn at different rates and vertically timetable schools, nothing will change;
    * until the principal functions of Primary education become the teaching of English literacy and numeracy, nothing will change;
    * until we accept that the responsibility of socialising children lies with parents not schools, nothing will chance;
    * until there is widespread acceptance that along with one’s “rights” there are a number of critical responsibilities, nothing will change;
    * until we accept that self-esteem is not a “right” but an earned attribute, nothing will change;
    * until we abandon the crippling cultural relativism which pollutes all Australian curriculum and begin to promote with pride the cultural superiority of the West, nothing will change.

  18. entropy

    A teacher that was any good would be coaching them along throughout the term. The report is not really the place for it, as that is reporting on the outcome (the mark), not the process. Prof Masters is letting the teachers off the hook.

  19. Balatro

    Numbers, that is absolute crap. You smear economics and Judith then follow it with a comment that misses the point.
    It is not about the correlation between frequent testing and improved results. It is about the gradings applied to the test results and the impact they have on future results. That is, good students are not encouraged to achieve by getting A’s and poor students are not encouraged to improve by getting F’s.

    It is more to the point that Masters seems to overlook another aspect of gradings. They highlight the quality of teaching. For forty years progressive thinking on education has removed any acknowledgement of excellence in favour of equality. Good students are routinely denied any access to competitive schooling because it smacks of elitism, and unmotivated students are encouraged to think that it is OK to fail, because inclusiveness will give them an excuse. And the genuine strugglers are ignored because it is to expensive to provide remedial teaching.
    This is just an extension of avoiding scrutiny of the quality of teaching by opposing NAPLAN.
    If we had a system of education vouchers for all students and funded scholarships for those with demonstrated academic ability that could be used at any education facility that satisfied curriculum requirements, I believe we would quickly resolve the debate over falling standards. Imagine the power of parents if they were armed with vouchers to send their child to any school of choice, from State run primary schools to Sandstone Universities. Results would drive enrolments and market forces would lift results while expanding educational choices. And the argument that the disadvantaged would suffer would be revealed for what it is – condescension concealing inadequate teaching. All students, including those who are deemed disadvantaged, who have excellent results would thrive and those who struggle
    would quickly be identified, and could use vouchers to receive remedial teaching at those institutions which would emerge in response to the market demand for them.
    It would, however, destroy the Teaching Unions business plan and the sinecures of the tertiary idealogues offering such value adding courses as political studies or degrees in journalism.

  20. stackja

    I left school in 1961 with the ability to read, write and do simple arithmetic. I do not know of ABC etc grading.
    If testing shows inadequacies in teaching and learning, the more the better.

  21. What’s to bet Numbres was one of those loser seventies’ teachers that wondered why no one with any drive and ambition didn’t seem to want to follow them into teaching.

    Suggest you read this again.
    You use of the double negative makes it state exactly the opposite of what you intended.
    Hilarious….

  22. This is just an extension of avoiding scrutiny of the quality of teaching by opposing NAPLAN.

    Show me what contribution to improvement in teaching performance has been down to NAPLAN NAPALM.

  23. * until we acknowledge or give kudos to the fact that different students learn at different rates and vertically timetable schools, nothing will change;
    * until the principal functions of Primary education become the teaching of English literacy and numeracy, nothing will change;
    * until we accept that the responsibility of socialising children lies with parents not schools, nothing will chance;
    * until there is widespread acceptance that along with one’s “rights” there are a number of critical responsibilities, nothing will change;
    * until we accept that self-esteem is not a “right” but an earned attribute, nothing will change;
    * until we abandon the crippling cultural relativism which pollutes all Australian curriculum and begin to promote with pride the cultural superiority of the West, nothing will change.

    Agree with most of this, except the reference to the cultural superiority of the West.
    If the West is so culturally superior, why is it that the educational performance of the East appears (recently at least) to be of a higher standard?

    It is held up by posters here as the model to which we should aspire.
    You can’t have it both ways….

  24. Jazza

    Did we ever make a conscious decision to allow PC madness free reign over our lives or has it simply crept up and invading everywhere like an invisible insidious gas entering a building?????

  25. Frank

    Train them, like dogs.
    At least it works.
    This applies to students and teachers.

  26. stackja

    Jazza
    #1282056, posted on April 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm
    Did we ever make a conscious decision to allow PC madness free reign over our lives or has it simply crept up and invading everywhere like an invisible insidious gas entering a building?????

    Or the frog in the slowing warming pot? To me PC is stupid.

    CULTURE: How political correctness threatens Australian culture by Senator Cory Bernardi News Weekly, June 21, 2008
    Australians should have the courage to stand up for their convictions and not live in fear of the PC brigade, argues Senator Cory Bernardi, who delivered the Adelaide University Democratic Club’s James McAuley lecture on May 22. Here is a shortened version of his address.
    Today, I’m here to talk about the threat that political correctness and symbolism pose to Australia’s culture.
    You’ll notice that I haven’t chosen to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land – and here’s why. It seems today that, at almost every event or occasion that people go to, they are forced to sit through an acknowledgment or a “welcome to the country” ceremony. But do I really need to be welcomed to my own country?
    I was born here; I’m indigenous to Australia. This is my country too. And it is the country of many Australians who have built lives for themselves here.
    So, today, I choose to acknowledge the people that contributed to the establishment of Adelaide University – in particular the Elder family, the Barr Smith family and Walter Hughes, whose donation of £20,000 in 1872 helped start it all.

  27. providing them with more detailed information about where they’re currently at in their learning

    Learning is a defined term in international ed reform and especially in ed research. Putting theory into practice to examine the effects is the whole point of social science after all these days.

    Learning means changing a student’s values. attitudes, beliefs, and/or behaviors. In the US this requirement is also called student growth or achievement. It now defines effective teaching. Now you didn’t really think it was about building a love for chemistry or Shakespeare, did you?

    Be very careful when it comes to ed terms when we try to decide whether we are in agreement.

  28. David

    I haven’t chosen to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land

    Well done Senator Bernardi. Several years ago I attended an engineering conference where the first three speakers all “acknowledged” the traditional owners of the land where the conference was being held.

    The fourth speaker got up and his introduction went something like;

    “I would also like to make an acknowledgement. To the men of the 39th Battalion and 2nd AIF who stood across a track in Papua/New Guinea and behind a beach in Milne Bay and without whom you wouldn’t be here or if you were would be speaking Japanese”.

    There was silence for a few seconds and then prolonged applause. There were no more acknowledgements to “traditional owners”. Without looking up the conference proceedings I couldn’t tell you what his paper was about but I sure as hell remember his acknowledgement.

  29. Pete of Freo

    Numbers, “except the reference to the cultural superiority of the West”. Interestingly, as the “West” abandons it’s Christian cultural roots and moves toward the pagan “kultur” of the East it loses any claim to superiority it may have once enjoyed. This lifestyle which we all currently enjoy and to which the remainder of the world aspires was built upon the cultural imperatives of the Christian West. Many Asian nations have mimicked what they perceive as “valuable’ notions of the West, compulsory, secular education is amongst these ideas. The fact that they may currently perform better on several educational measures is mostly a reflection on their concomitant conservative family and extended family cultures. Further to this, I am fascinated by the realization of the Standing Committee of the Politburo in China of the pacifying and progressive nature of Catholicism and their subsequent attempts to control and regulate it to the benefit of the Nation.
    As the West abandons it’s previous widespread belief in Absolutes it throws the baby out with the bathwater, and this has certainly occurred in education. Interestingly, Cognitive Science is tending to support this as many “old fashioned” educational techniques like rote learning of poetry and times-tables, group singing, marching to music, social dancing and calligraphy are being used to successfully treat the poor parenting and lack of “goat-trailed” behavioral characteristics now known as ADHD.

  30. I assume there was a riot amongst the possum toga wearers and the sound of sploding leftist heads drowned out the rest of Corys speech?

  31. Cognitive Science is tending to support this as many “old fashioned” educational techniques like rote learning of poetry and times-tables, group singing, marching to music, social dancing and calligraphy are being used to successfully treat the poor parenting and lack of “goat-trailed” behavioral characteristics now known as ADHD.

    All these “old-fashioned” educational techniques with the possible exception of calligraphy are evident in the forty five schools in which I am working at the moment.
    How long is it since you were in a classroom?

    poor parenting and lack of “goat-trailed” behavioral characteristics now known as ADHD

    Ever met anyone with Autism?
    Ever met the parent of a child on the spectrum?
    You would be advised not to share your ignorance about Autism and its origin with them.

  32. tomix

    What’s the origin of autism?

  33. Balatro

    Numbers, you have done it again. Are you being deliberately obtuse or are you a natural born contrarian?
    Nobody has ever suggested NAPLAN is a mechanism to improve teaching standards. Gillard, for one, would not have supported it if it was.
    The manic resistance to comparisons of school results has always centred around the inherent discrimination possible if schools were graded and, by extension, the quality of teaching provided by schools with below average results. You will most likely recall the response by the NSW Teachers Union to the Daily Telegraph front page headline that one of the poorest performing schools in western Sydney had “failed the students”. This year a primary school Principal reported that students were not wanting to attend school because they were “sick with worry” about the schools’ NAPLAN result. We were asked to believe these little mites were concerned about letting down their school, and their teachers.
    Notice in all of this I have not mentioned any concern by anybody about concern for discrimination against the students. Opposition is about discrimination against teachers. And yet teachers have a job. In fact they have a well paid job, with at least a Diploma or a Degree to their name. And that comes at a discount because entry scores for teaching courses are now below 50%. Some of their students won’t be so lucky.
    Some kid in Asia who can read will get their job.

  34. Bruce of Newcastle

    ”What we would say is, do children in primary school need to know they are an E?”

    Yes, they do.

    But it needs to be more than that. There needs to be a carrot and a stick, so there is incentive to improve. At the moment there is no carrot and no stick. Indeed if anything there is pride in being an E amongst the peer group.

    So we need a carrot and we need a stick. We used to have a stick literally (I did get caned, once). It wasn’t much but was painful enough that you didn’t really want it too often.

    And the carrot. Well that is an easy one. Nothing you can do will get E grade students to learn by means of privileges, gold stars or medals. But one thing might. Money. So when an E grade student gets a D, give them a few hundred dollars serious dosh. When the student keeps the D, and adds another D, double it. I bet your brown booties that not only will the kid be properly motivated but their parents will be too.

    Carrots and sticks work. Appeals to better nature do not.

  35. johanna

    Good idea, Bruce. But that would only work in the way you want it to in conjunction with fixing up the curriculum, and the criteria for getting an A or an E.

    For example, a student who called out the radical environmental cant that is embedded in the curriculum would very likely be downgraded for it. Insufficient grasp of “the facts”, not paying attention, and so on.

    It’s not just about how you measure; the first priority is surely what you are measuring.

  36. Pete of Freo

    Numbers, “How long is it since you were in a classroom?” 14 days man, going back tomorrow. Only to one school, however, not 45, that being said, I have taught in schools throughout the state and have had several (that’s more than 2.5) children go through the system, I’ve coached junior cricket and football for 20 years and had a very wide experience of life prior to teaching. I’m pretty experienced with kids, but not in ways that would interest the Royal Commission.
    Regarding “poor parenting and lack of “goat-trailed” behavioral characteristics now known as ADHD”, whilst I accept that there are always extremes at either end of any continuum, my experience places much of what is called ADHD in the “poor parenting and lack of “goat-trailed” behavioral characteristics” basket. Sorry man, but I have as much evidence for this claim as evolutionists have for evolution, Health Department apparatchiks have for smoking causing lung cancer, and climate catastrophe nazis have for CO2 as a driver of climate change, in short, it’s what I believe based upon my experience. I accept that correlation is not causation but the coincidence of familial dysfunction to ADHD is astounding but it’s not an observation which enjoys politically correct status because the destruction of the patriarchal nuclear family is supposed to be making everything better so we’ll just put it all down to Twisties, red cordial and trans-fats. Further to this, whilst retaining many similar characteristics Autism, ASD or PDD is not Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and yes I deal with many students with ASD and/or PDD and you may be surprised to find the number of parents of these students who agree with me about ADHD. It’s a wild world.

  37. Megan

    Crap teachers do not last long. Thankfully, they can immigrate to Australia, where crap teachers are not subject to the same strictures and protected by many restrictive work practices which cosset them and make them very difficult to get rid of.

    Neat summary of the Numberskull’s survival as a educational assessment facilitator.

  38. 1735099

    What’s the origin of Autism?
    A greater mystery is the exponential increase in its incidence.
    It has nothing to do with parenting.

  39. Megan

    Bruce, I disagree with carrot and stick, I find carrot and no carrot far more effective. It is in fact what you are recommending with your financial incentive for improvement idea.

  40. David

    protected by many restrictive work practices which cosset them and make them very difficult to get rid of

    I have four teachers in my family which includes my son and daughter and their partners. Three in the Principal class and the fourth a maths/science teacher at year 12 level. There are some interesting discussions around a family dinner table about the difficulties of getting rid of drones. It is indeed a difficult process.

  41. egg_

    Pete of Freo
    #1282167, posted on April 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    +1

    Piss poor parenting IMHO.

  42. Megan

    What’s the origin of Autism?
    A greater mystery is the exponential increase in its incidence.

    You need to get out more. Preferably into a research library or Google Scholar. There is a great deal of research going into the connection between mutations on the MTHFR gene and autism. MTHFR mutations result in an inability to convert folic acid into methyl folate. Women with repeated pregnancy loss are routinely tested for this genetic condition. One theory being looked at is that the broadly followed recommendation for women to take folic acid supplements pre-pregnancy (to prevent neural tube defects) has meant that a foetus with this genetic mutation that would generally have been naturally aborted due to high homocysteine levels during development (another side effect of impaired methylation), has a better chance of surviving to delivery. Just a theory at this point but one that correlates (yes, I understand the caveats) and therefore worthy of greater investigation.

  43. Ellen of Tasmania

    Really appreciate your contributions, Pete of Freo.

  44. johanna

    Severe autism is certainly real, although in earlier times such a person might have been described as “wanting”, died young because of behaviours like wandering off, or, as Megan suggests, never have been born at all.

    I read somewhere recently that a significant percentage of “diagnoses” of lower end of the spectrum autism are reversed in subsequent years. These were just kids whose development patterns didn’t sit around the top of the bell curve. Just like the absurd BMI index, the application of population statistics to individuals provides absurd and potentially damaging prescriptions from the healthcare industry.

    Anyone who has had much to do with boys knows that the dolt or dullard at school can suddenly get his neuroconnections in line in adulthood and prove to be very bright and successful indeed. Till then, though, it’s pearls before swine trying to do anything about it.

  45. Turtle of WA

    Pete of Freo, thanks for the contribution. What struck me when I studied teaching was the massive divide between research and practise.

    I thought I was the only non-lefty in Freo. Cheers mate.

  46. Pete of Freo

    Turtle of WA; what struck me about it was what a massive waste of time and energy, not to mention, money that it was. I had two outstanding lecturers over a 4 year period, neither was from the School of Education; they were a pack of tenured numbskulls who stopped reading in the 1970s. It was this swill of dregs and some of their acolytes who developed the epic stupidity of the no defined content, failed Curriculum Framework and it’s laughable eight levels of achievement. Some of the same crew are now busily working on the complete destruction of knowledge known as the National Curriculum. Not only a non-lefty but also an Eagles supporter, sometimes it’s like living in Q&A!

  47. Markus

    Watching government report on government TV about suffering of poor cyclists on Sydney streets.
    sorry, no sympathy.
    Roads were built for trucks and cars, not for lycra-wearing dickheads.
    A cyclist complaining about the dangers of driving on the streets is like a surfer complaining about sharks.
    A bicycle is not in its natural environment on the street.
    Streets are designed for cars and trucks. Streets are not even designed for hairy tough buggers on twin-wheeled freedom feeling the wind in their beards.
    Drivers are not bad people, we expect to deal with cars and trucks,
    not with a an idiot on a bit of ancient technology.
    Want to wear lycra and ride a bike?
    find a place to do it, nice and safe.

  48. .

    But what is it with ‘educational research’? Read the following assertions and just shake your head. If the laggards are not made aware of their unsatisfactory performance – please, spare me the stuff about self esteem – then they have no incentive to try to lift their game and make up for their skill and knowledge deficits.

    Grading is not appropriate or helpful to schoolchildren of any age. Apart from leaving and entrance exams, kids should only get diagnostic tests.

    University students (adults) have too many outs to suck up and get away with blue murder and avoid failure. The entrance standards are too low.

    Competency based systems are better in theory, except most of them are operated as a sham.

    Self esteem is bullshit, according to Prof. Roy Baumeister.

    Unless schooling changed (where education was better and regimented “schooling” was eschewed), I’d be highly suspicious of any grading system. Why aren’t we known for arts or having a lucrative film industry? Because we regimentally drum it out of the kids. We now have compulsory schooling to learn Gillard and Don Watson’s “history” with university entrances somewhat dependent on this pointless exercise in falsity.

    As for grades, a report is usually terse crap which is no substitute for parent teacher interviews etc.

    This is pointless regulation which make teachers jobs harder. Teachers have had an exponential increase in paperwork for planning, assessment and incidents in the last 15 years.

    Leave them alone, pay them better and be more competitive for their courses and employment. Public schools should find it much easier to sack shit teachers. There is no need to get them all a M Ed., this devalues post grad quals. Its a nice idea but we know it ends in credentialism if it becomes required. Private chartered teaching quals (non compulsory)wouldn’t be a bad idea with professional development. They would be a point of difference or mark of quality for employers or their principals (parents).

    That would solve most problems post haste.

  49. Markus

    Sunday
    On the flap of my olive-grey packet of tobacco, stuff I like using,
    is a WARNING
    “Inhaling even small amounts of the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can trigger sudden blood clots, heart attacks and strokes”.
    Really?
    Who wrote this?
    A “sudden blood clot”?
    “even small amounts”?
    No wonder nobody believes anything any more.

  50. johanna

    That would solve most problems post haste.

    Yep, a note from Mr Smith’s private academy would be all it takes to get someone into university. All problems solved.

    Not.

  51. .

    I’m right. Wayne’s World is not a repository of rejoinders.

  52. .

    Markus

    Like I tried to tell Johanna and others, government is the problem.

    If you are passing tests written by liars and idiots who believe their own stupidity and lies…why bother?

  53. Turtle of WA

    Pete of Freo – dead right. In my haste I was far to easy on them. Educational research and the training of teachers as currently practiced, is huge waste of time.

    Eagles supporter likewise. I like to keep my enemies close. I identified with Andrew Breitbart for that reason – he chose to live in Hollywood, so he could stick it to the luvvies and gruppies.

  54. Pete of Freo

    = “Why aren’t we known for arts or having a lucrative film industry?” Because our domestic market isn’t big enough to support it and the taxpayer funding for both of these industries is doled out to the favored leftards and group-think wanking circles who have no idea about how to make a movie that people outside their elite little ring of mutual masturbation will voluntarily pay to go and see. Ditto “Arts”, whatever that is, because if it’s all about “the art”, artists will produce it money notwithstanding, and isn’t it all about the art?

    What schools “regimentally drum” out of the kids is the ability to think independently and rationally about anything. “Education” is a dying concept, what happens now is “schooling” and there is a vast difference between the two, similarly “capability” and “credentialism” . The best place to train teachers is in schools; better to pay someone as a Teacher’s Assistant to a mentor teacher and sent them off for blocks of whatever Ed Psych and curriculum knowledge is required. After a semester of this they’d know whether they want to be teachers or not. This may stop the flood of semi-literate halfwits currently emerging from 4 years at a “university” slavering for 6.5 contact hours and 13 weeks holiday and “Hey, no, I, like, haven’t marked it yet. Hey, It’s, like, I gotta have a life too ya know, fuck!” and “Whaddaya mean I godda write my own program, whadder youse been doing for all these years, fuck!”, and “Classroom Management, oh fuck, it’s like, yeah, they only told us to be nice to the kids.”, or my personal favourite, “Whadder you mean “do my marking now” this is my fucking DOTT time man!”

  55. .

    Well I agree with you Pete, mostly.

    What schools “regimentally drum” out of the kids is the ability to think independently and rationally about anything. “Education” is a dying concept, what happens now is “schooling” and there is a vast difference between the two, similarly “capability” and “credentialism” .

    Utterly correct. Sad but true.

    There is no reason why our creative sector has to make the majority of its sales here. Artists need to eat, and high end art is very, very lucrative. I think shitting on the arts in schools for decades goes hand in hand with the work for the dole scheme we see for actors etc in Australia (local TV) and other various scams such as the ‘straya Council.

    I know a teacher who is retraining. He loved teaching but hated how unprofessional most older teachers were and how much regulation is making more and more paperwork for him. If a kid gets hurt and there is no serious injury, it is not worth the effort writing up a report, what is the point of programming if he has to abide by the idiocy and stupidity of a rigid nationalised curriculum, etc?

  56. Carole

    I am an older teacher and not only am I entirely professional but I also have the intelligence, resilience and experience to continue teaching to a high standard, in spite of the challenges of the job, unlike your teacher friend who has sooked and is now retraining. Good riddance I say.

  57. nilk, iron bogan.rw

    Ah, today’s education for Aushtraya. Don’t get me started.

    On the first day of Grade Six, my girl had a teacher come in and the kids about ‘social justice.’ Said teacher asked the kids to put up their hands if they were passionate about ‘social justice’.

    Because a class full of 11 year-olds just back from the summer holidays are going to be all about that, I’m sure.

    When none of the kids put their hands up, she said that they must like bullying.

    I nearly fell over laughing when I heard that, and I explained to my girl that obviously the teacher is a nice, well-meaning muppet. As practising catholics we already do ‘social justice’ by looking after people who have less than us. Through charitable giving, by providing someone with shelter if they need it (some of my best friends started as strays), and other things like that. At her age, she doesn’t need to worry about it.

    Of course, next up was her homework, which gave her the task of doing a couple of online surveys.

    I could go on ad nauseum, but you get the picture. And RE is a total mishmash of waffly feelgood pretend liturgical dreaming.

    The crap our kids have to put up with is endless. If you can homeschool, I say go for it.

    /vent

  58. JohnA

    Mayan #1281907, posted on April 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

    The only thing wrong with telling them twice a year is that they’re not being told more often. One piece of education research to which I subscribe is the observation that the shorter the time between work and feedback, the better.

    Indeed, Mayan.

    My feedback loop is daily:

    No sales today = no money = no eat!

    Brutal, but effective.

  59. JohnA

    1735099 #1282171, posted on April 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    What’s the origin of Autism?
    A greater mystery is the exponential increase in its incidence.
    It has nothing to do with parenting.

    Pffft!
    A greater mystery is the exponential increase in its incidence reportage/diagnosis.

    TFTFY

    It has everything to do with the ducking of responsibility for “FAYLYA”, so I say out with the Ritalin and all the other drugs used to switch off the little brains from the boring and irrelevant stuff they have thrown at them.

    /rant

  60. JohnA

    Ellen of Tasmania #1282234, posted on April 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Really appreciate your contributions, Pete of Freo.

    +1

  61. Megan

    Peter if Freo has neatly summarised all the reasons I am no longer in the classroom. Especially the bit about schooling v education. I do not have any confidence that the new trainee teachers I have observed in recent roles are going to do anything more than continue the status quo. Some of them are barely literate or numerate themselves and they are going into a classroom? Depressing beyond measure.

  62. .

    Carole
    #1282673, posted on April 27, 2014 at 9:42 pm
    I am an older teacher and not only am I entirely professional but I also have the intelligence, resilience and experience to continue teaching to a high standard, in spite of the challenges of the job, unlike your teacher friend who has sooked and is now retraining. Good riddance I say.

    Um that’s great love, he’s a leading teacher, almost an AP and will be re-employed on a higher salary as a building certifier/quantity surveyor.

  63. MrT

    Pete of Freo you are on absolute fire…Support everything you have said.

  64. john constantine

    Autism spectrum disorder is how you pigeon hole any kid that brings bacon sandwiches to meat free monday.

    if the middle of the range is ‘green normal’ then anybody non green is ‘out there on the autism spectrum disorder scale.’

    it sometimes seems that the only people without autism spectrum disorder are the skirty sociopaths of our human resources departments.

  65. brc

    And the carrot. Well that is an easy one. Nothing you can do will get E grade students to learn by means of privileges, gold stars or medals. But one thing might. Money. So when an E grade student gets a D, give them a few hundred dollars serious dosh. When the student keeps the D, and adds another D, double it. I bet your brown booties that not only will the kid be properly motivated but their parents will be too.

    I recently watched a documentary where they tried this in LA. It wasn’t as successful as you’d think. They used to have a box of cash and students got paid in cash if they passed. Best student also won a hummer limo ride for them and their friends so they could pretend to be ‘players’. I was surprised at the results but perhaps the cash amounts were too small, or some kids are beyond help of any kind. But it wasn’t a roaring success.

    Ultimately if the entire concept of having an education is seen as uncool, it’s going to be hard to get kids to apply themselves. A lot of role models these days are very uneducated – singers, sports stars, etc. ultimately I think it all comes back to family – if there is no emphasis on education at home, what hope is there?

    People shouldn’t get too depressed though – a lot of smart cookies still coming out of the system. The whining losers fill a niche in life and will always be with us.

  66. Ripper

    Some of them are barely literate or numerate themselves and they are going into a classroom?

    My favorite wife was the librarian at the local school. She made no secret that the password on the library PC was “bureau” as she reckoned that none of the teachers could spell it.

  67. JanelleO

    Kids are not stupid and do figure out who are the “smart” kids in Primary School – but I do have to agree that giving out a FAIL grade on reports is probably not that appropriate for Primary School. When my child was in Primary School in WA – they were more interested at what “level” they were at. They were assessed each year as to their Smart Words Level and their graded maths program and given the appropriate book. There could be up to five different “levels” of books in the class and they worked in different groups. This system appeared to work. We had the benefit of not having a lot of slower readers in her cohort – and the school was able to provide small group (pairs or threes) individualised reading lessons in Year 1 and 2 to “catch” them up. The school was able to use the highly popular phys ed teacher for this which meant other kids thought they were lucky – not “stupid”. This was a state school – and a good one.

  68. .

    Agree with where everyone is going, except this:

    A lot of role models these days are very uneducated – singers, sports stars, etc.

    They actually have benefited from very specialised education.

    The difficulty is getting kids to realise good all rounded skills and knowledge will make such intense training easier to undertake.

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