3 points of change

This I found interesting from Greg Whitbys YouTube. Talking about changing the system through three pressure points. It made me think that the perception gap between what ‘administrators’ are doing and teachers are ‘doing’ is out of alignment with what I’ve been hearing in Online sessions the last few weeks. I especially like the comments about the strategy to put ‘mentors’ in schools to help develop teachers and support them. This would give a clear indication to the classroom teacher that they are connected to policy directors – often people that we never meet. On the the other hand, I think that there are now so many teachers doing amazing things in their classrooms that their line managers do not know about, so they may be pleasantly suprised when this alignment takes place. I hope that this message and approach is adopted – getting mentors into classrooms to train, support and deliver is a critical link – not just as one off PD, but ongoing support with regualar follow ups.

One of the great strengths of the New Tech Foundation (PBL) is that school teachers in that ‘network’ have IM access to each other, and more importantly to mentors and senior foundation staff.

I don’t think that we are there yet in terms of transparent communication between teacher, mentor and executive – but this video points to the fact that it’s on the agenda, which is great!

3 thoughts on “3 points of change

  1. Dskmag, this is a comment I just posted on Greg Whitby’s bluyonder site.

    “I think Dskmag you have really hit on something. If change is to take hold it must come from below. Change imposed from above never works as it is seen as another imposition (and it often is) as teachers struggle with all the other nonsense associated with teaching (again, imposed from above) that actually takes them away from ‘teaching’. Teachers often spend more time justifying what and how they teach than actually preparing for teaching. This is the same with 21st century learning and its ‘environment’. Teachers are open to change but when? In their own time! And this is exactly when they’re learning, experimenting and developing web 2.0 skills despite being overwhlemed by the growing amount of ‘necessary’ paraphernalia deemed significant and important to teaching by management!

    We know it is the teachers themselves driving change- a change that is organic, spontaneous and sometimes inflammatory to superiors who will find it harder to ‘control’ teachers in cyberspace in the ways they have done up until now – the old carrot and the stick story! Why chase and eat their carrot when its everywhere?

    Change in education is inevitable and welcome but the innovators are the teachers themselves not administrators; even those administrators who claim to be ‘innovative’ are constrained by the ‘system’ they strive (or claim) to change with all its foibles, intracacies and constraints- egos and agendas aside! The answer? Devolution. Devolving from the centre until it fades away into a useful, supportive, and constructive agency that scaffolds the change already happening. Centralised control and organisation of teachers and their resources is looking more and more outdated. The ‘centrists’, struggle as they may, are the ones being left behind as teachers organise themselves. Why do you need centralisation anyway? It wastes resources. Resources that are better directed towards the schools themselves. This is particularly true when it comes to e-resources and learning platforms. Why do you need an expensive centralised leviathan which, as it grows, only grows slower, more expensive to maintain, and cumbersome (e.g. like editure’s ‘mysuite’). All that is required is reliable internet access at a school level and someone designated (and possibly paid) within the ‘system’ to invite those interested parties within and without the system to the professional networking sites, the forums, the e-conferences, and to world of web 2.0.

    That is the future. We can see it, taste it, and we want it. So it is time for all administrations to either rationalise, evolve and devolve or get out of our way. In the interim we’ll continue to bypass you (like we already do)!”

    What do you think?

  2. Wow, Before any real change is going to happen in the creation of Classroom2.0, we have to ‘deconstruct’ the way in which ‘administrators’ enable/allow professional development. That is so true.

    I agree with the LMS. Massive investment in walled gardens is all so un-necessary now, and yes, they cost a fortune to buy into and maintain. There are better ways. If anything they give teachers the wrong message of how to use technology to scaffold learning. There are better ways, and most LMS are concerned with a linear control flow.

    I stand by my statement that the teachers who are accepting and noticing how technology changes learning – are doing it without any system recognition, in their own time and with great effect.

    Recently, Ive been in Elluminate (Knowledge Conference) and when over 100 teachers attend – because they want to – then less than 2% are from ‘the system’.

    To my mind, adminstrators see the output of the ecosystem via blogs. They are largely not part of the conversation that caused it – unless like this post – bloggers are reflecting on administrators.

    The old model of administrators using pan optic vision of ‘their staff’ no longer works. As they can’t see what is happening in so many social spaces spontaneously. To go an seek the view of others ‘looking at’ is also floored, as teachers are not interested in, or need to, hear about the next step in their PD from the administration.

    So while administrators might think that teachers need to be managed into Classroom2.0 – many in fact are already there – but this is invisible to anyone who is not part of the ecosystem. As Shirky points out so well, we don’t need to be organised – in order to organise.

    Thanks for the great comment, it would be a brave move by any administration to deconstruct PD as we know it, walk away from LMS systems (so heavily invested in) – as it may reflect a ‘failure’.

    And my sense of what is happening is – teachers have no personal investment in that approach, and are simply getting on with it. It might be 5% of teachers – but that is still a significant number given the history of how we’ve experienced PD and been told to use technology in the past.

    I know in my school, for a long time, I was a lone (slightly annoying) advocate – but this year, there are teachers trying new things, and the networks they are connecting to, are not from ‘head office’ but the ecosystem. I feel fortunate, in that my principal backs PD that comes from left field, but I also think that he sees that ‘official PD methods’ are no longer the only option.

    Thanks again, great conversation!

  3. For so long teachers have had such constrained view of what professional development is. Going to ‘the pd’ to get ‘the handouts’ and to eat ‘the muffins’ does still prevail in a certain set of teachers’ minds. However, i do believe that this mindset is changing. In any case, it simply has to because of the changes in education that are going to happen.

    In the next few years, this change may occur because of the mandated teacher registration process in schools. Whatever flaws this system, in itslef, has .. one thing that i think it will do is to get teachers to contemplate professional practice in a more conscious way. Sure, some will still check all the boxes to ensure they’ve clocked up their hours of PD but a teachers start to realise that professional learning is not just aout the conference, there will be change.

    As an aside, I have been thinking about how the how training teachers will perceive the attitudes of these not wanting to take responsibility for their learning. (Ironically, these people would not be in support of decentralisation, as noted above because it’s a system that effectively protects them / comforts them). In any case , the way teacher education is ( not through the fault of the teacher educators themselves but through the appalling funding set aside to higher education) where student teachers are basically unsupported in infrastructure – these are the guys who will realise that they will have to be the ones who take responsibility for their professional learning. As usual, only a half-baked theory, but after Friday morning, when i addressed 200 trainee primary educators (with only one staff member present!!!) I got the distinct feeling that these people coped tremendously under pathetic circumstances – and therefore are going to be the ones who will cope when it comes to being responsible for their own PL. But of course they will last only 4 years, after which their professional learning will educate them that perhaps there are opportunities and industries that revere the whole idea of professional ad personal leanring!

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