A recent Twitter post from Greg Whitby struck a strong chord with me. For a number of years now I have had a problem with the gap between school improvement and improving learning. Part of my concern has been the focus on the institutional and organisational aspects of schooling.
In more recent times here in Australia this concern has been reinforced by a legislative, policy and compliance agenda. For example, the National implementation of A-E Reporting and the recent proposed policy direction of creating League Tables based on national Literacy and Numeracy tests. Much has been said elsewhere critiquing the limitations and detrimental effects of such simplistic solutions to complex problems (Geoff Masters on A-E Reporting, Ken Boston on National Testing and Reporting, Brian Caldwell on League Tables and the need for the profession to agitate).
The key to moving forward is quality teaching linked to quality learning. The institution of schooling and approaches to improving the institution of school often miss the mark and lead to the wrong conversations.
The conversations should be focused on improving learning, not on merely on improving limited measurements of achievement.
The teaching profession needs to claim the space as the learning profession - the profession that has deep and informed conversations about learning, based on deep and informed understandings of learning. These seem to be the right conversations for the teaching profession.
It makes sense to me that improved learning must lead to improved schools. However, improved schools do not always result in better learning in every classroom.
Are we having the right converations? Do we know how to have these conversations?