Thursday, August 13, 2009

Education reform via Charter schools?

We must consider radical ideas in education reform
Jennifer Buckingham a research fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies discusses the need for reform to improve education for our most disadvantaged children.
Indigenous children who live in very remote Queensland have failure rates of 58 per cent. A further 28 per cent just meet the minimum benchmark in reading. That's a rate eight times higher than the national average.
One idea is Charter schools.
Read more here

The Charter Connection from The Centre for Education Reform provides more details on Charter schools in the US.
Charter schools are...

* innovative public schools
* designed by educators, parents or civic leaders
* open and attended by choice
* free from most rules and regulations governing conventional public schools
* and accountable for results.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Imagining the future of the school library

Imagining the future of the School Library

Without a doubt, the school library remains one of them most symbolic, protected, and expensive ’spaces’ on any campus. But will future designers of school libraries be recreating sacred book spaces of the past or will technology and the ‘consumer’ inspire new design strategies for the future?
With this in mind, DesignShare spoke with 2 passionate library experts — Doug Johnson and Rolf Erikson — to gain better insight into serving the information needs of students, schools, and communities via the future of school library planning and design. Doug is the author of The Indispensable Librarian: Surviving (And Thriving) in School Media Centers and the Blue Skunk Blog; Rolf is the lead author of Designing A School Library Media Center for the Future.

Welcome to the Library say goodbye to the books
The article is about Cushing Academy's move from a traditional library to a learning centre.
Instead of a traditional library with 20,000 books, we’re building a virtual library where students will have access to millions of books,’’ said Tracy, whose office shelves remain lined with books. “We see this as a model for the 21st-century school.
As part of this plan administrators plan to distribute the electronic book readers, which they’re stocking with digital material, to students looking to spend more time with literature.

Alternative new teacher training/education models

The Underpinning Knowledge Bases of an Alternative Teacher Education Model
From 1999 the Faculty of Education at the University of Wollongong has run an alternative model of teacher education known as the Knowledge Building Community (KBC) Project. This program has been acclaimed nationally. What makes this program so unique is its design that abandons the traditional model of teacher education that consists of lectures and tutorials; instead this alternative model of teacher education is based on several underpinning pillars of professional knowledge. The KBC program has been described as a “negotiated evaluation of a non-negotiable curriculum based on a constructivist model of learning and knowledge building”. However, the basic aim of this program is to deal with the perennial problem of contextualising students’ professional learning, by linking abstract theory as closely as possible to the contexts and settings to which it is applied, i.e. the primary school classroom.

The role of teacher training schools in the basic education of Finnish teachers.
Discusses the role of teacher training schools (TTSs) in the basic education of Finnish teachers. Advantages of TTSs for practical training; Problems of TTSs; Future of Finnish TTSs.

Employment based teacher training
Employment-based teacher training (EBTT) comprises training programmes that allow trainees to work in a school and follow an individual training programme leading to qualified teacher status (QTS). The school pays the trainee as an unqualified teacher.

Apprentice teacher scheme attacked
Teenagers with just a handful of GCSE passes are to be recruited to secondary schools to work as teaching assistants. The Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, wants to recruit more than 4,000 apprentices to work full-time in schools. They would work as teaching assistants with youngsters up to the age of 14. If they liked the job, they would be able to train as teachers.

Teacher training scheme praised
Inspectors have heaped praise on a training scheme which is helping to produce some of the best young teachers in Leicestershire. The project, started by a group of primary schools, has trained 100 new recruits to teaching, and many of them have already gone on to successfully teach thousands of children in the city and rest of the county.
Normally people who have finished a degree and want to become a teacher go on to a postgraduate course in education at a university.
But graduates of Leicester's Scitt (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training) spend much of their time in the classroom, and it is this that has so impressed Ofsted.

Apprenticeship for Teaching: Professional Development Issues Surrounding the Collaborative Relationship Between Teachers and Paraeducators

The collaborative apprenticeship model: Situated professional development within school settings
Professional learning is a social enterprise where peers rely on the expertise and support of one another to adopt innovative practices. Reciprocal interactions in a community of practice, where teachers take responsibility for each other’s learning and development, may provide an effective means of supporting situated professional learning. We propose a collaborative apprenticeship model featuring reciprocal interactions as an approach to promote professional development, encouraging peer-teachers to serve as modelers and coaches of strategies and ideas aimed at improving instruction. collaborative apprenticeship is designed to help teachers learn and implement new teaching skills and strategies through four development phases, beginning with implementation of best practices from a mentor to the development of their own. Teachers, in turn, contribute new ideas to their teaching environment and become future mentors in order to sustain skills and strategies across a community of teachers. In addition to the model, we discuss various influences related to affect, beliefs, environment, culture, cognition, and personality that characterize the nature of reciprocal interactions in order to stimulate collaborative apprenticeship.

Web­based Cognitive Apprenticeship Model for Improving Pre­service teachers performances and attitudes towards instructional planning
Through web-based conferencing, the expert teacher leads pre-service teachers to observe his/her cognitive modeling displayed by web-based multimedia and guides them to
constructing initial conceptual models of how to write and implement an instructional plan. During this procedure, web-based multimedia is used to demonstrate the cognitive modeling of an expert teacher in a real
classroom context by simultaneously presenting the instructional plan and the video case for the expert teacher’s articulation of why and how to write the instructional plan, or the instructional plan and the video case about teaching demos based on the instructional plan. Moreover, through issues posed in discussion forums, expert teachers guide pre-service teachers to focus on key points of cognitive modeling displayed by web-based multimedia and to share ideas with others. Finally, by interacting with expert teachers and peers in the internet chat room, pre-service teachers construct their own personal conceptual models through sharing, debating, modifying, and discussing.

Does School-Based Initial Teacher Training Affect Secondary School Performance?
(Citation only but its findings interesting from abstract)
This article investigates the effects of trainee teachers on secondary school student outcomes. The additional resources which schools receive from being involved in teacher training offer them an opportunity to raise standards, but this has to be set against the possible losses due to school students being taught by inexperienced beginning teachers and the diversion of mentors' efforts away from the classroom. Inspection evidence is used to assess whether trainee teachers affect school students' test and examination results. The findings of this research are that the number of trainees has no significant effect on school results at A-level or General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), or on the overall value added between Key Stage 3 and GCSE level. However, at Key Stage 3 level at age 14, while there appears to be a very small depressing effect on achievement in schools with low numbers of trainees, there is a significant positive effect on achievement in schools with larger numbers of trainees. (Contains 3 figures and 3 tables.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stephen Heppell on school design

Building learning futures: a research project at ultralab within the CABE/RIBA "Building Futures" programme, Stephen Heppell et al, 2004
This report focuses directly onto the evolution of pedagogy in the school sector and its implications for design. It contains details drawn from the most eclectic of sources over a full year; it offers some solid recommendations which need to be
acted on and it offers some lightly drawn scenarios to provide a provocation for the many creative people involved in this whole debate.

Learning Environments of the future, Stephen Heppell et al, 2004.
This report looks at the influences impacting on the effectiveness of the
design process: changing pedagogy; new technologies; political policy and will.