There are teachers and leaders who believe that researchers have little to do with their classroom practice, but the reality is that what researchers do has a direct effect on everything that happens in the classroom. We may think that we work in silent protest to research but the reality is that it all trickles down into our little casual corner called our classrooms and schools. And we should stop being blithely unaware of it all.
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What I would like to see in this process is a way to connect the dots from the beginning to the end of the manuscript. Something open that allows the author to detail the path taken from the genesis of the piece to the end result. This would allow scholars to post grant funding statements, researcher notes, open data, revisions, and other materials and connect this to the overall result. Viewers of the final published version would be able to look back through the links and chain of documentation to see the work that was embedded in this resultant piece.
This is far from just a story about a haircut. It's also a story of the inevitable tension between powerful school councils and the communities they serve. Should a school pursue a change agenda it thinks will benefit the community of tomorrow if the community of today – and yesterday – isn't happy about it? To what extent should today's students and parents dictate the direction in which a school heads?
It's also a story about the ongoing struggle at schools everywhere between pursuing academic success and the health and happiness of their charges. And finally, it's about people power, 21st-century style: how a group of children and their parents used a combination of traditional and social media to force those at the top of their institution to listen. Shocked to find that, despite paying up to $32,000 per student in annual fees, they had no power over the decisions of the council and principal, the school community went rogue, enlisting the power of the media to assert their claim – and win.
Spearheaded by year 12 leaders, the campaign is feverishly adopted by students across the senior school. Adept with technology, the kids set up an online petition, which quickly gathered more than 6000 signatures, and an Instagram account with even more followers and its own hashtag, #bringbrownieback. A co-author of this piece, Henrietta Cook, has the electronic invites to her wedding hacked and a message added for some of her guests: “Evict … the school council and principal.” Choppers hover over the school as TV journalists stake out spots at the entrance for their live crosses.
Bruce Dixon adds his own commentary on this, especially in regards to power and agency.
The Trinity case offers an insight into the current state of education, with a balance between wellbeing and academic results, as well as private verses public:
Striking the right balance between students’ wellbeing and academic results is something every school worries about. Dr Mark Merry, the head of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and also the principal of Yarra Valley Grammar, says the rise of performance data, including NAPLAN and ATAR league tables, has made schools more publicly accountable than ever before. Choosing between a focus on intellect and identity is fraught with tension. “Are you getting the balance right? Everyone agonises over this,” Merry says. “You can’t hold your hand on your heart and say you got it right all the time.”
It is also a story of old boys and old power holding onto the past (and their blazers):
Parents might not rank alumni as a top priority, but the old boys’ network – which runs events, helps with fundraising and has a network of sporting teams – plays an important role in the lives of many former students, including Thomas Hudson. The 29-year-old corporate banker with curly red hair feels deeply about his old school. “I care about Trinity because I want others to have the same experience that I did,” he explains. Hudson was among dozens of former students who squeezed into their school blazers for a community meeting at Hawthorn Town Hall. It was here that the old boys threatened legal action if the council didn’t resign.
Cook shares the extremes that people go to get people into these schools:
Parents at similar schools around the country have been known to try enrolling their unborn children – using the day of their scheduled C-section as the date of birth – only to be told that the child does in fact need to be physically born. Even the review of Brown’s dismissal had a top-end-of-town flavour. This was no little internal inquiry but an external investigation headed by a former Federal Court judge and a commercial barrister. Would public interest in such a spat be as high if it had unfolded at a state school in Melbourne’s outer north, or in Sydney’s far west?
Interestingly, the rush to ‘private’ is supposedly flat-lining.
The glaring contradiction in the report, as I see it, its that it asks for massive changes to an assembly-line reality by advocating for more assessment assembly-lines. Ken Boston in his recent commentary speaks to this by advocating that this is a “evolution not a revolution.” What is missing from this argument for learning progressions is the assumption that learning can be standardized across children. Chunking a NAPLAN component a day or week turns teachers into test givers and paper pushers rather than gifted learning scientists negotiating each child’s journey through the curriculum so that they are engaged and inspired, not lab rats.
I’ll continue to blog here at EdTech Factotum. The only difference is now this will just be a regular ol’ blog and there won’t be any newsletters emailed to you fine folks. I’ll still post the occasional summary of what I read here. And you can still follow along via the RSS feed (remember those?), Twitter, or my EdTech Factotum Facebook page.
"In our 'news' today we can see the tattler, the party pamphlet, the recondite journal of opinion, the yellow rag, the journal of commerce, the sob sister, the literary journal, and the progressive muckraker."
The 1940s to 1980s were a golden age for newspaper owners to make money and journalists to make news. But they were only a golden age for a certain group of people. Many citizens — women and African-Americans, to take just two examples — often did not see themselves in news reporting and had few opportunities to shape it. It is no surprise that most of those writing the laments for times gone by are white men. Those men have long practiced such lamentations. Even in the 1980s, discussions at the American Society for Newspaper Editors were filled with a “persistent nostalgia for a mythic golden age when news was better made and better respected by the public.”
Cory Doctorow touches upon the association between newspapers and advertising in a recent interview for …
The General Data Protection Regulation is coming into force.
These tougher rules on data protection were approved by the EU Parliament in April 2016, but a lot of us didn’t hear about them back then. Perhaps you first heard GDPR mentioned in discussions about recent controversies to do with the questionable use of people’s data.
Or maybe it was when you started receiving a deluge emails.
But what is GDPR, and why should we care about it? And could these new regulations impact our health? What happens with our medical data now?
To help answer these questions, Jordan Erica Webber is joined by the Guardian’s technology reporter, Alex Hern, and Dr Rachel Birch of the Medical Protection Society.