Listened TER #112 – Perspectives on Gonski 2 – 13 May 2018 from Teachers' Education Review

With the release of the “Gonski 2.0” report, there have been many conversations about just what is the ideal vision for the future of Australian education. But in considering the many recommendations included in the report, what would it even mean to implement them? And is there broad agreement that they do actually represent the best vision for the future of education in Australia?

For this special episode, we bring together 4 different perspectives on the report and its findings, including:

This is an intriguing conversation and provides a number of perspectives on Gonski from academics who has been following the topic for several years.
Replied to Gonski 2.0: Promoting a deficit view of Australian teachers (the édu flâneuse)
Of course we can and should improve Australian education. Of course we should have high expectations of students and educators. Of course we should develop our knowledge of effective teaching, learning and leading. Of course we should continue to develop our engagement with research and evidence. But Australian education is not a factory model of mass education production. It is not a calamitous problem to be solved, a bunch of broken individuals to be fixed, or a commercial opportunity ready to be flooded by corporate solutions. Australian teachers, school leaders and schools deserve trust, respect, support and involvement in policymaking.
I am really interested in your point about rhetoric. Another interesting read on the topic of testing and improvement is National Testing in Schools. I was really struct by the influence that NAPLAN has had on the way we speak about learning and education as a whole, especially Nicole Mockler’s chapter. It feels that this report continues some of this.
Listened Gonski 2.0 - what would these changes mean? from ABC Radio

The Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools discusses a model that gives children personalised teaching based on their ability and achievements, rather than grouping children together according to their age.

On Focus, Nadia sets out to find out exactly what personalised learning is, how it works and what its benefits - or shortcomings - might be.

She speaks to Professor Geoff Masters, CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Research, who outlines the shortcomings in our current system and the alarming decline in the performance of 15-year-olds compared to students in other countries.

Dr Glenn Savage, senior lecturer in Public Policy and Sociology of Education at the University of Western Australia agrees that while there is a definite decline in the achievement of Australian students compared to their international peers, he is more sceptical about the recommendations made in Gonski 2.0.

He says there are better things to be spending our education dollars on than another big overhaul of the Australian education system.

He also believes several changes over the past few years have not helped stem the decline and we still have not tackled the issues of inequitable access to education funding that were identified by the first Gonski report.

Glenn Savage and Geoff Masters talk with Nadia Mitsopoulos about the new Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools. Some of the points discussed include:

  • Does the new report addresses the question of inequality?
  • Is ‘personalised teaching’ worth the money and investment?
  • Is the educational sector exhausted by continual reform agendas?
  • Do the recommendations really address what is happening in the classroom?

Glenn Savage also summarised his thoughts in a post on The Conversation. While Geoff Masters (and Ray Adams) published a post in the ACER Newsletter addressing the question of ‘inequality’ arguing that recent findings have found that equity and fairness are often more important.

In an ‘equitable’ school system, students’ special needs and unequal socioeconomic backgrounds are recognised and resources (for example, teaching expertise) are distributed unequally in an attempt to redress disadvantage due to personal and social circumstances. Here again, ‘equity’ is achieved by prioritising fairness over equality.source

Replied to ‘My Learning’ by Greg Miller (LEARN AND LEAD)
As students progress through Years 8, 9 & 10 in the coming years, there will increasingly be more and more time for students to self direct their Personalised Curriculum. This may include, but is not limited to: Acceleration of core curriculum subjects leading to early commencement of HSC in one or two subjects. If required, intervention strategies for those students who do not meet minimum national benchmark standards for literacy and numeracy. Early commencement of VET (Vocational and Educational Training) subjects either at school or through TAFE. Participation in Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), completion of digital badge courses or informal internships with local industry experts and ‘start ups’. Self directed electives and collaborative projects as a result of students working with teachers with the following provocation: Knowing my Strengths, Motivations and Interests (SIM), how can I use my identified talents and affirmed capabilities to ensure a better world?
This is a great achievement Greg.

It has been fascinating following your thinking in this area. There are so many assumptions that go unquestioned. I am reminded of some of the work at Geelong College and Templestowe College.

My wondering is the ramification for aspects such as reporting and timetables. I remember visiting a school that had gone down a similar path for Year 6’s and listening to the amount of work that went into creating ‘personalised’ report templates. Will this just come back to your template around your six pillars? I was speaking with a representative from Compass who told me about CENet contract.

I know that it seems trivial, however I think that these tedious elements are often overlooked and I would love to know your thoughts.