Light Offerings

School Week 3: Beliefs underpin student and teacher contribution at the heart of school

Posted by jturner56 on August 24, 2014

This week we settled into the routine of school. This included starting our fourth year of our Digital Ambassadors‘ program,da2 where each Middle Year’s class contained students who volunteered to support and connect on all things digital. Belief in student voice, and belief by students that they can contribute, underpins a strong school culture.

Also important is teacher belief that students have an active role to play. I’m sure, though, that as teachers caned students in the 60s they (in most cases) thought they had their students’ best interests in mind. If not, I hate to think what might have been their rationale.

In more modern times, yesterday I overheard in a coffee shop a teacher considering their students primarily in terms of what problems and homework needed to be set (to be answered on paper), judging by “what works for me” and observing that “only some kids can self-monitor.”

John Hattie’s oft-referenced research identifies teacher mindframes as one of the most important issues for school education. So as one considers student-centered learning (AITSL 2014) one should know that teacher inclusion is required if anything worthwhile is to be achieved. External “solutions” cannot succeed (and have not succeeded for many years) if teachers mindframes are not taken into account. Using common mindframes as justification can lead to segmented thinking. Team development needs to be integral to any organisation building worthwhile capacity, as recognised in a recent Forbes article. School have a role to play by leading by example.

Understanding why or why not digital works in a school ihas a lot to do with teacher mindframes and how they interact. Perhaps a good reference is Levitt and Dubner’s (2014) Think Like a Freak that identifies several steps to help move forward. These include “learning to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day.”

Finally the importance of leadership was reinforced this week by research into online professional development. It found that while self-discipline, motivation & self-regulation are known to be success factors for online teacher professional development, school Principal expectations are equally as important.

Beliefs matter! So does strategy!

Week 1: Bridges
Week 2: Busyness
Week 3: Beliefs




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