Bookmarked The education minister’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea* (

When will governments learn their lesson? Worksheets won’t fix workload crisis.

Alison Bedford and Naomi Barnes respond to the proposal to produce centralised planning resources as a means alleviating pressure. They discuss problems with past projects, such as Curriculum to Classroom (C2C) reforms, whether it be limits to the resources, copyright requirements, and safe options. The issue they suggest is not planning, but workload.

The clear and obvious solution to relieving pressure on teachers is an ongoing investment in additional staff: learning support experts, sports and arts co-curricular supervisors, and professional pastoral staff.  Recognising teachers’ professional expertise as educators and giving them the time to do their core business well is the real answer to the teaching crisis, not handing out another worksheet.

Jo Lambert raises similar concerns responding to pressures around recruiting when there are still structural issues at play:

We have a teacher workforce issue without a doubt. We need more teachers urgently. But some of us are nervous about recruiting new teachers at the same time as we are sorting out their workplace conditions.

Gill Light also shares a teacher’s perspective on how to fix the teacher shortage, including career structure, raise the profile, change the model, and letting teachers’ teach.

Bookmarked Teachers the fall guys for a failing system by Jenny Gore, Nicole Mockler (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Proposed changes to education policy – like performance pay for teachers – are unlikely to work if systemic problems and societal factors continue to be ignored.

Jenny Gore and Nicole Mockler respond to the current crisis in education. They question such call performance pay and quality teachers, arguing that this overlooks the systemic challenges of inequity in our communities. This is something that they have written in depth about elsewhere. What is needed is investment in teaching and an effort to raise the status across the board.

This is something that Gabbie Stroud also explores:

Why does a teacher shortage occur? Ultimately, it’s because our education system is operating under a business model which treats students and parents as customers and teachers as expendable workers expected to function as told, rather than as autonomous professionals tasked with the unique and complex responsibility of guiding young people’s learning.

Liked Paving a smooth career pathway for students by Brett Henebery (The Educator)

St Luke’s Catholic College in Sydney is employing the use of Life Coaches from Innerzone to work with teachers, and in doing so, help students unlock their potential by answering three important questions: ‘Who am I?’ ‘What are my strengths?’ and ‘What problems can I solve?’.

Through the program, which launched in 2017, students from Year 7 to 10 have learned how to unpack their strengths, interests and motivators (SIM) and discover their talents through purposeful passion projects with the intention of making life better for others.

Bookmarked Post | Guy Claxton 2018 (Guy Claxton 2018)
Guy Claxton discusses the challenge of school change. He suggests that, rather than revolution, the best approach is to change habits one by one. He uses the example of making mayonnaise to explain this. This reminds me of the debate between Will Richardson and George Couros from a few years ago. I also discussed this idea at a Teachmeet in 2014:

Replied to Education is not broken. Teachers do not need fixing. (the édu flâneuse)

Education is not broken. Teachers do not need fixing. There is outstanding work going on every day in schools around Australia and the world. We should focus on trusting and empowering the teaching profession.

I find the ‘broken’ mantra interesting to reflect upon. Sometimes it feels like such narratives are used as a foundation for some other argument. Personally, I have always been intrigued about Matt Esterman’s discussion of a renaissance. If there is anything ‘broken’ it is equitable funding, but I assume that Mark Latham does not want to talk about that?
Bookmarked More Schools are Throwing Out Grades, But are They All Clinging to the Same Alternative? (Etale – Embrace Mission-Minded Innovation)

Those who follow my work know that I have a a habit, some consider it a bad habit, of juggling too many projects at once. This is especially true when it comes to writing projects. Of course, all o…

Bernard Bull worries that too many have jumped onboard mastery as an alternative to grade-based learning. His concern is that the other options, such as self-determined learning, are often overlooked.
Replied to New Tech High and the Post School World by gregmiller68 (

A stand out take away for me was how much precision there is to connect senior students to the post school world whilst they are still at school. With that comes school based requirements additional to the required by the state for graduation.

Greg, I guess this celebration of pathways is what Greg Whitby is trying to capture through his discussion of ‘pre-to-post schooling‘? It also reminds me of what Todd Rose captures in his book The End of Average.
Liked Napa Junction Elementary School by gregmiller68 (

Principal, Donna Drago, courageously introduced Project Based Learning 5 years ago, 5 yeas after she started as principal at the school. Donna was quickly joined by champions on staff. Together, and over time, the results, outcomes and learning growth of students have all validated Donna’s decision.

Bookmarked ‘Big ideas’ and digital literacy: education department calls for NSW schools shake-up (

Students should be taught digital literacy, there should be a plain-language version of the curriculum, and the role of syllabuses should be reconsidered, the NSW Department of Education has told the NSW curriculum review.

It will be interesting to see what Geoff Masters comes up with in his review of the NSW curriculum. Although the discussion of big ideas and deep learning seem new, this was how VELS was introduced to me some fifteen years ago. I think what is missed is some creativity in how schools and educators approach the curriculum. There are those like Bianca Hewes who are already championing this. I just worry about a back-to-basics approach that is mooted in some circles.
Replied to RocketShoes, Reform + Rumination – Issue 122 (Dialogic Learning Weekly)

I can’t help but feel this is all stuff we know already. Another example of a clarion call for change, doom-laden tidings without sharing any practical steps to effect change. Just like almost every highly-paid education keynote in the last decade. (Even has a black and white image to set the tone) What do you think?

My concern with Kay’s argument is that it places the teacher at the centre. I wonder if this is a case of what Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes as ‘anchoring’ in Black Swan:

You lower your anxiety about uncertainty by producing a number, then you “anchor” on it, like an object to hold on to in the middle of a vacuum.

Although teachers play an important role, aren’t they only one part of a complex system?

Replied to What is pre to post schooling? (

Beyond this, it also means that schools become points of engagement for the broader adult community who may wish to engage in post-school study. At its core, a P-P model recognises schooling as more than 9-3pm and K-12. It aims to amplify the transformative effect of education on individuals and communities.

I find this move to a fluid pre-to-post structure of schooling really interesting Greg. It feels like it has been something that has occurred in the margins in the past. For example, one school I worked at sent a Year 8 student to the local senior campus to do VCE Mathematics. This was an exception.

I understand that in some schools, such as Templestowe College, there is a lot more fluidity in regards to participation across year levels. The question/concern I have is that TC is still very much a secondary school.

I once visited a large K-12 (2000+ students) and they seemed to operate like three distinct schools. In many ways the system sets things up like this. In my own experience in a P-9, there were some activities, such as timetables, that primary schools had to accept from the secondary. The concern is that in a fluid environment, the current way of working does not seem to properly support anyone, without additional resources, which seems counter-intuitive.

I am reminded of Matt Esterman’s question of education revolution versus renaissance. A part of me thinks that from a structural perspective to achieve a ‘pre-to-post’ outcome we are going to need a revolution to accommodate some of these changes. Whether it be applications, data frameworks or industrial relations, there is significant work still required.

I am happy to be wrong and appreciate any thoughts on the matter.

Liked Put professional judgement of teachers first or we’ll never get the systemic education improvements we all want. Let’s talk about it (EduResearch Matters)

One of the first steps to collectively trying to find new ways of constructing our school systems, I think, really is about changing the questions we think we are answering. Instead of using the type of questions needed to drive research, e.g. anything of the form ‘what works?’, we need to start asking, ‘how do we build systems that increase the likelihood that teachers will make intelligent and wise decision in their work?’

Bookmarked Traditional grading: The great demotivator (Robert Talbert, Ph.D. )

So what do we do about this? For me, the course of action is clear: We need to walk away from traditional grading — in which I include not only multi-interval letter grades but also grades based on statistical point accumulation. We’ve seen enough. Grades are harmful to students’ well-being; they do not provide accurate information for employers, academic programs, or even students themselves; and they steer student motivations precisely where we in higher education do not want those motivations to go. There is no coherent argument you can make any more that traditional grading is the best approach, in terms of what’s best for students, to evaluating student work. If we value our students, we’ll start being creative and courageous in replacing traditional grading with something better.

Robert Talbert, Ph.D. discusses grading within university.
Liked School Reborn 2020: Part 9 – Down to business by Richard Wells (Eduwells)

Although I’m very happy with our progress to date and think the two teacher-only days were generally a great success, I’m not going to hide away from the fact that one in five teachers and parents are still somewhere between “we should not be doing this” and “it’s sounds good but I’m really not sure it will work.” My hope here is that there was enough evidence of staff having ‘light bulb’ moments during these two days that as we get more down on paper and detail added, all staff will get more comfortable and excited at the prospects of not having to micro-manage classes of students through exactly the same workload.

Bookmarked Fables of School Reform by Audrey Watters (The Baffler)

Over the past five years, more than $13 billion in venture capital has been sunk into education technology startups. But in spite of all the money and political capital pouring into the sprawling ed-tech sector, there’s precious little evidence suggesting that its trademark innovations have done anything to improve teaching and learning.

Audrey Watters brings together a tangled narrative of innovation associated with educational technology. She explains how in search of the mercurial solution, computers and coding are brought in with the only clear outcome being privitisation:

Outfitting struggling schools with computers was a self-evident bid to render the public education system more efficient and effective—and the entirely foreseeable fallout from that blitz has been the recent push toward vocational training that prepares students for a technological future: “everyone should learn to code.” The tech-mogul variant of that directive is “everyone should learn to privatize.”

This is all built on the back of networking between the same names for the last thirty years:

You know the old aphorism: those who don’t learn from history are condemned to network their way into well-connected luxury and clout.

This is a useful read alongside Ben Williamson’s Big Data in Education.


Outfitting struggling schools with computers was a self-evident bid to render the public education system more efficient and effective—and the entirely foreseeable fallout from that blitz has been the recent push toward vocational training that prepares students for a technological future: “everyone should learn to code.” The tech-mogul variant of that directive is “everyone should learn to privatize.”

The financialization of education, that is to say, is not particularly new nor is it coming from a particularly innovative crowd—just a decidedly persistent one.

Any sort of “review” in the ASU+GSV framework would be a kind of networking or power brokering—it’s who you know, not what you know; it’s not how you wield the findings of your own research (or learn from that of others) as much as it’s how you wield your relationships.

Still, what hasn’t changed, it seems, are many of the figures involved in funding these ideas—together with the ideas themselves, which have remained stalwartly gadget-obsessed and market-centered for the past thirty-odd years, despite all the talk about innovation.

What was the appeal of Theranos to a group more commonly associated with education policy and education technology investments? Perhaps it was simply that Theranos promised the same kind of miraculous technological fix that continues to dominate the reveries of ed-tech investors. It is, after all, much the same story that startups usually peddle: incumbent players in an industry—be it health care or education—have little interest in disrupting status-quo arrangements. No, only a bold, outside innovator can see beyond the constraints that expertise typically places on those working within a field.

But you know the old aphorism: those who don’t learn from history are condemned to network their way into well-connected luxury and clout. Besides, why dally with the notion of history at all when everything is moving so very fast along such clearly delineated pathways to personal success? There’ll be an app for making the past entirely irrelevant soon enough—peddled as new and “disruptive” by the same diligent entrepreneurs who’ve been vying to privatize every last public school over the last three decades. And with any luck, it’ll be the toast of next year’s ASU+GSV.

Bookmarked The ‘Uberfication’ of education: warning about commercial operators (The Sydney Morning Herald)

An Australian unionist is leading a global campaign against the commercialisation of education, both in developing countries and in Australia.

Education International is targeting “educorporations” including Pearson and Bridge International Academies. This continues on from Audrey Watters post documenting the financial intertwining that is inherent within educational technology.

Anna Hogan says she fears the use of laptops with scripted lessons in Africa could lead “to the complete annihilation of what it means to be a teacher professional which is what the scary future of teacher becomes if it starts to become adaptive learning”.

“Logging onto the computer and students are doing all their curriculum work on the computer and the algorithms are telling them what their weak areas are. The teachers are totally hands off and just facilitating,” she says.

In Liberia outsources its education system, Graham Martin-Brown elaborates on Liberias decision to outsource its education system. This includes a few follow ups too.

Bookmarked Letter Grades are the Enemy of Authentic & Humane Learning (
Bernard Bull discusses how grades work against authentic and self-determined learning. Although they are ingrained in education, he recommends considering the aspects of life free from grades and having these conversations with others.

What is interesting is this is only one post being shared at the moment. Bill Ferriter shared his concerns about the association between standard grades and fixed mindset, while Will Richardson argues that grades only matter because we choose to let them matter.

This continues some of the points discussed in Clive Rose’s book The End of Average and Jesse Stommell’s presentation on grades and the LMS. It is also something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education.

Liked I’m calling bullshit on our education system by JL Dutaut (Tes News)

What makes us good teachers isn’t the school’s or the system’s expectations of us. It is our expectations of ourselves.

The value we provide is in the classroom, in our collaborations with colleagues, and in what we do for our students and communities. It will never be on the lesson plan, in our performance management, or in justifying ourselves to superiors.

We all have our DBS certificates. It’s high time we de-bullshited our education system. And Damian Hinds and his ilk had better muck in, lest they finally convince us that being a politician is the ultimate bullshit job, and the only non-bullshit job left in education is supply teaching.

Listened Win/Win: Why Billionaire Philanthropists are Bad at School Reform – Have You Heard from

We uphold through what we passively assent to this world and schools uphold it by what they put on the board and who they raise money from … We are all in on a world that has entrusted the super-rich to become our saviors.

In the latest episode of Have You Heard, Jennifer and Jack talk to Anand Giridharadas about his best-selling new book, Winners Take All: the Elite Charade of Changing the World. The discuss the place private investment on education today and the win-win culture that it creates. Instead, of the ‘feudal’ relationship at place we need to focus on four key aspects: public, democratic, universal and institutional. The future should not be based on a hedge fund.