Opening up thinking about education today for tomorrow - Imagining possibilities and solutions

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Assessment is for Learning

Had a very interesting discussion about the assessment agenda.

Some food for thought:
1. The focus is people and developing practice rather than creating a product. Therefore, teachers talking with teachers. There is value in bringing together teachers who are the next step ahead with teachers who one step behind (If that makes sense!)

2. I liked this term: "The attainment dream". The belief that by focusing on attainment standards will be driven up. It has in fact led to deprofessionalising of teachers, the developemnt of a "jumping through hoops" mentality, and teaching to the test.

Timetable for LT Scotland

Below is my timetable for my visit to Learning Teaching Scotland. It is very comprehensive. Martin Jack (Jacky) has been most hospitable and welcoming during my visit here.

Martin Jack Welcome and overview of visit
Margaret Clarke General overview of LT Scotland
Christine Twine Citizenship
Marie Dougan Masterclass, Heads Together (ICT)
Stuart Ritchie Curriculum current directorate

Norman Emerson Assessment is for learning
Joe McLoughlin Literacy and numeracy
Alistair Cairns Post Primary Education

A Curriculum for excellence focus group with head teachers
May Sweeney A curriculum for Excellence

Eileen Carmichael Early Years (3years - 5 years)
Ken Coulter Religious observance
John Connell SSDN

Friday, May 19, 2006

LT Scotland -Part 2

I have just come out of some very intersesting conversations about ICT and e-learning and a conversation with Stuart Ritchie about LT Scotland and its remit.

1. ICT
Some very interesting work being done with developing ICT skills in teachers competent in the use of ICT in classrooms. The work seems to have been very effective. There has also been significant work done with developing headteachers as leaders of learning in the use of ICT.

A question emerged for me: If technology mediates the lives of our students, to what extent does it mediate our lives/my life as an adult? If ICT is limited in my life and my learning then how can I provide leadership around its use in learning for schools?

2. Conversation with Stuart Ritchie, Director - Curiculum Present
Stuart, formerly one of HM Inspectors, is the a director with Learning Teaching Scotland. A major focus of his work ar the recommendations from the Scottish document, A Curriculum for Excellence, which is seeing to address issues of overcrowded curriculum, personalisation and choice, depth in learning.

A number of issues were discussed. It was great from a professional learning point of view.
Some of these issues included:
1. Use of networks in developing professional knowledge
2. What is an effective network? (no answers to this one yet!)
3. Tensions that can exist at a system level between quality assurance and moderation of standards, school improvement and supporting the development of learning and taeching
4. Promoting innovation and creativity doesn't necessarily equate with reduced standards

Thursday, May 18, 2006

LT Scotland

Am in Glasgow. A fabulous city upon first glance. Have been at LT Scotland for a few hours. I am finding it tremendously exciting and inspiring. Ian Gamble suggested that I include LT Scotland in my trip. I'll have four days here all up.

They have a structure that is focused on learning and teaching in terms of current curriculum, futures curriculum and ICT. All very exciting.

Check out LTScotland's web site!!! One of the best around I think.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

David Frost - my host whilst in Cambridge

David works in the Faculty of Education in Cambridge. The faculty works in partership with the the Hertfordshire LEA and its schools in a network called HertsCam. Teachers undertake either a certificate or a Masters level work in Teacher-Led Development Work. The programme is designed to assist teachers in engaging in the work of school improvement within the context of their classrooms.

On the Saturday there was a gradution ceremony. David invited me to join up with him and some of his colleagues. A facinating ceremony involving the College where the student was based, processions through the town to the Senate building where the award ceremony was conducted in Latin. There is no clapping or photography. A curious tradition to be maintained.

Some arty Cambridge pics

Sir John Lawes School

Sir John Lawes Scool is a comprhensive secondary school in Hertfordshire with specialist schools status for creative arts and ICT. Jo Mylles (pictured) is one of the Assistant Heads and has been a key player for promoting teacher led development work with a focus on school improvement. What struck me most about this secondary school was the focus on learning for students and staff. The teachers I met with were very passionate about teaching and demonstrated a strong commitment to school improvement for student learning.

Cambridge punting

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