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The wisdom of pedagogy and the perpetual newness of teaching - Long View on Education
"The wisdom of pedagogy and the perpetual newness of teaching
longviewoneducation.org · by Benjamin Doxtdator · September 13, 2017
I am now well past those initial first few years of teaching, comfortable in my own skin and still learning. Into my tenth year in a classroom, and my 6th year at the International School of Brussels, I have seen colleagues make it through their first five years in the profession. And we all know that myth about teacher improvement: after the first three to five years, there’s not much left.

There is a whole teacher management literature based around the premise that teachers need to be pushed to change. Since I’m well past being a new teacher, this passage about mid-career teachers by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan leapt out at me:

“We focus on the first three years to get teachers going. And then we focus on the people who may sometimes prove difficult at the end. We think we can leave the people in the middle alone. If we leave them alone, though, there’s the danger that things become too easy, that they won’t stretch themselves. And then we’re headed for a worrying end, and instead of quiet ones or disenchanted ones or especially renewed ones, we find ourselves dealing with reprobates — and we created them. We need to focus more on the teachers in the middle and to keep challenging and stretching them.”
While I’d rather not become a reprobate in my later career, I also don’t feel in need of someone to challenge or stretch me. Besides my students, that is. I’m eager to learn from others, and appreciate when my colleagues enter my room in the middle of class to see what’s going on. I want to hear advice, to collaborate on designing better assessments, to re-think my decisions in the classroom.

Let me explain my essential disagreement with Hargreaves and Fullan: drawing on business management models translates into constructing unhelpful teacher management models. As one of the caring professions, teaching involves coming to know and care about the people we serve, and there is a perpetual newness there. We constantly need to adjust to the particular individuals in our care, and as we form relationships, we have a strong internal motivation to improve our practice. We don’t want to ‘do better’ in the abstract, but to do better by those that we care about and educate. In other words, there’s no need to get us to identify with a company brand and mantra so that we internalize targets for growth.

And all too often we are presented with the wrong targets for growth: test scores and evaluations. It’s quite possible that the quantitative culture, combined with a general tendency to blame schools for many social and economic issues, leads to those ‘reprobates’. I wonder if instead of mid-career stretching, many people need continuous career care."



"The wisdom of pedagogy is something lived, like the appreciation of a song or insight into another person, not something we can capture in statement, check off in an evaluation, or find on google. The wisdom of pedagogy is about starting from a place of trust and opportunity, something easier said than lived, and it’s what teachers deserve, too."
benjamindoxtdator  2017  socialmedia  education  learning  pedagogy  care  caring  trust  opportunity  anthonycody  andyhargreaves  michaelfullan  teaching  schools  professionaldevelopment 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Education Gurus | the édu flâneuse
"Knowledge and advice for schools and about education often seem to exist in a world of commodification and memeification. There is plenty of disagreement and debate in education, and plenty of competition on bookshelves and in conference programs. Educators and academics position themselves as brands via bios, photographs, and certification badges. As an educator and a researcher I have those whose work I follow closely; academics, for instance, whose presence affects me when I meet them because their reputation and body of work precede them.

In education, we have perceived gurus. These are people who have become ubiquitous in education circles, at education conferences, and in education literature. Teachers and school leaders scramble to get tickets to their sessions and to get photographic evidence of having met them. Their words are tweeted out in soundbites ad infinitum (or is that ad nauseum?), and made into internet memes. Sometimes these individuals partner with publishers or education corporates, and so the visibility and reach of their work grows. They become the scholars or experts most cited in staff rooms, at professional learning water coolers, and in job interviews when asked how research informs practice.

Sometimes, these gurus are teachers or principals who have gained a large following on social media and subsequently a monolithic profile. Often, they are academics who have built up bodies of work over many years, becoming more and more well-known along the way, and eventually being perceived as celebrities or gurus. Yesterday I had the pleasure of learning from Dylan Wiliam, firstly at a day long seminar, and then at my school. At one point the seminar organisers apologised for running out of Wiliam’s books, acknowledging the desire of delegates to have the book signed.

Marten Koomen has traced networks of influencers in Australian education organisations. In his new paper ‘School leadership and the cult of the guru: the neo-Taylorism of Hattie’, Scott Eacott challenges the rise of the edu guru, those academics whose work is ubiquitous and influential to the point of being uncritically accepted and canonised. Eacott pushes back against the ‘what works’ mentality in education, in which educators are sold ‘what works’ and encouraged to slavishly apply it to their own contexts. Jon Andrews, too, questions the unquestioning way in which the loudest and most prominent voices become the accepted voices. Meta-analysis and meta-meta-analysis, often translated into league tables of ‘what works’ in education, have been the subject of criticism. George Lilley and Gary Jones have both questioned meta-analysis on their blogs. I’ve written about cautions surrounding the use of meta-analysis in education, especially when it drives clickbait headlines and a silver-bullet mentality of having the answers without having to ask any questions. Yesterday Wiliam made his oft-repeated points: that everything works somewhere, nothing works everywhere, and context matters. A guru cannot provide easy answers in education, as education is too complex and contextual for that.

Much of this conversation around the rise of the edu guru has surrounded John Hattie, although he is by no means the only globally renowned education expert likely to make conference delegates weak at the knees. I was personally uncomfortable when he was beamed in via video link to last year’s ACEL conference and began to give an ‘I have a dream’ speech about education. As an English and Literature teacher I understand the power of rhetoric and analogy to persuade and inspire, but appropriating the legacy and words of Dr Martin Luther King Junior seemed a way to gospelise a personal brand of education reform.

I don’t think that education experts, no matter how influential they become, should encourage the uncritical acceptance of their ideas as dogma, or present themselves as the bringers of the One True Thing To Rule All Things of and for education. As Dylan Wiliam, channelling Ben Goldacre, repeatedly said yesterday, “I think you’ll find it’s a little more complicated than that.”

I wonder how perceived gurus feel about being guru-ised by the education masses. In part the famous and the infamous in education are so because of their actions: accepting more and more speaking gigs, performing the game of publishing and promoting their work. Most, I would guess, do this for the same reason someone like me speaks and publishes. To contribute to education narratives and change those narratives, hopefully for the better. To be of service to the profession and the field. To explore and wrestle with ideas, trying to find ways to make sense of the complexity of education in order to improve the learning of students and the lives of teachers and school leaders.

I wondered about the rise to gurudom and the moral obligation of the academic celebrity figure last year when at AERA I saw a panel in which four educational heavy hitters—Andy Hargreaves, Michael Fullan, Linda Darling-Hammond and Diane Ravitch—all advocating for the moral imperative of educational research and practice. They spoke of lifetime journeys of work intended to make the world a better and more just place. I wondered at the time about how much an early career academic can be brave and resistant in their work, as they try to build a career via the performative pressures of the academe. Can only the guru, free from institutional performativities and the financial pressures often associated with early career academia, say what they really want to say and do the work and writing they really want to do?

I don’t think experts in education are dangerous. We need expertise and people willing to commit their lives and work to making sense of and making better the world of education and learning. But in a world where teachers and school leaders are busy racing on the mouse wheels of their own performative pressures, we need to figure out ways to support and facilitate sceptical and critical engagement with research. Even those who are highly influential and highly admired need to have their work engaged with closely and critically. The danger comes when experts become so guru-fied that the words they use become part of an unthinking professional vernacular, used by educators who haven’t looked behind the curtain or beneath the book cover."
cultofpersonality  edugurus  education  australia  newzealand  2017  deborahnetolicky  learning  research  andyhargreaves  michaelfullan  lindadarling-hammond  dianeravitch  academia  dylanwiliam  bengoldacre  scotteacott  matenkoomen  influence  leadership  thoughtleaders  neo-taylorism  schools  georgelilley  garyjones  jonandrews  bestpractices  echochambers  expertise  experts 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Education Debates — davidcayley.com
"Sometime in the 1990's I received a long letter from a teacher named Alex Lawson, asking me to consider doing an Ideas series on the state of education. The letter impressed me by its sincerity, and by the sense of urgency its author clearly felt, but I found the idea somewhat daunting. The subject inspires such endless controversy, and such passion, that I could immediately picture the brickbats flying by my ears. I also worried that my views were too remote from the mainstream to allow me to treat the subject fairly. My three younger children, to that point, had not attended school, and my reading and inclination had made me more interested in de-schooling than in the issues then vexing the school and university systems, which I tended to see as artefacts of obsolete structures. Nevertheless Alex and I kept in touch, and I gradually became able to pictures the pathways such a series might open up. Thinking of it as a set of "debates" or discussions, without getting too stuck on a tediously pro and con dialectical structure, allowed me to reach out very widely and include the heretics with the believers. The series was broadcast, in fifteen parts, 1998 and 1999. I re-listened to it recently, and I think it holds me pretty well. There are a few anachronisms, but my dominant impression was plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Alex Lawson, whose ardour and persistence inspired the whole thing, appears in the third programme of the set. De-schooling gets its day in programmes seven through nine.

This series Inspired a letter I have never forgotten, from a retired military man in rural New Brunswick, who wrote to me afterwards that I had "performed a noble service for our country." I was touched, not only that he saw nobility in what I had done, but that he could see that I had attempted to open up the question of education and provide a curiculum for its study rather than trying to foreclose or settle it.

The series had a large cast of characters whom I have listed below.

Part One, The Demand for Reform: Sarah Martin, Maureen Somers, Jack Granatstein, Andrew Nikiforuk, Heather Jane Robertson
[embedded in this post]

Part Two, A New Curriculum: E.D. Hirsch, Neil Postman
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-two ]

Part Three, Don’t Shoot the Teacher: Alex Lawson, Daniel Ferri, Andy Hargreaves
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-three ]

Part Four, School Reform in the U.S.: Deborah Meier, Ted Sizer
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-four ]

Part Five, Reading in an Electronic Age, Carl Bereiter, Deborrah Howes, Frank Smith, David Solway
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-five ]

Part Six, Schooling and Technology: Bob Davis, Marita Moll, Carl Bereiter
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-six ]

Part Seven, Deschooling Society: Paul Goodman, Ivan Illich, John Holt
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-seven ]

Part Eight, Deschooling Today: John Holt, Susannah Sheffer, Chris Mercogliano
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-eight ]

Part Nine, Dumbing Us Down: Frank Smith, John Taylor Gatto
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-nine ]

Part Ten, Virtues or Values: Edward Andrew, Peter Emberley, Iain Benson
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-ten ]

Part Eleven, Common Culture, Multi-Culture: Charles Taylor, Bernie Farber, Bob Davis
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-eleven ]

Part Twelve, The Case for School Choice: Mark Holmes, Adrian Guldemond, Joe Nathan, Andy Hargreaves, Heather Jane Robertson
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-twelve ]

Part Thirteen, Trials of the University: Jack Granatstein, Paul Axelrod, Michael Higgins, Peter Emberley
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-thirteen ]

Part Fourteen, On Liberal Studies: Clifford Orwin, Leah Bradshaw, Peter Emberley
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/2/the-education-debates-part-fourteen ]

Part Fifteen, Teaching the Conflicts: Martha Nussbaum, Gerald Graff"
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/2/the-education-debates-part-fifteen ]

[find them here too: http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/?category=Education+Debates ]
education  learning  schooling  schools  paulgoodman  ivanillich  johnholt  johntaylorgatto  marthanussbaum  geraldgraff  peteremberley  cliffordorwin  dvidcayley  teaching  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  compulsory  tedsizer  deborahmeier  edhirsch  alexlawson  danielferri  ndyhargreaves  davidsolway  franksmith  deborrahhowes  carlbereiter  bobdavis  maritamoll  institutions  institutionalization  radicalism  susannahsheffer  chrismercogliano  edwardandrew  iainbenson  berniefarber  charlestaylor  markholmes  adrianguldemond  joenathan  andyhargreaves  heatherjanerobertson  highered  highereducation  leahbradshaw  sarahmartin  maureensomers  jackgranatstein  andrewnikiforuk  technology  edtech 
may 2017 by robertogreco

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